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BOSNIA AND
HERZEGOVINA

 
  
  

 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 6,963 5,249 4,800 104
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,540 1,270 1,240 123
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Bosnia & Herzegovina



Update No: 117 - (22/02/07)

Bosnia, the prototype of a new global rule of law?
World politics is dominated by events in Iraq and Afghanistan, which engage many of the great questions, the role of the US, that of the UN, the nature of international law, the right to violate it on occasion in the name of a higher court of justice, that of legitimacy and humanity. Bosnia exemplified them all in the 1990s.
In the strict eyes of international law the West had no justification in meddling in Bosnian affairs then. Any more in fact than the Vietnamese had in beginning to rid Cambodia of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in 1978 or the Tanzanians in more promptly ridding Uganda of Idi Amin in 1979.
Intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign state is always illegal in this regard and has been since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1848 - excepting in one case only, when the state in question has intervened or threatens to do so in the internal affairs of the state or states exercising the right to intervene in the internal affairs of itself. Say - Afghanistan in 2001 after September 11th.
The fact that millions died under Pol Pot and hundreds of thousands under Idi Amin is from a legal point of view utterly irrelevant. This is why the Chinese, the Americans and the British continued to back the Khmer Rouge and prolong the agony of the Cambodian people - or at least why they said that they did. That they had their own vested interests in doing so is a matter of course.
By 1995 the world became horrified at the civil war in Bosnia and disgusted with the refusal of international, especially European, forces to intervene to prevent further violence. The worst case was that of the battalion of Dutch troops based there to 'guarantee' the city's UN 'protection' and their European force commanders, who might have stopped or even forestalled the Srebrinica massacre, in which Serb forces executed circa 7,500 Muslim male prisoners forthwith. This more than anything inspired the intervention by the US to do something about it, leading to the Dayton Agreement and modern Bosnia.
But there is no denying that in doing so they were on shaky legal ground, whereas the Dutch had been on firm ground legally, even if not in most people's eyes morally. There is a higher court of justice than that of international law, namely humanity and so legitimacy.
Law is a human construct itself of course, but like all human institutions fallible and open to justified reform. 
But being guided by the dictates of humanity and natural justice in overriding actual law - in other words taking the law into one's own hands - is a perilous thing to do. The Vietnamese pulled it off in Cambodia, few would doubt that now, as the Tanzanians in Uganda. 
But did the Americans in Bosnia? Or Iraq?
Most people's common sense would say 'YES' in Bosnia and 'NO' in Iraq. Why?
In these two clear-cut cases American intervention stopped a civil war in Bosnia, while it started one in Iraq. The outcome decides everything. 
But can this pragmatic consideration be a better basis for international law than the precepts of the Treaty of Westphalia, of course long since refined in subsequent treaties of more general application?
Obviously not, because the justification is inevitably retrospective. It only comes after the event, while international law functions in a highly uncertain world before the event. 
Yet it could be for refining the judgments of the bar of history, which has always recognized the sometimes salutary role of the outlaw, the Robin Hood of legend or the Vietnamese and Tanzanians of fact. 

PM: Bosnian Serbs will not accept verdict of ICJ
That international law is in a highly uncertain and unsatisfactory state is shown by the reactions of the Bosnian Serbs to demands emanating from The Hague. They mostly regard its precepts and prescriptions as victors' justice - period.
Bosnian Serbs will not accept any verdict from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in a genocide case filed by Bosnia against Serbia and Montenegro, the Bosnian Serb prime minister said on February 12th. 
Bosnia-Herzegovina filed the case with the world court in 1993 - the first time a state, rather than individuals, had been charged with genocide. It is seeking compensation for the loss of life and property during the 1992-95 war, when an estimated 200,000 people were killed and when entire Muslim towns and villages were devastated. 
No figure was named, but Serbia and Montenegro could be obliged to pay billions of dollars if found guilty. Milorad Dodik, prime minister of the Bosnian-Serb mini-state, said that "whatever it will be, Republika Srpska will not accept the verdict and will not implement it." Dodik, who has just been re-elected, is an ardent populist.

Police search home, office of suspected fugitive supporter 
But Republika Srpska is prepared to cooperate with the world community in specific cases. Bosnian-Serb police on February 12th searched the home and offices of a bank manager from Banja Luka who is suspected of supporting one of the six remaining war crimes fugitives wanted by the UN tribunal in The Hague.
Radovan Bajic, manager of the NLB Development Bank, is suspected of involvement in a network helping Stojan Zupljanin, the wartime commander of Bosnian-Serb police in Banja Luka, said the town's police spokeswoman. The UN war crimes tribunal has been seeking Zupljanin, who is on the run, on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violating the laws or customs of war. The indictment accuses Zupljanin of overseeing detention camps where Serb forces held Muslims and Catholics, many of whom were tortured and killed.

NATO raid
NATO launched a dawn raid on the house of a Bosnian Serb suspected of helping top war crimes fugitive Radovan Karadzic and seized some material for further investigation, its spokesman in Bosnia said on February 10th. 
US troops, backed by European Union peacekeepers, sealed off parts of Karadzic's wartime stronghold of Pale, east of Sarajevo, and searched the home of his wartime commander Radomir Kojic. 

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ENERGY

Neftegazinkor buys oil refinery and retail network


Neftegazinkor, a part of Russian state company Zarubezhneft, has bought an oil refinery, a lubricant-manufacturing facility and a retail network in Republika Srpska, one of the two regions forming Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bosnian private news agency Onasa said, cited by Interfax News Agency.
An earlier report valued the deal at 121 million Euro, while Neftegazinkor is to pay 42 million Euro for an 80 per cent stake in the Bosanski Brod refinery, 67 million Euro for a 75.6 per cent interest in the lubricant mill in Modrica, and 10 million Euro for an 80 per cent stake in the Petrol retail network. It has also pledged to invest about one billion Euro in the assets it is acquiring, it was reported. It was also reported earlier that Zarubezhneft planned to increase the refinery's annual output to 4.2 million tonnes and increase the Modrica mill's output to 130,000 tonnes per year. Russia's Vneshtorgbank (VTB) is slated to finance all the purchases and the subsequent investment. Republika Srpska Prime Minister Milorad Dodik approved the sales on behalf of his region, Interfax News Agency said

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TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Serbian Telekom buys out Bosnian Serb Telekom

Serbian Telekom became the owner, on January 19th, of Bosnian Serb Telekom as its representatives signed a document in the city of Banja Luka to buy shares belonging to the Bosnian Serb government in the second largest telecommunications company in Bosnia, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported. 
The director of Serbian Telekom, Drasko Petrovic, and the head of the Bosnian Serb Privatisation Agency, Vladimir Mackic, signed the contract, according to which the company would pay 646 million Euro for 65 per cent of shares owned by the government of the Bosnian Serb entity, the Srpska Republic. The Srpska Republic's government gave the green light to the purchase last year after Serbian Telekom won in a bid for the telecommunications company over Telecom Austria, which offered 467 million Euro. The signing ceremony in Banja Luka was attended by high officials from Serbia and the Bosnian Serb republic, including Serbian Premier, Vojislav Kostunica, and Bosnian Serb President, Milan Jelic, and Prime Minister, Milorad Dodik.

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