Bosnia and Herzegovina.
COUNTRYAAH, the Bosnian Serbs leader during
the 1992–95 war, Radovan Karadžić, gave his first speech in
the trial against him, which began last autumn in the UN War
Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. Karadžić insisted on running
his own defense and denied accusations of genocide and war
crimes. He accused Muslims of murdering their own during the
war. The massacre in Srebrenica, when up to 8,000 Muslim
boys and men were killed, he called "a myth".
In June, the judges fell to seven high-ranking police and
military for crimes in connection with the Srebrenica
massacre. Two received life imprisonment and the others
between 5 and 34 years. The trial was the most extensive to
date in the UN Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Turkey's mediation led to a summit in Istanbul in April
between Serbia's President Boris Tadić and Bosnia's
President and Herzegovina's Presidential Council, Haris
Silajdzić. Turkey's aim was to contribute to the
normalization of the relationship, which was still very
tense after the 1990s war. After the summit, a declaration
was signed to resolve a number of conflicts concerning, for
example, border clearing, property and debt.
In connection with the 15th anniversary of Srebrenica's
fall on July 11, 50,000 people gathered to honor the
victims' memory. Nearly 800 newly identified victims of the
massacre were buried in a ceremony. More than half of the
victims had been identified, mainly with the help of DNA,
The situation was bleak for the autumn presidential and
parliamentary elections, the second since the end of the
war. Despite the weak economy and widespread unemployment,
the electoral movement was largely about nationalism within
the various ethnic groups. Independence claims were made in
the Serbian Republic, and Bosnian Croats in the other
Republic demanded increased autonomy. The Muslim Bosnians,
on the other hand, wanted to strengthen central government.
The elections were held both at national level and in the
two semi-autonomous sub-republics. Bosnian Croat Željko
Komšić and Bosnian Legion Nebojša Radmanović were re-elected
to the three-headed All-Bosnian Presidential Council, while
Bakir Izetbegović was elected to replace Haris Silajdzić as
The election to the national parliament gave no clear
victory. Two blocks stood against each other: one dominated
by the multi-ethnic SDP and the other by the mainly Bosnian
Serb SNSD. No government existed at year-end. The same was
true in the Bosnian-Croatian region. Former Prime Minister
Milo Dodik was elected president in the Republic of Srpska
and his party SNSD formed a new government.
The Ministry of Culture created headlines by withdrawing
a permit that Hollywood star Angelina Jolie received for
filming in Sarajevo. A controversy surrounding the script
was reported to be the cause. Jolie, who planned her
directorial debut, later regained the state of the film, a
love story during the Civil War.