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August 12, 2006

News From the Multi Kulti Balkans

Filed under: Balkan — limewoody @ 6:39 am

Sarajevo, 11 August (AKI) – The grave of Bosnia’s wartime president and top Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic in the capital, Sarajevo’s Kovaci cemetery was bombed early on Friday, amid raising ethnic tensions between the country’s Muslims, Serbs and Croats, police said. The powerful explosion, which took place at 3.04 am, damaged Izetbegovic’s tombstone and several other graves, and shattered windows in nearby buildings, police spokesman, Jusuf Zornic, told journalists.
“More details will be known after the ongoing investigation is completed,” he added. Police cordoned off the Muslim cemetery where Bosnian army soliders killed during the 1992-1995 siege of Sarajevo had been buried, state radio reported.

The incident took place amid renewed bickering, notably between local Muslims and Serbs, over war crimes and the future composition of Bosnia. Under the Dayton peace accord that ended Bosnia’s civil war in 1995, the country was divided into two entities: a Muslim-Croat federation, and the Serb entity, Republika Srpska (RS).

Each entity has its own government, parliament, police and army. But the international community, which safeguards peace in Bosnia, has been gradually stripping the entities of state prerogatives to strengthen the powers of the country’s central authorities. Muslim leaders are openly demanding the RS’s abolition.
Some 150 individuals have been indicted by the United Nations’ Hague war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, most of them Serbs. But video clips have recently appeared to show crimes committed against Serb civilians, implicating Bosnian general Atif Dudakovic and sparking bitter controversy in the region.
A Muslim member of the three-man rotating Bosnian state presidency, Sulejman Tihic, on Thursday indirectly defended Dudakovic, saying that Muslims honourably defended the country, and that Serb “lies will not cast shadow on the defenders of Bosnia-Herzegovina”. Tihic claimed that the RS was funded “by genocide, war crimes and ethnic cleansing,” and that it cannot survive in its present form in the long run.

Bosnian Muslims claim that Serbia perpetrated aggression against Bosnia and have sued it for war damages before the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Bosnian Serbs, who make up over 30 per cent of Bosnia’s four million population, on the other hand, claim that they only defended their homes and families against domination by majority Muslims.

Serbs blame Izetbegovic for having brought into the country thousands of mujahadeen or fighters from Islamic countries, who fought on the side of local Muslims and committed some of the worst crimes.
RS prime minister, Milorad Dodik, hit back at Tihic, saying that his (Dodik’s) birth certificate clearly showed that he was born in Bosnia. “How could I, or someone else who was born here, carry out an act of aggression against myself?” Dodik asked.

Dodik warned Tihic that his pleas for the abolition of RS were counterproductive. “To any demand for the abolition of the RS, we will respond a demand for a referendum on independence”, said Dodik, adding that it this would mean the end of Bosnia.


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