Further Appeasement in Rome

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The meeting convened in Rome on 17-18 February by current EU President Susanna Agnelli, and attended by Presidents Izetbegovic, Milosevic and Tudjman as well as by US assistant secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, High Representative Carl Bildt, IFOR commander Admiral Leighton Smith, commander of US forces General Joulwan and others, was billed as an effort to shore up the Dayton agreement. In the event, it saw new and serious measures of appeasement of those working against an integral sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina.

First, the new 'rules of the road' on the arrest of suspected war criminals represented a major step back from what was decided at Dayton.

Dayton Accord, Annex 1A, Article IX, paragraph 1 (g) 'Each Party must detain persons reasonably suspected of such violations [i.e. "violations within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal"] for a period of time sufficient to permit appropriate consultation with the Tribunal authorities'

Rome communique, section 5 on 'Cooperation on War Crimes and Respect for Human Rights'.

'Persons, other than those already indicted by the International Tribunal, may be arrested and detained for serious violations of international humanitarian law only pursuant to a previously issued order, warrant or indictment that has been reviewed and deemed consistent with international legal standards by the International Tribunal. Procedures will be developed for expeditious decision by the Tribunal and will be effective immediately upon such action.'

Secondly,the arbitration decree on Mostar issued by EU Administrator Hans Koschnik agreed to in advance by all parties and given verbal support by the EU, NATO, the United States and the Bosnian Government, was substantially qualified at Rome in the face of violent Bosnian Croat opposition (backed by Zagreb) to the return of majority non-Croat refugees to their former homes in the city centre.

Rome communique - 'Agreement on Mostar'.

'1. c) Refugees and displaced persons will be allowed to return to all areas of Mostar and, with respect to the Central Zone, their return will be organized in a phased arrangement in accordance with the following criteria:
- A significant area of the Central Zone will be, with the financial support of the European Union, reserved for public use and for the encouragement of local cultural activities.
- in implementing the arrangements for the return of refugees, only a limited part of the Central Zone will be available for residential accommodation.
- Only those with the legal right to residence at the time of the 1991 census will be entitled to return.
- The process will start with empty flats and houses one month after the decree of the interim statute has come into force.
- Other owners will be entitled to return only when there is adequate alternative housing for refugees now living within the Central Zone.'