From: Vanja Filipovic [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, February 04, 1999 11:30 PM
Subject: BosNet Article: RTV Tuzla interview with Pres. Izetbegovic (by way of Tuzla Night owl)
RTV TPK INTERVIEW
Bosnian Radio-TV from Tuzla, 31 Jan 99
INTERVIEW: ALIJA IZETBEGOVIC
Pr. Izetbegovic, the last time you were a guest on the program of the RTV TPK was in 1993. According to many, that year was essential for the survival of BH. Fortunately, Bosnia successfully overcame that and all other war years. I would like to ask you to draw a parallel between that period, to make an assessment of the current situation and perspectives of BH, especially in the light of its survival and integrity.
I do not know if 1993 was essential, all years were essential. In my opinion, 1945 was decisive and difficult, but 1993 was the most difficult war year, maybe the most critical year during the war.
At the time we had two, and even three, front lines, if we count Fikret Abdic, who became a turncoat in the fall of 1993. The hardest days were in November 1993, when the Stari Most Bridge in Mostar was destroyed. That was the time when it seemed that there was no way out.
After that, the situation was getting better. Surviving 1993 meant that we were going to survive. The difference is obvious, we have traveled a long path. The assessments if more or less could have been done are, as you know, varying, depending on whom you get it from. If you ask me, I could not say it is excellent, but if we take an overall look, it is satisfying.
The result from 1993 to 1999 is positive. Bosnia has survived, it was sentenced to obliteration, it was saved, and it reached the peace agreement. Since what Bosnia has experienced, and what happened to its people and their properties, one could say that the situation now is satisfying.
Sometimes I think that what has happened over the past seven or eight years, of course I point out the war time, that it was the biggest and the most ominous event in the history of Bosnia even if you look at it in a millenium period. This is not because you or I live in this period, but I think one historian who will write the history of Bosnia in seven or eight hundred years from now, or even a millenium, will mark this war a cornerstone of this history.
Look at what happened now and compare it to the last war (1941–1945). The Aladza Mosque survived in spite of the fact the Chetniks were holding Foca for a long time and that the HQ of Draza Mihajlovic was nearby. Ferhadija too; it crossed nobody's mind, even theirs, to demolish it. The population had some losses from Ustashas, Serbs were being killed and us (Muslims) too, but the population survived or they returned to homes successfully.
Yet, what happened now, these movements of population, this ethnic cleansing, will probably leave a lasting scar on Bosnia. Such a Bosnia should have been saved in a way. To be honest I asked myself in 1993 if they succeeded to kill it finally, because it had undergone so many hits that many people who loved Bosnia asked themselves if Bosnia had survived. In that context the current situation should be looked at. If a man survived a heavy car accident, which took place without his fault, he cannot look as other healthy people. So, this should be looked at relatively.
Is the situation of the patient, in our case Bosnia, good or bad? I think it is much better than we could have expected in the fall of 1995, when we expected those bombings in Sarajevo after Srebrenica. In a word, we have survived; cities are being reconstructed, as you can see.
We have this rare project of a multinational Bosnia. More or less all peoples have a task to create their single-national states where minorities have rights, but we are trying to create a state out of three peoples, which had been drawn into a conflict from somebody else. This project is a sublimed project, it is an experiment that will enter history if it succeeds. There are no such experiments, such projects, in the world. Bosnia is one of the rare examples where a state is tried to be made out of three peoples, three religions, three cultures, maybe even more.
The difficulties we currently have partially descend from the nature of this project. I could not say it would be right to blame our government for a failure. Having in mind this context, I deem the situation is good.
The impression is that you are very optimistic about the future of Bosnia.
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 1999 20:09:17 -0600 (CST)
From: “Boyle, Francis” <FBOYLE@law.uiuc.edu>
Subject: 1993: Tuzla interview with Pres. Izetbegovic
For what it is worth, I could not help but comment upon and support this poignant and true statement by President Izetbegovic about 1993. We almost lost our Republic, and with it most of the Muslim Population of Bosnia and Herzegovina. As the President correctly points out, the late Summer and Fall of 1993 was indeed our most desperate hour. It was clear at the Owen-Stoltenberg negotiations in Geneva opening at the end of July 1993,that the entire international community—including the United Nations, the European Union and its Member States,and the Clinton administration—had sent Bosnia to Geneva in order to be destroyed outright. I was there. I saw this with my own eyes. The Owen-Stoltenberg-Szass-Karadzic Plan would have carved the Republic up into three pieces, destroyed Bosnia's Statehood, robbed Bosnia of its UN Membership, and subjected 1.5 million to 2.0 million more Bosnians to ethnic cleansing.
In addition, Owen-Stoltenberg had summoned the entire Bosnian Presidency to Geneva in order to play them off against each other:divide and conquer, the typical British colonial imperial policy, like the Romans before them. Once again, I saw it with my own eyes and tried to stop it. Owen-Stoltenberg convinced the Bosnian Prime Minister Mile Akhmadic and his fellow Bosnian Croats to leave the Bosnian Presidency and join ranks with Boban, despite my best efforts to stop it. In addition, Owen-Stoltenberg split Abdic off from the Bosnian Presidency too. I told Abdic that whatever disagreements he might have with President Izetbegovic, he should settle them back in Bosnia—otherwise,”they will eat you all alive here!” It was Owen who procured and cemented the alliance between Milosevic and Abdic that was responsible for the fratricidal war between Bosnian Muslims at Bihac. Owen must assume personal responsibility for the atrocities inflicted by Abdic and his forces. This is why the President speaks about the three front war: against Milosevic-Karadzic-Mladic;against Tudjman-Boban-Akhmadic; and against Abdic-Tudjman-Milosevic.
November of 1993 was indeed the worst month. That is why, acting upon my advice, President Izetbegovic authorized me to sue Britain at the World Court in early November 1993 for violating the 1948 Genocide Convention and the 1965 Racial Discrimination Convention in order to break the genocidal arms embargo against Bosnia and to stop the so-called Contact Group Plan,which took the place of the Owen-Stoltenberg Plan. Once we had thoroughly discredited Owen, Stoltenberg and Szass, it was Clinton who decided to repackage their 3-way carve-up plan and put it under the auspices of the so-called Contact Group,which the Clinton administration had cobbled together from Europe, using the European states to do their dirty work for them. Of course, the Europeans went along with it and allowed themselves to be used. But the Plan was still to carve-up the Republic into three pieces, and now also to carve-up Sarajevo into 2 pieces like the divided city of Berlin. The carve-up of Sarajevo was something I had stopped at the Owen-Stoltenberg Negotiations in Geneva. The so-called Contact Group put it back on the table and tried to pressure the Bosnian Government into going along with it in Geneva.
In any event, the legal proceedings against Britain occupied the rest of 1993 until they were formally terminated because Britain threatened to starve the Bosnian People with the support of Owen-Stoltenberg and other European States. We barely got out of 1993 alive. No thanks to Clinton, Christopher,Boutros-Ghali, Koffi Annan,Akashi, Owen, Stoltenberg, Szass, Major, Hurd, Hogg, the United Nations Organization, the European Union and its Member States, the United States etc. If they had had their way, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and most of its People, especially the Muslims, would have been destroyed and exterminated in 1993.
Francis A. Boyle
Professor of International Law
Citizen of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina