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Bosnia: International Community, U.S. Accused Of Complicity In Genocide

Copenhagen, 19 August 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The international community and the United States will be accomplices in genocide if the Bosnian elections go ahead as scheduled on September 14, former Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic said last week.

Silajdzic made the comment in Copenhagen Friday following a recent meeting in Sarajevo with U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher.

Silajdzic denied reports that his political organization, the Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which he founded after he broke with the government of President Alija Izetbegovich, will boycott the elections. The matter is expected to be formally decided at a party conference in a week. Silajdzic emphasized that he favors non participation.

Silajdzic, who has also held the posts of foreign minister and Bosnian ambassador to the United Nations, resigned as prime minister earlier this year to protest what he sees as an increasing tendency in Alija Izetbegovich's government to appoint Muslims to key posts, thus alienating Serbs and Croats. Silajdzic, a Muslim, wants the preservation of a multi-ethnic Bosnia.

"The international community agrees that there are many deficiencies, but the United States is determined to hold the elections as planned," said Silajdzic, quoting the findings of the International Crisis Group (ICG).

"The agenda is apparently outside Bosnia.... and will amount to legitimizing genocide and the final partition of the republic, which is what we have been fighting against."

The ICG, which has called for postponement of the elections, is composed of former prime ministers, foreign ministers, and other public figures.

Problems remain with the repatriation of refugees, freedom of movement, the political environment, which he called "everything but neutral," and voting practices, said Silajdzic. But he believes the greatest problem with the elections is the registration of voters.

Over half of the population of Bosnia has been internally displaced and people have been registered as voters in what are being called 'their new homes'. But, said Silajdzic, these are in fact the old homes of other people who have been expelled from them. Silajdzic said the current registration amounts to rubber stamping ethnic cleansing. But, in his view, it can still be annulled. Silajdzic is reported planning to seek annulment of the election results through Flavio Cotti, the current chairman of the OSCE, who is responsible for holding the ballot.

Silajdzic also accused the international community of hypocrisy. "Why bring indicted war criminals to stand trial in the Hague, if we are prepared to accept election results that are being manipulated even before the ballot starts?" he said.

If the elections are held, said Silajdzic, they will certainly result in the partition of Bosnia into three ethnically pure states: Serb, Muslim and Croat. Silajdzic added that he didn't plan to take part in the approval of what he called "this fascist project."

The former prime minister said he sees no need for Bosnian refugees abroad to vote at all.

"Neither can I advise them to go back home under these conditions," he said.