The Sarajevo daily Dnevni Avaz reported that Radovan Karadžić, the wartime leader of Bosnian Serbs and indicted war criminal could be arrested by November. In an interview for the daily, Graham Blewitt, deputy prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) stated, "Karadžić may be arrested before elections in November. It is very possible."
Blewitt praised United States President Bill Clinton for his statement demanding the apprehension of Karadžić, before he leaves the Whitehouse in January 2001. The US government has posted a reward of USD 5 million for information leading to the arrest of Radovan Karadžić, Ratko Mladić and Slobodan Milošević.
Since indictment procedures by the ICTY began, a total of 41 war criminals have been arrested and are in The Hague awaiting their trial. However, Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić, the two individuals largely responsible for the acts of genocide on the territory of Bosnia and Hercegovina still remain at large.
A Bosnian Croat, indicted for war crimes and genocide against the Muslim population of Mostar, turned himself in to the authorities this week, BihPress reports. Zoran Soldo who is detained by the local judiciary, was a member of the so called group "Mostar's Five," which was mainly responsible for the war crimes in the town of Mostar during the 1993 to 1994 Croat-Muslim ethnic conflict.
The arrest of Mr Soldo comes one week after the surrender of Erhad Porzić, the first member of the group to give himself up. Both of the suspected war criminals urged the remaining three to follow their example and surrender to the local authorities. The charges against the "Mostar Five" were revealed by the International War Crimes Tribunal (IWCT), however the apprehension procedures were left up to the local authorities.
The government of Republika Srpska (RS) denied claims issued by the Belgrade regime that it is plotting with Western countries to overthrow Slobodan Milošević in the upcoming elections, Agence France Press (AFP) reported.
According to the AFP report, Zoran Glušac, the spokesman for the RS Interior Ministry, stated in an phone interview: "We firmly reject all insinuations that intervention forces are being trained on the territory of Republika Srpska (the Bosnian Serb entity, RS) with the support of the RS interior ministry." The report goes on to say that claims of RS's conspiracy theory were made by Goran Matić, the Yugoslav Information Minister. The Yugoslav regime classifies the government of Republika Srpska as anti-Serbian and pro-Western.
The Office for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) launched its anti-corruption campaign entitled Nadglasajte Korupciju (Vote out the corruption) which is intended to increase the citizens awareness regarding the elements of corruption in the upcoming November elections.
"Corruption is a serious problem in transitional societies," said Ambassador Robert Barry. "Until there is a real political will to overcome it, corruption and economic crime will remain a significant obstacle to the development of a stable, free-market economy in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ultimately, this means fewer jobs for the people of Bosnia and Hercegovina."
The OSCE anti-corruption campaign will focus on issues such as unemployment, privatization, bribery, and economic fraud. The OSCE initiated its campaign by distribution of anti-corruption brochures and informative fact sheets regarding corruption elements and its crippling effects on the country's economy and infrastructure. The anti-corruption campaign will run until 10 November 2000.
Free trade zone
BihPress reported that the European Union (EU) plans to establish a free trade zone in the Balkans. According to the report Croatia, Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia and Hercegovina will participate, enabling the free trade of industrial and agricultural products.
Serbia will not be allowed to participate in the trade zone as long as it has indicted war criminal Slobodan Milošević as its principal leader. The report goes on to say that special arrangements will be made toward admitting Kosovo and Montenegro to participate in the free trade zone.
Saudi Prince Salman bin Abdel Aziz was in Sarajevo this week on a five-day visit to Bosnia to open a mosque and an Islamic center named after the Saudi King Fahd. According to the daily Oslobodjenje, Prince Salman, who is the chairman of the Saudi committee in charge of raising funds for the Bosnian Muslims, met with senior government officials.
During the last ten years, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has given the Bosnian government approximately USD 550 million in aid to help rebuild the country's economy and infrastructure.
Ibrahim Sejfović, 16 September 2000
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BiHPress - the news agency of Bosnia-Hercegovina
Oslobodjenje - Sarajevo-based independent magazine
OSCE Press Service