Books on Bosnia & Herzegovina
Update No: 107 - (28/04/06)
OSCE is a core actor in BiH, says new High Representative
Christian Schwarz-Schilling, the new International High Representative (IHR) and
European Union Special Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, has a tough
job on his hands He has underscored the importance of continued close
co-operation between the OSCE and his Office to move the country toward full
partnership with Europe.
"We can only move forward in broad policy areas with the support of the
entire international community - and in several areas only with the specific
support of the OSCE," he told the Organization's 55 participating States at
a meeting of its Permanent Council in Vienna, OSCE said.
"I believe that there is a very clear synergy between the Office of the
High Representative/EU Special Representative on the one hand and the OSCE on
the other," he said. "I know the strengths of the OSCE and I believe
we have the capacity and the disposition to work well together."
Mr Schwarz-Schilling also proposed the establishment of a joint working group to
co-ordinate in a "continuous and productive way" activities in the
fields of elections, education, human rights and justice reform.
"Better co-ordination between my Office's top-down and the OSCE's bottom-up
approach in the non-governmental sector, particularly in terms of providing each
other with available expertise and resources, could significantly contribute to
the development of an informed, active and engaged civil society in Bosnia and
Herzegovina," he said.
Mr Schwarz-Schilling, who succeeds Lord Paddy Ashdown in this post, also pointed
to the importance of the outcome of the general elections scheduled for this
October. "This will determine the success or failure of Bosnia and
Herzegovina's transition to a market economy and its final push for
Euro-Atlantic integration, ultimately for membership of the EU and NATO,"
The High Representative underlined that, despite some disappointments in the
field of economic reform, the overall trend had been very positive, but said
that the benefits of these improvements needed now to be brought to the
"I believe that firms in this country now have a business environment in
which they can compete and prosper, and I intend to work vigorously to further
improve this environment, to be the pied piper of investment in Bosnia and
Herzegovina," he said.
Mr Schwarz-Schilling also said that his Office would continue to support the
OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina with its continued work in the
politico-military dimension, which include assistance with the destruction of
excess stockpiles of ammunition as well as small arms and light weapons.
What makes the task of the new IHR particularly daunting is that over ten
years after the Dayton Accords and billions of dollars spent or misspent, Bosnia
remains a desperately poor place suspended somewhere between war and peace. The
economy has continued to be on international life support.
The peace has been kept but the nation was not rebuilt. The Serbs want to be a
part of Serbia, the Croats part of Croatia, while the Bosnian Muslims want a
degree of superiority Christians either with assistance from the West or the
Islamic world. The present state of affairs is unsustainable. The EU has
recently added the carrot of possible membership by announcing negotiations of a
Stabilization and Association agreement deemed as the first step towards the EU
membership. NATO membership is also mentioned.
On the 10th anniversary of Dayton, the State Department summoned presidents of
all three parties to Washington to celebrate US diplomatic achievements in the
field of nation building. In addition they were coerced to negotiate on ways to
make the country unified. Assistant Secretary of State Nicholas Burns explained:
"Simply put, the Dayton Accords need to be modernized. They served Bosnia
well over the last decade, but they were never meant to be immutable or set in
stone." It was also built up as a slogan, "from Dayton to
Brussels." Needless to say all three parties pursued their own interests.
For Muslims that meant abolition of Republika Srpska in order to establish
domination over the Christians. The US however, did not clobber the Serbs as the
Muslims expected. In disappointment, Tihic, the Muslim representative, accused
Burns of being a liar. In the end, the parties signed a commitment to pursue
constitutional reform so that Dayton-plus Bosnia will have one president, a
strong prime minister and a parliament.
Islamic Republic Must Be Ruled Out
The US must stick with neutrality and thus prevent any creation of an
Islamic state. Republika Srpska must be preserved. The Serbs and Croats should
be assigned anti-terrorism duties to check the spread of Wahhabism and monitor
activities of al Qaeda cells. According to Jeffrey Kuhner, writing in The
Washington Times, the Croats locked into the federation with Muslims dwindled in
numbers slowly departing their ancestral land with less than half a million
left. "Those who remain suffer daily violations of their basic rights. The
Croatians are dying. If these constitutional reforms pass, it will be the Serbs'
turn to be submerged by the growing Muslim majority." There is a powerful
argument that a strong centralized state was a cause of the conflict and in all
likelihood cannot be a part of the solution. It is mind-boggling why Bosnia
needs to be centralized, when a larger version-Former Yugoslavia couldn't be
kept together, and Kosovo was taken out of Serbia.
Death of the Butcher of Baghdad
There is only one subject that matters in Bosnia right now. Everyone is
looking back to the horrors of the past.
The death of Slobodan Milosevic, cheating international justice at the Hague,
must be a poignant moment for every Bosnian, in one way or another, depending of
course on their ethnicity. He was certainly in cahoots with the two major
villains of the Bosnian War of 1992-95, if not the initiator of the whole gory
story with his inflammatory speeches in favour of a Greater Serbia.
Bosnia is still divided along ethnic lines a decade after the war ended. Dragan
Cavic, president of the Bosnian Serb-run half of the country, said "a
historic person has left the scene, a person who was disputed, criticized and
Sulejman Tihic, the Bosnian Muslim member of the country's three-person
presidency, said Milosevic "will be remembered as a negative historic
person, the most responsible for the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia and suffering
of its peoples, including the Serb people."
UN Crime Tribunal may release documents on Milosevic
The death of Milosevic could yet have a cathartic impact. The UN
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia is considering the
release of confidential materials and documents from the case against Milosevic
to facilitate the inquiry by the Dutch authorities into his death.
The Tribunal on March 14th formally closed the proceedings against the former
Serbian leader, the main suspect in the genocide of Muslims in Kosovo, but is
conducting its own internal probe into his death.
Milosevic was facing 66 counts in connection with numerous crimes committed in
Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1991 to 1999 when he was found
dead in his cell on March 11th.
In a separate development, tribunal judges on March 1st convicted Enver
Hadzihasanovic and Amir Kubura, both high level commanders in the Army of Bosnia
and Herzegovina, sentencing them to five years and two-and-a-half years,
respectively, for crimes committed in central Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993 and
the beginning of 1994.
Trade agreement with Turkey
The Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) and
Bosnia-Herzegovina's Foreign Trade Chamber signed a joint action plan in
Sarajevo recently, ANSAmed reported.
The ceremony was attended by TOBB Chairman, Rifat Hisarciklioglu, a large group
of Turkish business people and Bosnian Prime Minister, Adnan Terzic. Terzic
underlined that the action plan will boost trade between the two countries. The
prime minister indicated that, after a period of war, BiH had gone through a
stage of reforms in the past three years. Terzic said his administration is
trying to make investment opportunities in BiH attractive and establish
stability in the economy. He added that entry negotiations with the European
Union (EU) were progressing well and that those who invested now in BiH would
reap benefits in the future.