26 March 2004, Volume
COULD DAYTON BOSNIA JOIN THE EU?
Interview with Dusan Stojcic, spokesman of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), the strongest political party in the Republika Srpska and Sejfudin Tokic, vice president of the Social Democratic Union, an opposition party from the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Interview conducted by Omer Karabeg.
First, Mr. Tokic, it would be nice for you to know the name of the man with whom you are talking in tonight's show. The name is Dusan Stojcic. I know that you are Sejfudin Tokic and cannot understand why you are calling me the "gentleman from the SDS."
Second, the police of the Republika Srpska are doing their job in a professional way, despite limitations in their training and equipment. In some specific cases, international officials have praised them highly.
However, in the matter of arresting those indicted for war crimes, there are international forces here, too. It is not just a problem of the Republika Srpska; it is a broader, regional problem.... And now, some expect to solve the problem by weakening the Republika Srpska as much as possible and scuttling the entities as a constitutional category.
Obviously, there are many problems with the way the authorities work in the federation. Let me emphasize that the same type of political parties are in power in both the Republika Srpska and the federation.
The trouble is that their concept of power centers on nationalist criteria, while actual performance [in doing a given job] is of secondary consideration.
I still have not heard the answer to my question as to why not a single war-crimes indictee has been tried in the Republika Srpska, although so many crimes were committed there.... The Republika Srpska's inadequate cooperation with the Hague-based tribunal represents one of the major obstacles for Bosnia-Herzegovina's integration into the [NATO] Partnership for Peace program.
There were crimes, I do not deny it, but there were crimes throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina.... A commission was recently formed to investigate what took place in Sarajevo. We still do not know the whole truth, but there were war crimes, violations of human rights, and concentration camps for people who belonged to the other nation.
Now there are attempts to play this down or sweep it under the rug.... Only the truth can improve our relations.
Truth must be established everywhere. I am talking about Srebrenica, and also about Kravice and other Serbian villages that were burnt down when Srebrenica was a UN protected safe area [correct]...
I still want to know why the Interior Ministry of the Republika Srpska has not yet arrested a single war crimes suspect, or even taken part in an arrest? Why it does that always have to be done by foreigners?
I have already said that I won't let myself be forced to answer such a question, but I will offer objections if necessary.
Let me just repeat that some international representatives said after [the recent attempts to arrest Karadzic] in the Pale region that the Interior Ministry behaved correctly and in keeping with their expectations.... The SDS supports cooperation with the tribunal in keeping with the law but has no authority or money to support any special commitments...
As far as praise for the efficiency and readiness of the SDS and the Pale police force is concerned, let me remind you that one of the leaders of the SDS was replaced for being part of Radovan Karadzic's protection network. Not to mention that some key police officials lost their jobs for the same reason...
I find it very bad for Bosnia-Herzegovina that High Representative [Paddy Ashdown] recently intervened so brutally in our political life by ousting Mr. [Mirko] Sarovic from his position in our party as well as on the political stage. Ashdown cited some secret sources and arguments that could not be presented either to the Serbian Democratic Party or the rest of the public [see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9, 11, and 12 February 2004, and "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 23 January 2004]. Sarovic was also banned from business circles, and his [bank] account was blocked.
That is not the way to go to Europe. All we demand is due process and transparency.... As far as we are concerned, amending the constitutional and legal order in Bosnia-Herzegovina is acceptable when...it can accelerate movement toward European standards, as well as membership in the Partnership for Peace program, the EU, and NATO.
However, we are not ready to talk about a radical revision of the Dayton peace accords in terms of a modification of the constitutional structure of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Whoever advocates that is destroying our house, and we have no intention of sitting by and watching that happen in the name of some supposedly higher principles and ideals.
No higher principles and ideals can make us accept the destruction of our Republika Srpska. The Republika Srpska was recognized by an international agreement and has since stood the test of time. It promotes the stability of Bosnia-Herzegovina simply by ensuring Serbian people's right to feel safe in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Mr. Stojcic, if I understand you correctly, you are willing to amend the Dayton peace accords but reject a wholesale revision.
That would be the bottom line, as far as the Serbian Democratic Party is concerned.
Mr. Tokic, do you support the revision of the Dayton peace accords?
The process of constitutional changes has already started and will increase in the months and years to come.
The acceptance of European standards promotes the stability of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The entities and national armies cannot have better security than all of Bosnia-Herzegovina's integration into NATO and its Partnership for Peace program.... Regarding Mr. Sarovic, let me just say that this was not a precedent but simply one of many cases.