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Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

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Bosnia's Zeljko Komsic Compares Darfur to Srebrenica, Studies in UN Inaction on Genocide

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN

UNITED NATIONS, August 27 -- "In Srebrenica, the UN was ineffective in preventing genocide -- now look at the slowness of the process of trying to prevent genocide in Darfur." This statement, made at the UN on Monday, was not by a non-governmental organization or human rights lawyer, but by the chairman of Bosnia-Herzegovina's three-member presidency, Zeljko Komsic. In two five-minute answers to questions from Inner City Press, Komsic set forth his view on B-H's past, of genocide not prevented, and its future, of needed Constitutional reform to eliminate legal discrimination.

            "In the Federation," Komsic said, "Serbians do not have the same right as Bosniaks and Croats. In Republika Srpska, Bosniaks and Croats do not have the same rights as Serbs and Bosnians. You cannot have a democratic country with such discrimination." He noted that "a Jew or person classified as other, who does  not list his nationality, cannot be a member of the presidency."

    Komsic said that further back, under Tito, rights of individuals and groups had been protected, and that this was the directly that Constitutional reform should now be moving in. Inner City Press previously questioned the two other members of the Presidency, including Haris Silajdzic and previous chairman Nejosa Radmanovic, who said that there was no need for the UN to continuing monitoring Bosnia, click here for that.

Komsic and Ban: one of them has that far-away look

            Of Mladic, Komsic noted that Carla del Ponte a month ago said he was in Serbia. Ms. del Ponte herself will not become Switzerland's Ambassador to Argentina.

            Komsic is slated to visit a Bosnian diaspora community in St. Louis on August 30. Then it's back to the region, where Kosovo's status is the elephant in the (fragmented) room. Komsic that if Kosova independence were unilaterally declared, B-H would follow the position of the European Union and NATO, both of which B-H wants to join.

   In fact, Komsic said, the current tensions in the former Yugoslavia could all be relegated to the past when EU membership extends throughout the region. For B-H, reform of the police sector is a prerequisite, with borders and the multi-ethic character of the force still to be negotiated. We will continue to follow this story.

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  Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540