AFP Increased violence in Bosnia linked with nationalist parties: US ambassador
Increased violence in Bosnia linked with nationalist parties: US
Saturday, 01-Feb-2003 5:30AM
BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Feb 1 (AFP) - The US ambassador to
Bosnia Clifford Bond said that increased violence against returnees in
the divided republic was linked to the renewal of Croat, Muslim and Serb
nationalist power in recent elections, a local newspaper reported
"We are witnesses of increased violence, and I think that this was
stirred up by the fact that nationalist parties are back in power
again," Bond told Nezavisne Novine.
During the past few months violence against returnees, their property
and places of worship increased, especially in the Bosnian Serb half of
the republic, Republika Srpska (RS).
Last October's election victory of the nationalist parties who led
country's ethnic communities into the 1992-1995 war -- the Serb
Democratic Party (SDS), the Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) and
the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ) -- has increased fears among moderates
that the republic's fragile peace is again at risk.
"It is natural that some people think that ... (Bosnia) is returning to
situation of the early 1990s," Bond said. However, he added, "currently
the international community has a significant presence in Bosnia," in
reference to NATO peacekeepers and the newly dispatched European police
"We expect local authorities and religious leaders to condemn these
incidents more strongly and to show their dedication to the
reconciliation process," Bond added.
In a recent high-profile crime, a Bosnian court has accused an ethnic
Muslim of killing three ethnic Croat returnees on Christmas Eve, in an
act motivated by religious and ethnic hatred.
The Dayton peace accords that ended the Bosnian war split the country
into the autonomous Muslim-Croat Federation and Serbs' RS.
The two entities are linked by weak central institutions and have
separate governments, parliaments, armies and police.