The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli
OMRI DAILY DIGEST</head>

No. 173, Part II, 6 September 1996

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/Index.html

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT WANTS NEW REFERENDUM DATE. The Belarusian
parliament has called for holding President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's
referendum at the same time as parliamentary by-elections on 24
November, instead of the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, 7
November, as proposed by Lukashenka, ITAR-TASS reported on 5 September.
The exact questions to appear on the referendum are still unknown, but
they will be aimed at revising the constitution to enhance the
president's powers. Parliament is considering holding an alternative
referendum at the same time, asking the people if the post of president
of Belarus should be abolished altogether. There is some contradiction
in holding the by-elections and referendum simultaneously, since
Lukashenka's version of the constitution envisages a smaller, bicameral
legislature, in which there would be no room for any more elected
deputies. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIAN APPOINTMENTS. President Leonid Kuchma signed a decree on 5
September appointing Yurii Rusantsov as Coal Minister, Susana Stanyk as
Minister of Family and Youth Issues, and Andrii Svyrdyuk as Health
Minister, Ukrainian radio reported. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINIANS SENTENCED IN BELARUS. Seven Ukrainians have been sentenced to
prison terms ranging from one to two and a half years in Belarus for
participating in the Chornobyl anniversary rally and causing public
disorder, RFE/RL and ITAR-TASS reported on 6 September. The presiding
judge said the defendants' citizenship was not taken into account when
the court passed sentence, but the sentences are much harsher than those
received by any other defendants tried for their participation in the
rally. The usual sentence for those arrested was under two weeks, and
the two organizers who went on hunger strike, Vyacheslau Siuchyk and
Yurii Khadyka, received suspended sentences. The Ukrainian consul in
Minsk, Mikhail Moskalenko, said the trial was unfair and he would appeal
the verdict in the Belarusian Supreme Court. -- Ustina Markus

BALTIC ASSEMBLY TO PROPOSE CONDITIONS FOR ENDING DEATH PENALTY.
Lithuanian deputy Algirdas Kuncinas said 4 September that the Baltic
Assembly's legal committee last week prepared a resolution on ending the
death penalty in the Baltic states for submission to the assembly's
October session in Riga, BNS reported. He said the resolution calls for
ending the penalty only after certain conditions have been fulfilled.
These include sharply decreasing the number of particularly heinous
crimes, changing public opinion, and constructing special prisons and
cells for persons whose death sentences would be changed to life
imprisonment. -- Saulius Girnius

TALLINN, ST. PETERSBURG SIGN COOPERATION AGREEMENT. Tallinn City Council
Chairman Koit Kaaristu and his St. Petersburg counterpart Yuri Kravtsov
on 5 September signed an agreement on promoting cooperation between the
two municipal councils, BNS reported. It provides for the exchange of
adopted regulations and programs for urban development, promoting
contacts between the municipal governments, law-enforcement authorities,
and nongovernmental organizations. The Tallinn City Council has also
signed a protocol of intent with its Moscow counterpart, but it is
unclear whether a cooperation accord can be signed before Estonia's
local elections on 20 October. -- Saulius Girnius

TORTURER FROM STALINIST TIMES IMPRISONED IN POLAND. Adam Humer, former
chief of the Investigation Department of the Stalinist political police
in Poland in the 1950s, sentenced in March for nine years imprisonment,
was finally sent to prison this week, Polish dailies reported on 6
September. Humer tortured political prisoners 40 years ago in the same
Mokotow prison where he will be confined. Humer is 80 years old and the
court acceded in March to the defense motion that Humer undergo medical
investigation before imprisonment. The doctors concluded recently that
he can stay in prison under constant medical supervision. -- Jakub
Karpinski

FOLLOW-UP ON POLISH GOVERNMENT CRISIS. Tensions in the ruling coalition,
provoked recently by governmental reform, were exacerbated by the
dismissal of Foreign Trade Minister Jacek Buchacz on 4 September (see
OMRI Daily Digest 5 September 1996). Buchacz, in the post since early
1995, represented the Polish Peasant Party (PSL), the ruling coalition
junior partner. Polish dailies provided details on the "Buchacz empire,"
a conglomerate of private and state-owned institutions aimed at helping
Polish exports. The PSL said that "the PSL and Minister Jacek Buchacz
have repeatedly warned of a growing foreign trade deficit, which could
reach $10 billion this year." PSL representatives suggested that the
minister's dismissal came as a response to these warnings. The PSL has
threatened to leave the coalition with the Democratic Left Alliance,
which may lead to earlier elections than those scheduled for fall 1997.
-- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH PRIME MINISTER IN JAPAN. On a three-day official visit to Japan,
Vaclav Klaus on 6 September met with Emperor Akihito, Czech and
international agencies reported. Klaus met the previous day with his
Japanese counterpart, Ryutaro Hashimoto, requesting more Japanese
investment in the Czech Republic. Hashimoto asked Klaus to improve
investment conditions, but Klaus rejected appeals to grant Japanese
companies tax breaks. Hashimoto and Klaus expressed support for U.S.
missile attacks on Iraq. Also on 5 September, Klaus and Foreign Minister
Yukihiko Ikeda and International Trade and Industry Minister Shumpei
Tsukahara discussed increasing bilateral trade. Klaus's Asian tour will
include visits to Malaysia and Singapore. -- Sharon Fisher

BAVARIAN PRIME MINISTER WARNS CZECHS. Edmund Stoiber told German Radio 5
September that the planned Czech-German declaration on reconciliation
will not be signed until Prague talks to Sudeten Germans expelled after
World War II, Reuters reported. The majority of the Sudeten Germans and
their descendants now live in Bavaria and are a key constituency of
Stoiber's Christian Social Union, a member of Germany's ruling
coalition. Stoiber said the signing before the end of the year "depends
on whether the text is acceptable for those who are seriously affected"
and "whether...there is readiness from anyone on the Czech side to have
talks with the Sudeten Germans." He added that "it must be possible for
the Czech side now to say, without any material claims arising, that the
expulsion [of the ethnic Germans] was wrong under international law." --
Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK COURT RULES CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF PRESIDENT'S SON VIOLATED.
The Senate of Slovakia's Constitutional Court on 4 September ruled that
the Foreign Ministry's inactivity earlier this year in the Michal Kovac
Jr. case constituted a violation of his right to free entrance to Slovak
territory, Narodna obroda reported two days later. The day after the
decision, Constitutional Court judge Jan Drgonec said that as a state
organ, the Foreign Ministry "should have fulfilled the state's
obligation to secure the protection of a citizen's constitutionally
guaranteed rights." The court was referring to Kovac Jr.'s request after
his kidnapping last year that the Foreign Ministry ask for his
extradition from Austria. Kovac Jr. on 5 September announced he will sue
the state for damages. -- Sharon Fisher

EUROPE'S LARGEST SYNAGOGUE REOPENS IN HUNGARY. Thousands of people,
including former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, attended a
ceremony 5 September celebrating the reopening of the world's second
largest synagogue after five years of renovation, Hungarian and
international media reported. The synagogue was built in 1850 and served
as a shelter for thousands of Jews during World War II. "The
reconstruction is a clear indication that the present Jewry of Hungary
is confident in the future, that it can again build a prosperous life,"
Peter Feldmajer, president of the Hungarian Jewish Communities, said
before the ceremony. So far the renovation has cost 1,250 million
forints ($8.3 million). The Hungarian government paid 80% and the rest
came from international donations. The reconstruction is due to be
finished by next autumn. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

THOUSANDS PROTEST HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN BASIC TREATY IN BUDAPEST. About
10,000 to 20,000 people demonstrated against the Hungarian-Romanian
basic treaty outside the Parliament building last night, Hungarian media
reported. Catholic Bishop Jozsef Tempfli of Oradea, Romania, and
Hungarian Calvinist Bishop Lorant Hegedus gave speeches saying the
treaty the two governments are about to sign will not help
reconciliation between the two nations. A speaker from the opposition
Smallholders' Party said the cabinet is committing "treason" by signing
the document. The demonstration was also supported by the far-right
extra-parliamentary Hungarian Justice and Life Party. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

FIRST BODY FOUND AT VUKOVAR HOSPITAL MASSACRE GRAVE. War-crimes
investigators uncovered the first body at the Ovcara mass grave in
eastern Slavonia, thought to contain the bodies of Croats executed in
the 1991 Serb-Croat war, international agencies reported on 5 September.
The exhumation is part of the International Criminal Tribunal for the
Former Yugoslavia's investigation into events that occurred in the
Vukovar hospital and at Ovcara in November 1991. U.S. forensics expert
William Haglund said about 170 to 260 bodies were estimated to be in the
grave. The site was revealed by a former Vukovar hospital patient who
survived the massacre, and reportedly had not been disturbed since last
inspected in 1993. Three senior officers of the former Yugoslav national
army were indicted last November for war crimes for the Ovcara massacre,
but Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic has refused to allow their
extradition to the war-crimes tribunal in The Hague. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIAN ELECTION DEADLINE EXTENDED...The OSCE, which is supervising the
vote, said 5 September that absentee ballots from abroad can be sent in
until 14 September, when the elections will be held across Bosnia-
Herzegovina. The governing Muslim Party of Democrat Action (SDA) has
called for voting in Bosnia to be extended to 15 and 16 September as
well, Oslobodjenje reported on 6 September. The OSCE has reversed its
earlier decision and approved the candidacies of Zlatko Lagumdzija and
"several hundred" other people running on the slate of the opposition
anti-nationalist five-party coalition, the Joint List (ZL). -- Patrick
Moore

...AS CAMPAIGNING CONTINUES. The ZL has accused the SDA and its Croatian
counterpart, the Croatian Democratic Community, of having established a
de facto coalition, Oslobodjenje noted 6 September. The ZL also called
for the leading Serbian presidential candidate, Momcilo Krajisnik, to be
banned from the ballot because of his public statements that Bosnia does
not exist as a state. In the small part of suburban Sarajevo still under
Serbian control, several thousand people cheered at a rally in support
of indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic, news agencies reported 5
September. And in the Bosnian Serb capital of Pale, the leader of the
Party for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Haris Silajdzic, appeared on a talk
show on Bosnian Serb TV, the most important Muslim to be invited to do
so since the war began. -- Patrick Moore

HOLBROOKE ON BOSNIAN ELECTIONS. Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. mediator who
brokered the Bosnia peace accord, warned on 5 September that the same
political leaders who threw Bosnia into a civil war might win the
elections, international agencies reported. He singled out Bosnian Serb
acting President Biljana Plavsic, the head of the ruling Serbian
Democratic Party (SDS) Aleksa Buha, and Bosnian Serb parliamentary
speaker Momcilo Krajisnik as the greatest cause for concern that
"fascists and separatists might be elected future leaders in Bosnia,"
AFP quoted him as saying. Holbrooke called for another Dayton-type
conference after the elections to correct some of the mistakes made at
Dayton. He also said a reduced military presence should be maintained in
Bosnia after the NATO peace mission ends. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SERBIAN UPDATE. The ongoing hunger strike of the Zastava arms plant
workers in Kragujevac seems to be taking a dramatic turn, Nasa Borba
reported 6 September, with the protest taking an exacting toll on
participants. The newspaper also reported on the fallout from the
resolution by the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) to stay out of the
opposition coalition "Zajedno" (together), which is challenging the
Socialists in November elections. Some party members found the decision
highly objectionable, the newspaper noted. Finally, on 3 September
Tanjug reported Col. Cedomir Gilanovic's impressions of the rump
Yugoslav military inspection team's 26-28 August tour of Croatian army
facilities. Gilanovic said the Croatian officers were very professional,
and added that a team from Belgrade was to begin a three-day inspection
of facilities of the Muslim-Croat federal army on 4 September. -- Stan
Markotich

SLOVENIAN ELECTION DATE SET. Slovenian President Milan Kucan announced 5
September that general elections will take place 10 November, STA
reported. He made the announcement after meeting with representatives of
most of the parties represented in parliament. "Although a consensus
with all political parties could not be reached, most favored this date
and believed balloting should take place as soon as possible," Kucan
said. The opposition United List of Social Democrats had lobbied to hold
off the polling date until the Constitutional Court could rule on
whether a referendum on electoral reform should be held before the
elections, Reuters reported. The last national elections were held in
1992, and under the terms of the constitution would have had to take
place no later than 8 December 1996. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN ELECTORAL UPDATE. The campaign for the presidential and
parliamentary elections of 3 November was officially launched on 4
September. The next day, President Ion Iliescu became the first
candidate to register with the Central Electoral Bureau (BEC).
Meanwhile, no less than 51 contestations against Iliescu's candidacy
were registered with the BEC, the daily Libertatea reported. The
Association for the Defense of Human Rights-Helsinki Committee and the
League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADO) on 5 September officially
joined those claiming Iliescu's candidacy is unconstitutional because he
is running for a third term. The BEC must rule by 7 September. Its
decision can then be appealed to the Constitutional Court, which,
however, is known to be packed with pro-Iliescu supporters. LADO said it
might appeal against the court's ruling before the European Court for
Human Rights and before the OSCE commission overseeing electoral
processes. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES MEDIA LAW AGAIN. The parliament on 5
September overruled President Zhelyu Zhelev's veto of the electronic
media law, Reuters reported. The Socialist majority voted to adopt the
law without any changes. Zhelev had returned the law for further
discussion, saying parts of it violated the constitution by limiting
freedom of expression and speech. Klara Marinova, media specialist of
the Bulgarian Socialist Party and chair of the parliamentary media
commission, said Zhelev, by interfering in the parliament's work, "is
breaching the powers granted to him by the constitution." The opposition
Union of Democratic Forces announced it will turn to the Constitutional
Court to have the law declared unconstitutional. The ethnic-Turkish
Movement for Rights and Freedom criticized the law for not permitting
broadcasts in minority languages and said it conflicts with the European
Framework Convention for the Defense of National Minorities. -- Stefan
Krause

BULGARIAN ROUNDUP. Special anti-terrorist police found and defused two
makeshift bombs in Sofia's central railway station, Bulgarian and
Western media reported. Train traffic had to be stopped temporarily, and
the station building was evacuated. Two anonymous phone calls less than
one hour apart had warned of the bombs. It was unclear whether the calls
were linked with each other or not. In other news, 48 flight controllers
from the Sofia and Varna airports were dismissed on grounds of
participating in an illegal strike. Bulgaria's flight controllers went
on strike on 3 September, demanding higher wages, but the strike was
declared illegal by the Sofia Municipal Court. Prime Minister Zhan
Videnov and Transportation Minister Stamen Stamenov met to discuss the
situation, which might result in serious problems for the country's air
traffic. The Varna airport may be closed for lack of qualified
personnel. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN PEACEKEEPERS TO JOIN IFOR TROOPS IN ZADAR. The Albanian
parliament passed a law on 5 September allowing the Albanian army to
participate in peacekeeping missions abroad. A unit of 50 soldiers will
leave for Zadar, Croatia, on 9 September to serve with the German IFOR
contingent. State Secretary of Defense Leonard Demi said the new law
showed Albania was committed to the principles and objectives of NATO's
Partnership for Peace. -- Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIANS STORM NEWLY OPENED GREEK CONSULATE. Several hundred Albanians
seeking visas clashed with police outside the newly opened Greek
consulate in Gjirokastra on 4 September. Police used tear gas to
disperse the crowd, but about 100 Albanians stormed the building and
caused damage to the office equipment, international agencies reported.
Earlier, the Greek consul had promised he would ease visa procedures for
Albanians and issued 500 visas in the early morning before the unrest
started. Afterward he said, "We will never make such a mistake again."
The consul had made his promise following the visit of the Greek Foreign
Minister Theodoros Pangalos to Albania last week. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Janet Hofmann

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