Books on Bosnia & Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina's declaration of sovereignty in October 1991, was followed by a referendum for independence from the former Yugoslavia in February 1992. The Bosnian Serbs - supported by neighboring Serbia - responded with armed resistance aimed at partitioning the republic along ethnic lines and joining Serb-held areas to form a "greater Serbia." In March 1994, Bosniaks and Croats reduced the number of warring factions from three to two by signing an agreement creating a joint
Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 21 November 1995, in Dayton, Ohio, the warring parties signed a peace agreement that brought to a halt the three years of interethnic civil strife (the final agreement was signed in Paris on 14 December 1995). The Dayton Agreement retained Bosnia and Herzegovina's international boundaries and created a joint multi-ethnic and democratic government. This national government is charged with conducting foreign, economic, and fiscal policy. Also recognized was a second tier of government comprised of two entities roughly equal in size: the
Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska (RS). The Federation and RS governments are charged with overseeing internal functions. In 1995-96, a NATO-led international peacekeeping force
(IFOR) of 60,000 troops served in Bosnia to implement and monitor the military aspects of the agreement. IFOR was succeeded by a smaller, NATO-led Stabilization Force
(SFOR) whose mission is to deter renewed hostilities. SFOR remains in place at a level of approximately 21,000 troops.
Update No: 086 - (30/06/04)
If there is one country where history is weighing down on the living it is Bosnia. The Bosnians have yet to come to terms with the war of 1992-95 that almost ripped them asunder.
According to The Guardian (London), Carla Del Ponte, chief prosecutor of ICTY, has made upbeat comments on the possibility that Radovan Karadzic may finally be arrested soon, following an RS report recognizing - under intense international pressure - the essentials of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, which the RS authorities had hitherto denied.
Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader wanted for genocide, could be arrested and transferred for trial in The Hague very soon, Carla Del Ponte, the UN's chief prosecutor for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, has said.
Ms Del Ponte's comments, which elicited cynicism in Sarajevo, followed the first admission by the Bosnian Serb authorities that Bosnian Serbs had perpetrated war crimes in Srebrenica in 1995, when about 8,000 Muslim males were murdered.
Under intense international pressure and after years of denials, an official Bosnian Serb panel reported that the military and police were responsible for the mass murder.
In a lengthy ruling recently, appeal judges in The Hague put an end to years of argument by defining the Srebrenica killings as genocide.
Mr Karadzic and his military commander, General Ratko Mladic, have been indicted for genocide at Srebrenica. But neither the Serbian, nor the Bosnian Serb authorities have been willing to arrest the two men, who are viewed as war heroes at home.
Indeed, the Bosnian Serb authorities, nine years after the crime, have yet to arrest anyone for the Srebrenica slaughter. But the Bosnian Serb report may signal a shifting climate.
'In July 1995, several thousand Muslims were liquidated in a way that represents grave violations of international humanitarian law,' said the report.
Bosnian Serb police, military and paramilitary units took part in the killings, it added. It also provided information on 32 mass graves, 11 of them previously unknown and which are believed to contain perhaps 2,000 corpses.
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia-Montenegro signed a memorandum of understanding with the European Commission on the financing of a transport infrastructure project in the region. A sum of 16m euros in funds are to be provided under the agreement, meeting only a small part of the total cost.
The project aims to reconstruct 6,000km of roads and 4,300km of railroads, as well as to upgrade the airports and ports in Rijeka, Split, Dubrovnik, Nis and Durrës.
Spain will help fund a renewable energy product in the BiH Federation under a 350,000 Euro agreement signed in Sarajevo last week. The project is part of a wider programme for exploring opportunities for power generation in BiH, including small hydroelectric power projects in Republika
Bosnian refinery to start oil, gas exploitation in northern Posavina region
Deep in the earth, about 2 km beneath the Posavina region, there is a sea of oil, which could soon gush out according to the ambitious plans of the Serb/Bosnian Brod oil refinery experts, Nezavisne novine reported.
The recently established [Bosnian] Serb Republic commission for concessions is supposed to decide, as one of its first priorities, on giving the oil refinery a 10-year concession for oil and gas exploitation.
The decision will probably be favourable, which would give the oilmen an opportunity to start looking for sponsors and drilling for oil. According to estimates based on a long-running research project, there is at least 20m metric tons of oil at the site. However, experts claim this quantity is much bigger, probably 50m metric tons.
The first oil wells, the refinery employees say, would be located around Samac, in an area of 300 square metres, which is the one that has been most thoroughly explored.
"The exploration was completed back in 1991," said a Brod refinery employee, Mika Sukurma, who has been exploring oil fields for years. "The only thing we have to do now is to decide where to drill and start the oil and gas exploitation," Sukurma said.
Although he refused to go into detail about the exploration, Sukurma noted that a huge quantity of oil and gas had been discovered in the said area at a depth of 2,370 metres.
According to him, a million metric tons of "black gold" could be obtained annually from the site, which would bring the Serb Republic and investors a profit of US$300m.
The estimate is based on an expensive decades-long exploration project called "North Bosnia". According to estimates, US$150m was spent on the exploration before the beginning of the war.
The refinery, however, lacks the funds to begin a mass exploitation of the fields containing a special type of oil, which, experts say, is top quality and similar to that exploited at Mirkovci and Djeletovci in neighbouring Croatia.
Therefore, the issue of potential sources of financing has been put under consideration. The refinery employees mention two options: the allocation of funds from the retail price of derivatives or, more realistically, pooling efforts with foreign and local investors.
The refinery employees say the Serb Republic government has not shown much interest in their request for exploitation, which has been sitting in the drawers of the Serb Republic Ministry of Economy, Energy and Development since the end of 2002.
"Fortunately, things have changed with the establishment of the Serb Republic commission for concessions, which is supposed to make a decision on our request and give us an opportunity to look for investors and achieve our final goal - the exploitation of oil and gas," Sukurma said.
He recalled that in the 1990s, a number of foreign companies expressed interest in becoming involved in the project. That is why Sukurma is optimistic that a lot of people will want to participate in drilling the Posavina oil.
The project, the refinery employees say, was preceded by years of waiting. In 1991, it should have been presented to the leading oil centres in London and Houston, but this plan was frustrated by the outbreak of war. "Foreign consultants advised us in 1991 not to publicize details of the exploration and to bide our time instead," Sukurma said. "Unfortunately, we have been biding our time for 13 years."
Brod refinery general manager Ilija Drpa said that the entire Posavina region from Samac to Bijeljina is a huge oil and gas field. Holding a test tube with thick greasy oil from the Posavina fields, Drpa said that the Serbian Oil Industry [NIS] is interested in participating in the project, which, according to estimates, would cost US$1.5m per well.
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