|To live is so startling, it leaves little time for anything else. - Emily Dickinson|
No. 219, Part II, 9 November 1995
This is Part II of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest. Part II is a compilation of news concerning Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. Part I, covering Russia, Transcaucasia and Central Asia, is distributed simultaneously as a second document. Back issues of the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/OMRI.html ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^TODAY'S TOP STORY^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ BOSNIAN SERBS FREE U.S. JOURNALIST. Bosnian Serb civilian leader Radovan Karadzic pardoned David Rhode, a correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, on 8 November. Rhode had been charged with illegal entry and spying, but most observers felt that his real "crime" in Bosnian Serb eyes was to have exposed the extent of the massacres of Muslims at Srebrenica. His release to U.S. diplomats came after the Americans had demanded it at the Dayton peace talks, international media noted. AFP added that France at Dayton is linking the fate of its two pilots downed by Bosnian Serbs to the lifting of sanctions against Belgrade. Reuters said that relatives of missing persons in Croatia, who disappeared following Serbian attacks in 1991, have also asked that their concerns be put on the agenda at the talks. -- Patrick Moore ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE FORMER POLITICAL PRISONERS CALL FOR "SYMBOLIC TRIAL" OVER COMMUNIST CRIMES. Hundreds of former political prisoners and dissidents from 19 countries gathered in Kiev on 7-8 November, calling for a symbolic "Nuremberg-like" trial over crimes committed by former Communist regimes, Ukrainian TV reported 8 November. The organizers, the International Congress of Political Prisoners of Communist Regimes, believe such a trial would serve as a moral cleansing in various post- Soviet societies where years of repression and human rights abuses have gone unpunished and often uncondemned. The Congress, along with the All- Ukrainian Society of the Repressed and the Israel-Ukraine Society appealed to the Ukrainian parliament to consider making 7 November (the anniversary of the October 1917 revolution) a national day of mourning for victims of totalitarian regimes. -- Chrystyna Lapychak BELARUSIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT DELIVERS ANOTHER BLOW TO PRESIDENT. Radio Mayak on 8 November reported that the Belarusian Constitutional Court has found yet another decree issued by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to be unlawful. Following strikes by metro workers in August, Lukashenka issued a decree banning the metro workers union and lifting deputies' parliamentary immunity. The court ruled that the decree contravened the constitution. This is the fifth time the court has voted against Lukashenka, who has been ruling by decree since May because voters failed to elect enough deputies to form a new legislature. The Constitutional Court recently ruled that the old parliament remains the legal legislature until a new one is elected, but Lukashenka has refused to accept this ruling. -- Ustina Markus BELARUSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER DENIES RESIGNATION. Uladzimir Syanko has refuted rumors that he has fallen out of favor with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and will soon be resigning, Interfax reported on 8 November. According to Syanko, such rumors are spread to "produce chaos in the Foreign Ministry and give the impression that there is internal strife within the president's team." A week earlier, Lukashenka denied having any intention of firing Syanko. He said that the foreign minister has his own views on certain issues but that as long as he carries out the president's policies, which are based on the results of the referendum, there was no reason to dismiss him. In the referendum, voters supported closer economic integration with Russia. -- Ustina Markus ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT OPPOSES ABOLITION OF DEATH PENALTY. Prime Minister Tiit Vahi, following a cabinet meeting on 7 November, said he thought the country was not yet ready for the abolition of the death penalty, BNS reported. Justice Minister Paul Varul noted that the parliament can ratify the European Human Rights Convention without accepting the protocol that bans capital punishment. A court in Narva that day sentenced Eduard Magi to death for three brutal murders, rapes, and robberies. Estonian courts have passed several death sentences since September 1991, but none has been carried out. -- Saulius Girnius LATVIA, EFTA INITIAL FREE TRADE AGREEMENT. Latvia and the European Free Trade Association (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein) initialed a free trade agreement in Geneva on 7 November, BNS reported the next day. The agreement is likely to be signed on 8 December during an EFTA meeting . Latvia is the first Baltic state to initial such an agreement with EFTA. The agreement states that the EFTA countries accept the validity of the rules on the origin of goods stipulated in a free trade agreement between the Baltic States. Latvia also succeeded in imposing restrictions on salmon imports from Norway and Iceland for four years. -- Saulius Girnius LITHUANIA SENDS LATVIA DIPLOMATIC NOTE ON SEA BORDERS. The Foreign Ministry on 8 November sent a diplomatic note to Latvian Ambassador to Lithuania Alberts Sarkanis stating that the Lithuanian government no longer considers itself bound by any proposals or documents drawn up during negotiations with Latvia on sea borders, BNS reported. The note stressed that Latvia has violated Lithuania's sovereign rights by unilaterally signing agreements with U.S. and Swedish firms for oil exploration in territory claimed by Lithuania. The Foreign Ministry, however, said it expected that the problems raised by Latvia's actions were of a temporary nature only and that ambassador Rimantas Karazija, who has been recalled for consultations, will return to Riga "in the near future." -- Saulius Girnius POLISH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES REVEAL FINANCIAL ASSETS. Incumbent President Lech Walesa has responded to a request by Aleksander Kwasniewski, his rival in the 19 November second round of presidential elections, to reveal his income and tax declarations. Walesa said that he received $1 million dollars for the film rights to his autobiography and that "no more than half a million has remained from this sum." He noted that he has invested all his private funds "in our country." Kwasniewski admitted that in the financial declaration he was obliged to submit as a Sejm deputy, he omitted his wife's financial assets. The Polish press revealed that she owns shares in the Polisa insurance company worth some $20,000, according to estimates by her husband. -- Jakub Karpinski POLAND BECOMES NON-PERMANENT MEMBER OF SECURITY COUNCIL. Poland on 8 November became a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the next two years, Polish media reported. Permanent Polish Representative to the United Nations, Zbigniew Wlosowicz, pointed out that while Poland has been a non-permanent member four times in the past, it can now present its "sovereign foreign policy" within the Regional Eastern European Group. Hungary and the Czech Republic have both served as non-permanent members since 1989, Rzeczpospolita reported on 9 November. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz CZECH POLICEMAN SENTENCED FOR KILLING GERMAN TOURIST. A local court on 8 November sentenced Pavel Sach to eight months in jail for killing a 26- year-old German tourist near Prague in October 1994. Sach testified that he was attempting to fine Markus Rankel for illegal parking when the allegedly drunk German attacked him. According to witnesses, Sach tripped up Rankel and put his gun to the German's head, Czech media reported. The gun went off and Rankel died four days later. It was the second such incident in the Czech Republic last year. The judge declared Sach pulled his gun when Rankel was no longer a threat, and experts testified that it was "almost excluded" that the pistol could have discharged accidentally. Sach, 25, immediately appealed the sentence, which also barred him for five years from any employment that involves carrying weapons. -- Steve Kettle CZECH CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REFUSES DUAL CITIZENSHIP. Journalist and former leading dissident Petr Uhl on 8 November failed in an attempt to have an article in the Czech citizenship law annulled stating that anyone who becomes a citizen of another country loses Czech citizenship. In protest at the division of Czechoslovakia, Uhl in 1993 chose to become a Slovak citizen but continues to live in the Czech Republic. As a declared foreigner in his own country, Uhl has no passport and cannot vote; moreover, his work contract is invalid, his lawyer said. The Constitutional Court, however, ruled that Uhl was not stripped of his Czech citizenship but voluntarily "lost" it. Parliamentary chairman Milan Uhde said Uhl was attempting to practice polygamy, retaining one wife at home but still marrying another, Czech media reported. Uhl said if he loses an appeal, he will take the case to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. -- Steve Kettle SLOVAK POLITICAL UPDATE. The Slovak National Party (SNS) on 8 November announced its decision to delay a request that the parliament form a commission charged with investigating the activities of President Michal Kovac, the aim of which would be to accuse him of treason. The anticipated report by the parliamentary commission investigating the eligibility of the opposition Democratic Union to run in last fall's elections was also not included in the current session's program. An amendment to the law on referendums proposed by Movement for a Democratic Slovakia deputy Jan Cuper is to be discussed during this session, even though it was not discussed in parliamentary committees. The amendment would mean that signatures collected to call a referendum would be screened by the parliament rather than the President's Office. Mikulas Dzurinda of the opposition Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) suggested that in a future session, an investigative commission be established to look into the privatization activities of SNS deputies and their wives. Dzurinda listed nine questions that need to be answered. SNS Chairman Jan Slota responded by calling Dzurinda "an insane, poor man." -- Sharon Fisher SLOVAK CULTURE MINISTRY ON ADVERTISING. Ivan Reguli, director-general of the section on public information at the Culture Ministry, on 26 October sent a letter to state firms on advertising in Slovak newspapers, Sme reported on 9 November. The letter states: "Advertising is an important source of income for mass media. We presume that your organization can support the press that sympathizes with the Slovak government to a greater extent." -- Sharon Fisher SHUTDOWN AT HUNGARIAN NUCLEAR POWER STATION. One of the four reactors at Hungary's only nuclear power station was shut down for a few hours overnight , Hungarian media reported on 8 November. According to the state radio the incident did not pose any threat and was caused by a faulty measuring instrument. Director of the Paks reactor Janos Szabo denied initial media speculation that the reactor had broken down, saying it was ordered closed because of the defective measuring device. The station has four high-pressure water reactors that went into service in 1983 and provide more than one-third of the country's energy. -- Zsofia Szilagyi *********************************************************************** Would you like more details and expanded analysis on many of the topics covered in the Daily Digest? OMRI also publishes the biweekly journal Transition. The 3 November issue takes a special look at the Balkan conflict, including these titles: -- "An End Game in Croatia and Bosnia?" -- Tuzla: "Where Will All These People Go?" -- Mostar: "A Test Case for the Muslim-Croat Federation" -- Other articles include an interview with Albanian writer Ismail Kadare. The 17 November issue examines the changing nuclear threat in the former USSR and Eastern Europe with such articles as: -- "Nuclear Arms - A Soviet Legacy" -- "Kazakhstan Staggers Under Its Nuclear Burden" and -- 'The Chornobyl Fallout Persists" -- For subscription info, send e-mail inquiries to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ By mail to OMRI Publications, Motokov Building, Na Strzi 63, 140 62 Prague 4, Czech Republic. Tel.: (422) 6114 3303; Fax: (422) 426 396. *********************************************************************** SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE DOES STATE DEPARTMENT HOLD THE SERBIAN "SMOKING GUN"? The BBC on 9 November reported on the ongoing public controversy between Justice Richard Goldstone of The Hague war crimes tribunal and the U.S. State Department. Goldstone earlier this week suggested that Washington was wary of providing or unwilling to provide his court with the information it needs to prosecute war criminals. U.S. officials said in reply only that there had been "glitches" in making highly secret materials available. A BBC analyst suggested that while nobody denies that Washington is the court's strongest supporter, the State Department might be withholding information that could prove counterproductive to American policy. One such possibility might be evidence clearly linking war crimes to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, whom Washington regards as central to its current "peace process." In another development, Western agencies quoted a State Department spokesman as saying that all parties to the conflict will be expected to help the tribunal and that Washington regards justice as important as peace. -- Patrick Moore MONTENEGRIN PRIME MINISTER OFFERS LOGISTICAL SUPPORT TO NATO. Milo Djukanovic, returning the visit by American congressmen who were in Montenegro earlier this year, said he wants to back the Dayton talks by offering logistical support for NATO troops at the port of Bar, Nasa Borba reported on 8 November. Bar could be used to ship weapons, equipment, and men to Bosnia, he suggested. While Washington acknowledged this proposal as a confirmation of the "recognizable foreign policy of Montenegro," a spokesman of the Serbian Radical Party in Montenegro said it was part of a plan for the secession of Montenegro from rump Yugoslavia, Montena-fax reported the same day. -- Daria Sito Sucic KOSOVO UPDATE. Kosova Daily Report on 8 November said that Serbian police raided 106 Albanian homes in Pec over the last nine months. At least 88 ethnic Albanians were beaten up and another 61 maltreated, while a total of 149 people were detained. During the same period, 17 Albanian party and trade unions activists were sentenced to long prison terms in the western Kosovar town. The report also says that "Serbian police have been continuously hunting down draft-age Albanians," adding that "dozens were delivered to military inductions, while two of them were forcefully drafted." Elsewhere, police reportedly cracked down on ethnic Albanian schools in Vucitrn near Mitrovica and maltreated school staff. Raids are also reported from around Pristine. Meanwhile, Kosovar shadow-state Prime Minister Bujar Bukoshi urged the U.S. to maintain sanctions against rump Yugoslavia until a solution to the conflict has been reached, Reuters reported on 8 November. -- Fabian Schmidt SATIRICAL WEEKLY LAUNCHED IN SERBIA. Nasa Borba on 9 November reported that a satirical weekly--the first of its kind in the rump Yugoslavia-- has been launched. Smrklost is to be published in Kragujevac and is staffed by local journalists and cartoonists. The independent daily called the new publication the "first Serbian Feral," referring to Croatia's Feral Tribune, which is widely known for satirizing key political and social developments in Croatia. -- Stan Markotich PRO-MONARCHY DEMONSTRATION IN BUCHAREST. Some 3,000 Romanians on 8 November gathered in Bucharest to mark the 50th anniversary of a brutally suppressed anti-communist rally, international agencies and Radio Bucharest reported. The demonstrators, waving flags with the insignia of the Romanian monarchy and portraits of exiled King Michael, shouted "Down with Iliescu." King Michael addressed the crowd live via a local radio station. "Even though Romania is not under Soviet occupation anymore, the struggle that we started in 1945 against communism has not finished," he said. Emil Constantinescu, leader of the Democratic Convention opposition bloc, and Ion Diaconescu, deputy chairman of the National Peasant Party-Christian Democratic (PNTCD), also addressed the crowd. The protest meeting was organized by the PNTCD's student organization. -- Matyas Szabo MOLDOVAN PRIME MINISTER ON TREATY WITH ROMANIA. Andrei Sangheli, in an interview with Nezavisimaya gazeta carried by BASA-press and cited by Radio Bucharest on 8 November, said Romania's insistence that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact is mentioned in the pending treaty with Chisinau is aimed at demonstrating that Moldova is an "artificial state." He stressed that this was not the case, since the Moldovan state was "set up over 500 years ago, long before the Romanian state was set up last century." Romanian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mircea Geona on 8 November responded by saying Sangheli's interview reflected conflicts within the Moldovan leadership in which Romania does not wish to become involved. Radio Bucharest reported that Geona reiterated the Romanian position that Bucharest is striving for a relationship of a "special character" with Chisinau. He noted that this must be also reflected in the treaty between the two countries. -- Michael Shafir CHISINAU, TIRASPOL FAIL TO AGREE ON SUMMIT. Teams of experts meeting in Chisinau last week have failed to reach agreement on the next Moldovan- Transdniestrian summit, Infotag reported on 8 November. A Transdniestrian official told the agency that the sides disagree over the summit's agenda, with Chisinau insisting on discussing a draft law on autonomy for the breakaway region and Tiraspol wanting to discuss relations between two independent republics. The last summit meeting was held on 13 September. -- Michael Shafir WAR OF WORDS CONTINUES BETWEEN BULGARIAN PRESIDENT, SOCIALIST PARTY. Zhelyu Zhelev. addressing EU diplomats on 8 November, accused the Socialist-dominated parliament of poor performance due to division within the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Standart reported on 9 November. Meanwhile, BSP deputies are threatening to ask the Constitutional Court to rule on Zhelev's support for Stefan Sofiyanski, the Union of Democratic Forces' candidate for mayor of Sofia. The second round of local elections in the capital, a run-off between Sofyianski and BSP candidate Ventsislav Yosifov, is to take place over the weekend. According to the BSP, the president is constitutionally prohibited from taking sides in elections. -- Michael Wyzan ALBANIAN INTERIOR MINISTER PRESENTS LISTS OF BORDER VICTIMS. Agron Musaraj on 8 November presented the Parliamentary Commission on Defense, Public Order, and the Secret Service with the first lists of Albanians killed at the border between 1990 and 1992 and the chief border guards responsible for the killings. The head of the commission, Azem Hajdari, said the first indictments against border guards could be made when the commission received the complete documentation, ATSH reported the same day. After May 1990, the penal code ceased to specify leaving the country as "high treason" and to justify the killing of illegal emigrants. Hajdari estimates the number of victims to be more than 100. Investigations have already begun against former President Ramiz Alia and Interior Minister Hekuran Isai. -- Fabian Schmidt [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Jan Cleave The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet Union and East-Central and Southeastern Europe. It is published Monday through Friday by the Open Media Research Institute. The OMRI Daily Digest is distributed electronically via the OMRI-L list. To subscribe, send "SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L YourFirstName YourLastName" (without the quotation marks and inserting your name where shown) to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU No subject line or other text should be included. To receive the OMRI Daily Digest by mail or fax, please direct inquiries to OMRI Publications, Na Strzi 63, 140 62 Prague 4, Czech Republic; or electronically to OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ Tel.: (42-2) 6114 2114; fax: (42-2) 426 396 Please note that there is a new procedure for obtaining permission to reprint or redistribute the OMRI Daily Digest. Before reprinting or redistributing this publication, please write email@example.com for a copy of the new policy or look at this URL: http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
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