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<nettime> ivogram x6: icty, nyc, imf, hdz, etc
Ivo Skoric on Sun, 28 Dec 2003 18:28:16 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> ivogram x6: icty, nyc, imf, hdz, etc

     [digested  {AT}  nettime]

"Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
     Wes vs. Slobo
     IMF and Sanader
     That's F***ing Beautiful!
     Lost Opportunities
     Who runs Bosnia?

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 2003 11:40:59 -0500
Subject: Wes vs. Slobo


Tommorow, Milosevic's gets a chance to cross-examine general Clark, a 
man that bombed his country. Given that Milosevic often ranted how 
the only true war crimes committed in the wars for Yugoslav 
succession were those of NATO bombing Serbia in 1999, for which 
general Clark holds command responsibility, a session between 
Milosevic and Clark may be a very interesting one. At least, that 
should prove the fairness of The Hague tribunal to the recalcitrant 
opponents. I do not recollect Goering had been able to cross-examine 

Unfortunately, general Clark, one of Democratic presidential 
contenders, will give his testimony behind the close doors and 
flanked by two US government lawyers, making sure that most tasty 
details do not reach us mere mortals.

Ivo Skoric
19 Baxter Street
Rutland VT 05701
ivo {AT} balkansnet.org

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2003 22:15:48 -0500

The capture of Saddam Hussein ended up as bad for our civil 
liberties! Vote on the NYC bill of rights of immigrants resolution 
was postponed today - because of the Saddam capture. So that noble 
supporters of the Bill wouldn't get misunderstood by skinheads, 
xenophobes, and isolationists....


The NYC Council postponed its vote on NYC's Bill of Rights Resolution
-- Resolution 909 --  until January 21, 2004. 

In the morning, the Governmental Operations Committee, chaired by 
Bill Perkins, voted the resolution out of committee by a much larger 
margin than expected, 7-2.  In the afternoon Speaker Gifford Miller 
publicly affirmed his strong support for the resolution and made a 
commitment to bring the resolution to a vote at the Council's first 
meeting  of 2004. 

The reason given for the postponement was the breaking news regarding
the capture of Saddam Hussein.  Several strong supporters of the
resolution expressed concerned that a vote for the resolution would 
be misunderstood or misrepresented, or both. 

We will be in touch regarding next steps to ensure passage of the
resolution in January.

Donna Lieberman
Executive Director
New York Civil Liberties Union
125 Broad St.
NY 10004

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2003 10:49:26 -0500
Subject: IMF and Sanader


In yesterdays article (Reuters / New York Times) about the change of 
government in Croatia, Ivo Sanader is generally given a passing mark, 
by being called a "pragmatic technocrat" (which in the West is not an 
insult, like it use to be in the communist former Yugoslavia, where 
people in the 1970's even got jail-time for being labeled 
"technocrats"), albeit cautiously because Sanader is HDZ, and HDZ is 
Tudjman's party, and Tudjman - "the hardline nationalist" - was never 
considered a good guy by the NYT.

More interesting is to read the article "between the lines" to see 
what worries does the liberal capitalist West still really have 
regarding Croatia.

1) The HDZ brought Croatia "to international isolation because of its 
defiance of the West and poor human rights"  -> while I am not 
particularly fond of Tudjman's HDZ, I don't see how the NYT got to 
that conclusion, because a) Croatia was never under international 
isolation after 1991 - there was criticism, threats, etc. - but never 
isolation, b) Tudjman never defied the West - he did moves that 
angered the West a bit, but he always bowed to pressure when needed, 
c) while human rights record of Tudjman's Croatia was not exemplary, 
it is hard to - reading the comprehensive Human Rights Watch reports -
 label it POOR (particularly in light of other regional countries 
whose h.r. record was judged by HRW comparatively worse to 

2) >>Political analyst Davor Gjenero said Sanader had secured his 
cabinet a peaceful start until the 2004 budget is passed in late 
March. ``Only after that, and after getting the EU's opinion on our 
candidacy, shall we see his administration's true face.''
An editorial in Novi List daily said the cabinet lacked ``big names. 
It is therefore hard to know what to expect.''<< This is trying to 
find reasons why Sanader would fail. A country of 4.5 million does 
not have many big names, so it is reasonable to expect that its 
administration would fall on the backs of less renowned 
personalities. Gjenero is right - but then, that truth holds for any 
government anywhere in the world.

3) >>Local media has suggested the new government will receive four 
new indictments from the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The 
Hague in January.
Cooperation with the tribunal is key to Croatia's EU candidacy and 
anything short of handing over the suspects will put Sanader on a 
collision course with Brussels.<< That's the perennial Damocle's 
sword over any government of Croatia. The warning is out: Sanader 
will have a choice between appeasing the domestic right wing 
constituency by hiding war crimes suspects, or appeasing the 
Eurocrats by sending the suspects to The Hague. Any Croatian prime 
minister would have the same choice. Conventional wisdom is that 
Sanader, because he is HDZ, will protect the war crimes suspects from 
The Hague. That's where his opponents wait for him to break. But we 
should not rush to judgement so soon - because he is HDZ, Sanader 
may, on the other hand, paradoxally, have easier time sending them to 
The Hague... He may build his right wing credentials elsewhere - 
civil rights activists in Croatia better be on lookout for where that 
is going to be!

4) >>Finance Minister Ivan Suker, a former tax expert, will have to 
balance election promises of higher pensions and benefits with 
announced tax cuts.
Suker told state television this week the cabinet will most probably 
vote at its first session to cut value added tax to 20 percent from 
22 percent -- a move seen as potentially risky by the International 
Monetary Fund. <<
Ah, the sweetest part was saved for the end of the article. Why would 
a bastion of laissez-faire capitalism, like IMF, find it potentially 
risky for a small country to cut its atrociously hight sales tax? 
22%! No governor of any American state would survive passing a 22% 
value added tax in his legislature. People would put him in the 
mental institution under close observation. Croatia's and 
international economists widely agree that 22% VAT hampers Croatia's 
economy, turns away investors, slows down economic growth, increases 
unemployment - in general the tax should have been cut from 22% to 
12%, yet the new government would do it just to 20%, and even that 
move is seen "potentially risky" by the IMF. The IMF should be in 
favor of cutting the tax if it is interested in healthy growth of 
Croatian economy. Sadly, the IMF is only interested in Croatia's 
ability to re-pay its foreign debt and interest - and those payments 
are largely financed by the outrageously high VAT. IMF is afraid that 
if the VAT is reduced, Croatia may default on the debt payments. 
Which may hold true in any case - given the size of the debt (big) 
and the size of the economy (small). That has nothing to do with VAT. 
It has everything to do with the lack of Marshall Plan for the 
Balkans. Countries devastated by wars, sanctions, and bad governance, 
simply cannot be expected to function well on loans. That was 
understood in 1945, but it seems that the West and IMF refuse to 
understand that now. Countries that helped precipitate the fall of 
former Yugoslavia and encouraged independence movements in its 
constitutive parts, are under moral obligation now to make this part 
of the world economically and politically stable. Pushing those 
emerging democracies in debt severally times larger than the size of 
their economies will not bring peace and stability to Europe.


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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2003 10:49:23 -0500
Subject: That's F***ing Beautiful!


Arrest the living, pardon the dead! What the story of comedian Lenny 
Bruce really reveals is that a man could be arrested solely for his 
speech in the land of the constitutional first amendement protecting 
that free speech as late as 1964. At that time the US vigorously 
protested similar arrests in the Soviet Bloc. It was shameful that he 
was arrested, and it is shameful that he did not win the pardon while 
alive. Interestingly, he could not get work following his jail time 
and his life ended miserably in two years after that - just as lives 
of many Eastern European dissidents did, once they were declared 
outlaws. Now, a Republican Governer pardons Lenny with a lifetime 
delay, only to shore up his first amendement credentials in face of 
his shameful support to the Patriot Act which denies the first 
amendement rights to the living.


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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
To: ed Agro <edagro {AT} verizon.net>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2003 10:13:29 -0500

Zvezdan Jovanovic, man accused of killing Djindjic, now faces trial 
in Belgrade. Of course, he accuses authorities of mounting a 
political process against him. A former policeman and torturer 
himself, now he blames the police for beating the plea out of him, 
and refuses to enter the plea in the court. This all, indeed, comes 
politically on the eve of elections in which bad guys are supposed to 
win (Seselj's nationalists).

40 lawyers, defending Jovanovic et alia on trial for killing prime 
minister Djindjic, walked out of the courtroom in protest over the 3-
panel judge handling of the case. Added to that is the UN legal 
observer's statement noting "the apparent meddling" of politics in 
the proceedings:    "The chief judge is acting both as a judge and a 

Inevitably, the trial is tainted before it even begun. The only 
question now is - was it intentional to be this way?


------- Forwarded message follows -------
Chaos Erupts at Serb Assassination Trial

APO  24/12/2003 13:13
Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The
information contained in this news report may not be published,
broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written 
authority of the Associated Press.
 Associated Press Writer

   BELGRADE, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) -- The trial of the accused
   assassins of Serbia's prime minister descended into turmoil 
Wednesday when the alleged triggerman refused to enter a plea and 
defense attorneys walked out of the courtroom in protest.
   Zvezdan Jovanovic, former commander of an elite Serbian police 
unit who is charged with firing the fatal sniper shot that killed 
Zoran Djindjic on March 12, said he was framed by pro-Western 
   "I have been exposed to tremendous pressure by these authorities,"
   said Jovanovic, 38. "I have been proclaimed guilty even before the 
trial had started."
   Authorities initially said Jovanovic confessed to the slaying. But
   his defense attorneys claim he was pressured during the police
interrogation and was not told that everything he said could be used
against him in court.
   "I don't trust this court and the judiciary of this country," said
Jovanovic, whose police unit fought in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo.
   Wednesday's courtroom proceedings were cut short when 40 defense
   lawyers representing the 36 suspects in Djindjic's killing walked 
out, claiming the three-judge panel was biased and incapable of 
handling the case.
   If they do not return Thursday, the court would have to appoint
   lawyers for the policemen and alleged gangsters charged with 
Djindjic's killing.
   That would jeopardize the fairness of the trial, which is
   considered a crucial test of the independence of Serbia's 
judiciary in the wake of President Slobodan Milosevic's ouster in 
   Milosevic was ousted by Djindjic's coalition and extradited to the
   U.N. war crimes court in The Hague, Netherlands, to face charges 
stemming from the Balkan wars of the 1990s.
   The trial began three days ago in a high-security courtroom in
   Belgrade. A U.N. court observer said the trial has many flaws,
   including "the apparent meddling" of politics in the proceedings.
   "The chief judge is acting both as a judge and a prosecutor," said
Aleksandar Cvejic, legal adviser for the U.N. commissioner for human
rights. "That is unacceptable."
   Jovanovic's lawyer, Nenad Vukasovic, said authorities were using
   the trial to boost their chances in Serbia's key parliamentary 
elections Sunday. Ultranationalists, who are allies of Milosevic, are 
predicted to win, according to pre-election polls.
   Djindjic was killed in a sniper attack in front of his government
headquarters in Belgrade. The indictment says Jovanovic fired two
shots from a window in a building close to government headquarters,
one killing Djindjic and the other seriously injuring his bodyguard,
Milan Veruovic.
   The suspects are charged with killing Djindjic in order to
   overthrow his pro-Western government and replace it with Milosevic 
   Thirteen men are charged with direct involvement in the attack
   while the remaining 23 are alleged members of their criminal group 
and face other charges.
   Twenty-two suspects are appearing in court, while 14 remain at
   large and are being tried in absentia.
   The fugitives include the alleged mastermind of the assassination
   and the chief suspect, Milorad Lukovic, who commanded the elite 
Red Berets during the Balkan wars.
   Jovanovic was Lukovic's deputy in the special police unit.
   During Milosevic's war crimes trial, Lukovic was accused by 
Bosnian Muslim witnesses of torturing them in a Serb-run 
concentration camp.

----End Forwarded Message(s)----

------- End of forwarded message -------------------------------------

Ivo Skoric
19 Baxter Street
Rutland VT 05701
ivo {AT} balkansnet.org

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2003 11:33:09 -0500
Subject: Lost Opportunities

Milorad Pupovac - quoted by BBC here - the vice-president of SDSS, 
the leading Serb minority party in Croatia - as one of the founders 
of the Society for Yugoslav Democratic Initiative in 1988, was always 
a part of Zagreb's left-leaning academic circle, which naturally 
supported Racan, and viewed HDZ with suspicion a New York Democrat 
would reserve for George W.

So, how could it possibly be that Racan missed the opportunity to get 
the support of SDSS in this elections? SDSS just sought what Croatian 
law had promised to them, and what the international community asks 
from Croatia as one of the preconditions to be accepted to talks 
about getting into EU: return of Serb refugees.

It remains puzzling why Racan could not deliver. Sanader, 
nevertheless, jumped on the opportunity, showing surprising 
statesmanship and political astuteness. Improbably, the new HDZ-led 
cabinet will help Serbs who fled Croatia during the 1991-1995 war to 
regain possession of their properties by the end of 2004.

Bold promise. Sanader - the supposed right winger - will do the 
Croatia's left wing bidding: something that Racan was promising for 
years to do, but somehow always found a reason to fail, Sanader said 
he would do AND in just one year. Visa regime is not a big issue - 
Racan's government did that already - Sanader just needs to continue 
the policy.

But if Sanader-Pupovac agreement helps return of Serb refugees to 
Krajina - without a major insurgency on the right in Croatia - 
Croatia may be one big step closer to the EU membership, which may 
secure Sanader's ticket to re-election, since good relationship with 
EU seems to be the major vote winner in Croatia, judging by the 
polls. Meaning, that Racan, by missing this opportunity, might have 
lost not just the current elections, but also the future ones.

Of course, Sanader may still fail. But it is very refreshing to see a 
politician in the "Western Balkans" willing to take his chances.



BBC News

Croatian Serbs win minority rights

The main ethnic Serb political party in Croatia has agreed to back 
the nationalist-led government in return for concessions on minority 

Under the deal, the new HDZ-led cabinet will help Serbs who fled 
Croatia during the 1991-1995 war to regain possession of their 
properties by the end of 2004.

The Serb party, SDSS, said it would also push for Croatia to scrap 
visa regime with Serbia-Montenegro.

Croatia is under pressure to improve its minority rights to join the 

The deal comes as the HDZ - Croatian Democratic Union - prepares to 
take office next week, after winning elections in November.

The HDZ, which secured 66 of the 152 seats in parliament when it 
defeated the centre-left coalition, will depend on outside support to 

The SDSS - Autonomous Democratic Serbian Party - has three deputies 
in the parliament.

Political inclusion

"For us, it's a good start that HDZ has agreed to work on resolving 
our main problems," SDSS vice-president Milorad Pupovac told 

"We will see how they put it into practice," Mr Pupovac added.

He stressed that the main issues in the agreement were restoring the
property rights of ethnic Serbs and also full political inclusion of 
the Serb community as guaranteed by Croatia's law on minority rights.

The SDSS said it would not formally join the HDZ-led cabinet, but 
would support it in parliament.

HDZ's leader Ivo Sanader says he will ask parliament to vote on the 
deal on Monday.

EU ambition

Analysts say the deal means that the Serb party no longer views the 
HDZ - which led Croatia to independence in 1991 and later into 
international isolation with its nationalist policies - as a threat.

Mr Sanader says he has reformed and moderated the party.

He says his government's priorities will be raising living standards,
resolving unsettled issues with neighbours and acquiring European 
Union membership.

Earlier this month, the EU urged the new Croatian Government to co-
operate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former 

The EU also called on Zagreb and fulfil its promises on minority 
rights and the return of nearly 300,000 Serb refugees. Story from BBC 

Published: 2003/12/20 04:36:20 GMT



Ivo Skoric
19 Baxter Street
Rutland VT 05701
ivo {AT} balkansnet.org

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2003 11:33:07 -0500
Subject: Who runs Bosnia?

Sarajevo's newspaper Oslobodjenje (Liberation) published an article 
on December 20, 2003, about the visit of Bosnian minister of foreign 
affairs to Israel.

Despite objections by the chief of State (which in Bosnian case means 
the 3-headed presidency), Mladen Ivanic, Bosnian foreign minister, 
proceded with his unauthorized visit to Israel, leaving an open 
question about the chain of command within the Bosnian government.

Sulejman Tihic, a Bosnian Muslim constituent member of the 
presidency, and the representative of the SDA party, objected to 
Ivanic's visit on grounds that Ivanic, a Croat, and HDZ member, 
decided to meet only Israelis, refusing to meet Yaser Arafat. 

Tihic, probably rightfully, believes that such a visit will sour 
relations between Bosnia and Arab Muslim countries that helped Bosnia 
with money, arms, and, even, fighters, during the war 1992-1995.

However, another member of presidency, Borislav Paravac, a Serb, 
agrees with Ivanic's visit to Israel, and with his decision not to 
meet with Arafat. And the Croat member of the presidency, Covic, 
keeps silent on the issue.

This sad story underlines the sorry state of affairs in Dayton 
Bosnia. The reality is that the glorified peace agreement does not 
amount to more than a supervised cease fire between Bosnia's 
constituent peoples, whose political representatives continue to 
represent only their ethnic agendas with no regard to the national 
interest of the country as a whole.

One country, two entities, three peoples - and three separate 
militaries, three separate electrical power grids, three separate 
foreign policies, a total of 16 squabbling governments - and millions 
of displaced, dispossessed, deprivileged people at their mercy. 
Sometimes it seems that only people devoted to preserving the country 
of Bosnia are foreigners. That's why office of the high 
representative cannot be abandoned...


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