Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand. - Thomas Carlyle
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 148, Part II, 2 August 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 148, Part II, 2 August 1999

A daily report of developments in Eastern and
Southeastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus and Central
Asia prepared by the staff of Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty.

This is Part II, a compilation of news concerning
Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe.  Part I
covers Russia, Transcaucasia and Central Asia and is
distributed simultaneously as a second document.  Back
issues of RFE/RL NewsLine and the OMRI Daily Digest are
online at RFE/RL's Web site:
http://www.rferl.org/newsline

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Headlines, Part II

* HUNGARIAN PREMIER ON VOJVODINA

* U.S. FORCES PROTECT FLEEING SERBS

* SFOR DETAINS BOSNIAN SERB WAR CRIMES SUSPECT

End Note: IMPLICATIONS OF A ROMANIAN COURT DECISION
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUSIAN POPULAR FRONT HOLDS CONGRESS... As widely
expected, the congress of the Belarusian Popular Front
(BNF) that took place in Minsk on 31 July-1 August
turned into a battleground over the form of leadership
to be pursued by the main opposition movement. One group
supported BNF leader Zyanon Paznyak, who obtained
political asylum in the U.S. in 1996 and has ruled the
BNF from abroad since then. Another group, led by
Paznyak's deputy, Vintsuk Vyachorka, argued that
Paznyak's leadership is too authoritarian and demanded
that more powers be given to members inside Belarus.
Paznyak, who sent a message to the congress from Poland,
called on the BNF to side only with those Belarusian
opposition organizations that "in no way participate in
Russian politics." JM

...FAILS TO ELECT LEADER. The congress proposed two
candidates to lead the BNF, Paznyak and Vyachorka, but
neither obtained the required majority of votes to
become BNF chairman. On 1 August, 152 delegates voted
for Vyachorka and 160 against him. Paznyak was supported
by 152 votes and opposed by an equal number of
delegates. The BNF is technically left leaderless, with
Paznyak as acting chairman until the BNF reconvenes in
the fall to tackle the issue of leadership once again.
The congress did, however, adopt a declaration calling
for the protection of Belarus's sovereignty and
condemning Russian-Belarusian integration. JM

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT FIRES FIRST DEPUTY PREMIER. Leonid
Kuchma has sacked First Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr
Kuratchenko, Kuchma's spokesman said on 31 July. He
provided no reason for the dismissal, however. Observers
say the dismissal can be linked to Kuratchenko's remarks
last week that Ukraine should revive state economic
planning and change its course of reform (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 29 July 1999). The government's press service
issued a statement on 29 July confirming the country's
commitment to market reforms. JM

UKRAINE, U.S. AGREE ON KOSOVA MISSION, EXTENSION OF
WEAPONS DEAL. U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen told
President Kuchma on 31 July that the U.S. and other NATO
members will provide one-time aid to send 800 Ukrainian
peacekeepers to Kosova. Kuchma's spokesman quoted Cohen
as saying that NATO has already taken a decision in
principle on the issue, while financial details will be
worked out in the near future. Moreover, Ukraine and the
U.S. agreed to a six-year extension--until 2006--of the
U.S.-sponsored program to destroy ICBMs and long-range
bombers that were left in Ukraine after the breakup of
the USSR. JM

NINE CANDIDATES TO COMPETE FOR UKRAINIAN PRESIDENCY. The
Central Electoral Commission on 31 August registered
Cherkasy Mayor Volodymyr Oliynyk as the last candidate
in the 31 October presidential elections, bringing the
total number of presidential hopefuls to nine (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 30 July 1999). Several other
aspirants failed to qualify because they could not
produce the required 1 million signatures in their
support, Interfax reported. JM

BALTIC PRESIDENTS TAKE PART IN BALKAN STABILITY
SUMMIT... Lennart Meri (Estonia), Vaira Vike-Freiberga
(Latvia), and Valdas Adamkus, taking part in the 29-30
July Sarajevo summit on Balkan reconstruction, pledged
their countries' assistance in that effort. Meri offered
Estonia's "proven approach" in achieving stability and
economic progress, adding that "human rights will be
respected only when people believe they have a vested
interest in economic well-being," BNS reported. Vike-
Freiberga commented that "we need not remain slaves to
our history," while Adamkus also offered to share
Vilnius's "experience of [its] relationship with
neighboring countries" and show that problems can be
solved "peacefully and without using bullets and tanks,"
ELTA reported. MH

ESTONIAN DEPORTER SENTENCED. A Parnu court sentenced
Mikhail Neverovski to four years in prison following his
conviction for involvement in the 1949 deportations. The
court ruled that in his capacity as a former KGB agent,
the 79-year-old Neverovski was responsible for the
deportations of nearly 300 individuals to Siberia (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 20 July 1999). This is the first
deportation case to result in a prison sentence, as
others led to suspended sentences. Neverovski can appeal
the verdict. MH

POLISH TRADE UNIONS TO RESUME SOCIAL DIALOGUE? The
National Trade Union Accord (OPZZ), a major coalition of
left-wing trade unions, has confirmed it wants to
discuss with Solidarity the principles and the future of
social dialogue in Poland. OPZZ leader Jozef Wiaderny on
30 July said that he has sent a letter to Solidarity
leader Marian Krzaklewski inviting him to take part in
such talks. Wiaderny noted that since Jerzy Buzek took
over as the prime minister in 1997, there has been no
social dialogue in Poland. According to PAP, Krzaklewski
does not rule out the possibility of meeting Wiaderny,
but he said he would like the dialogue to take place
within the so-called tripartite commission, formed by
the government, employers, and trade unions. JM

SWITZERLAND SENDS BACK SLOVAK ROMA... A Swiss police
spokesman on 31 July said 85 Slovak Roma were sent back
to Slovakia last week. The spokesman said the Roma
arrived at Zurich airport on three flights and had no
money on them. In line with the Swiss law, all persons
seeking to enter the country must show they have
adequate financial resources for the duration of their
stay, the spokesman said. He added that none of the Roma
asked for political asylum, Reuters reported. A
spokeswoman for the Czech national carrier Ceske
Aerolinie on 30 July warned Slovakia's Romany minority
not to travel to Switzerland in search of political
asylum there. The spokeswoman said that those doing so
would lose the money they paid for the air tickets and
face "other difficulties," CTK reported. MS

...WHILE SLOVAK OFFICIAL CALLS FOR EUROPEAN WIDE ASYLUM
LEGISLATION. Foreign Ministry State Secretary Jan Figel
told Markiza television on 1 August that Europe must
harmonize its legislation to cope with the problem of
Romany emigration. Figel said that "obsolete" and "soft"
legislation in countries such as Finland and Norway,
where asylum applicants receive sums larger than the
average Slovak salaries and applications can take as
long as one year to be processed, must be changed. Also
on 1 August, the daily "Pravda" said that if present
demographic trends continue, 1 million Slovak Roma will
live in Slovakia in 10 years and will make up the
majority of the population by 2060. MS

HUNGARIAN PREMIER ON VOJVODINA. Viktor Orban, in a 30
July interview with Duna Television, said that although
the issue of Vojvodina's autonomy was not included in
the Balkan Stability Pact signed in Sarajevo the same
day, the participants had "at least become familiar"
with the province's demands. He added that the pact
"does not deal substantively with the most important
questions." Earlier, he told delegates to the summit
that Hungary will not accept any agreement on the future
of Yugoslavia that fails to provide legal and
institutional protection for minorities. But after the
summit he said that he considers it a major success of
Hungarian diplomacy that EU special coordinator Bodo
Hombach announced that an international conference will
be held jointly with Hungary. The conference is to serve
as a forum of opposition-led local governments in
Serbia. MS/MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

U.S. FORCES PROTECT FLEEING SERBS. KFOR ground troops
and helicopters prevented ethnic Albanians from
attacking a convoy of 450 Serbs in 150 automobiles and
tractors on 1 August. The Serbs had requested protection
as they fled north from Zitinje, in southeastern Kosova.
They told reporters that they no longer feel safe in
their ethnically mixed village. Local ethnic Albanians
said that some of the Serbs had earlier looted Kosovar
homes. The Albanians added that they intend to take back
their property if they see any Serb trying to leave with
it, Reuters reported. PM

BOMB ATTACK ON SERBIAN CHURCH. Unknown persons set off a
bomb that damaged the unfinished Prishtina Serbian
Orthodox Cathedral on 1 August. No one was injured. The
UN's Bernard Kouchner said that "there are people who
want to destroy, symbolically, Orthodox churches. I find
this behavior absolutely unacceptable." Serbian Orthodox
Father Sava, who favors reconciliation between Serbs and
ethnic Albanians, added that "Albanian extremists are
organizing a systematic campaign of destruction of
Orthodox churches, with the intention to blot out all
traces of Serbian existence" in the province. Sava added
that "we very much wonder why [the attack] could not
have been prevented," AP reported. Work on the cathedral
began in 1996. PM

BLAIR URGES END TO VIOLENCE. British Prime Minister Tony
Blair visited Prishtina on 31 July and urged local
Albanians that "justice must apply to all people
whatever their race, whatever their religion, whatever
their class, whatever their background," AP reported.
Blair met separately with both the Kosova Liberation
Army's (UCK) Hashim Thaci and his main rival, Ibrahim
Rugova. He also met with local Serbian politicians and
leaders of the Serbian Orthodox Church, who have
expressed increasing concern about the revenge attacks
against Serbs. Father Sava told Blair that Albanian
looters recently destroyed or damaged 35 medieval
Serbian Orthodox churches. He stressed that these
buildings "survived 500 years of Turkish occupation but
not the 40-something days of peace with the
international peacekeepers." FS

KOSOVA'S THACI SLAMS RUSSIANS... Thaci sharply
criticized Russian KFOR soldiers after they briefly
detained UCK General Agim Ceku on 31 July near Kijeva.
Ceku heads the guerrillas' general staff. Thaci said
that "as [prime minister of the UCK-backed] provisional
government of Kosova, we condemn this act as
premeditated, with a political aim.... It shows our
doubts about Russian troops' participation within KFOR
were correct," Reuters reported. Thaci warned that "we
will defend our honor" if such incidents occur again. A
KFOR spokesman in Prishtina said, however, that the
soldiers detained Ceku to check his identification and
to verify whether he had KFOR's permission to wear a UCK
uniform. Ceku was traveling with four armed bodyguards
and was not carrying the card authorizing him to do so.
FS

...WHILE RUSSIA CALLS THACI REMARKS 'UNACCEPTABLE.' The
Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on 1 August
in Moscow calling Thaci's complaints "unacceptable and
impermissible." The statement says that "the impunity of
the UCK, carrying out illegal violent acts against local
Serbs, has reached the point where its leaders are
already making public threats against the international
peacekeepers.... Any pretence on the part of the UCK
that it is somehow in charge of the situation in Kosova
and controls territory in the province directly
contradicts UN Security Council resolution 1244...and
other documents describing the status and tasks of
international peacekeepers." FS

SARAJEVO SUMMIT UNDERSCORES POLICY DIFFERENCES. U.S.
President Bill Clinton, German Chancellor Gerhard
Schroeder, and several other Western leaders joined many
of their Balkan colleagues in signing a declaration on
Balkan regional development in Sarajevo on 30 July (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 30 July 1999). EU countries issued a
separate statement blaming Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic for Serbia's isolation. Russia had refused to
approve any explicit reference to Milosevic in the
declaration (see Part 1). Elsewhere, unnamed U.S.
officials called on the EU to follow Washington's lead
and "lift trade controls on Balkan products." The
officials stressed that EU countries "must bear the
lion's share of the burden" in the reconstruction and
development of the Balkans. After the conference, EU aid
coordinator Bodo Hombach denied charges by unnamed
critics that the summit was only a "media spectacle,"
the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" reported on 2
August. Official Belgrade media slammed the gathering as
"anti-Serbian." PM

SERBIA'S AVRAMOVIC: MILOSEVIC MUST GO SOON. Dragoslav
Avramovic told AP in Belgrade on 1 August that Milosevic
must resign by late September if Serbia is to receive
sufficient international aid in time for the winter. He
argued that any attempt at reform with Milosevic still
in power would be "like building a house on a
landslide." Avramovic is a senior banker whom many
observers believe will head the first post-Milosevic
government, PM

SERBIAN POLICE IN SCUFFLE WITH OPPOSITION. In Paracin on
1 August, an unspecified number of police beat several
persons. Those protesters had sought to prevent the
police from interfering with efforts by opposition
activists to collect signatures on a petition calling
for Milosevic to resign. Following the incident,
officials of the opposition Democratic Party said they
will press legal charges against the local chief of
police and several of the police involved in the
scuffle, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. In
Leskovac and Valjevo, several hundred demonstrators
demanded Milosevic's resignation. In Nis, a hunger
strike staged by 14 army reservists for back wages
entered its seventh day. PM

SFOR DETAINS BOSNIAN SERB WAR CRIMES SUSPECT. NATO
Secretary-General Javier Solana said in Brussels that
NATO peacekeepers in Bosnia detained indicted war
criminal Radomir Kovac on 2 August. Solana added that
NATO officials will soon send Kovac to the Hague-based
war crimes tribunal. Kovac is a former police official
and paramilitary leader whom the court indicted in
connection with the alleged systematic rape of Muslim
women in Foca during the 1992-1995 war. PM

CROATIA'S TUDJMAN BLASTS HAGUE TRIBUNAL. Speaking in
Sarajevo on 30 July, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman
denied recent charges by a Hague tribunal prosecutor
that he is responsible for Bosnian war crimes (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 1 August 1999). "That accusation...is
as much surprising as it is completely unfounded.
Croatia, and I personally, have done everything to
defend Bosnia," AP reported. Tudjman also charged that
"those dilettantes in The Hague" failed to take note
specific actions he took on Bosnia's behalf. Tudjman
recalled that he urged local Croats to vote in Bosnia's
1992 referendum on independence from the former
Yugoslavia and that Croatia was the first country to
recognize independent Bosnia. He stressed that "Croatia
and Bosnia are so linked that they cannot exist one
without another." Earlier that day, he and Muslim leader
Alija Izetbegovic signed an agreement defining the
border between the two states. PM

WESTENDORP IMPOSES BOSNIAN PUBLIC BROADCASTING
LEGISLATION. In one of his last official acts as the
international community's chief representative in
Bosnia, Carlos Westendorp decreed measures establishing
a single public broadcasting service for the entire
country, Reuters reported from Sarajevo on 31 July. The
service will provide newscasts to television stations
both in the mainly Muslim and Croatian federation and in
the Republika Srpska. The new service will represent
Bosnia in the European Broadcasting Union and
consequently have the rights in Bosnia to broadcast
international sporting events. Westendorp's office said
in a statement that he decreed the legislation
"following the failure of the relevant local
authorities" to agree on a number of unspecified issues
"vital to the continued implementation" of the 1995
Dayton peace agreement. Austria's Wolfgang Petritsch
will shortly take up his post as Westendorp's successor,
the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" reported on 2
August in an interview with him. PM

HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN ROMANIA. Janos Martonyi on
31 July and 1 August toured settlements in Transylvania
inhabited by ethnic Hungarians and met with leaders of
the Hungarian ethnic minority. On 30 July, he told
journalists that Hungary does not promote border
revision and that such fears on the Romanian side are
due to "incorrect information" or are "fueled by circles
with a vested interest." Martonyi said he and his
Romanian counterpart, Andrei Plesu, agreed that a
Hungarian consulate will be opened in Miercurea Ciuc in
2000. He said there are still "problems" in bilateral
relations stemming from the discrepancy between
declarations and their implementation. In this context,
he pointed to the restitution of Church property and the
setting up of a Hungarian-language state university.
Martonyi also said he and Plesu agreed that the planned
Budapest-Bucharest highway must pass through
Transylvania and "serve the interests" of its
population. MS

ROMANIAN RULING PARTY REACHES COMPROMISE ON LEADERSHIP.
Prime Minister Radu Vasile and National Peasant Party
Christian Democratic (PNTCD) chairman Ion Diaconescu
agreed on 31 July to postpone the election of a new
party leadership until an extraordinary party congress
scheduled for 2001. According to the party's statutes,
the new leadership is to be elected in January 2000.
Vasile provoked an uproar within the party when he said
he will not lead the PNTCD during the parliamentary
elections scheduled for 2000 unless he is appointed
party chairman. The two PNTCD leaders also agreed that
the party will decide on coalition partners only after
the parliamentary elections. Vasile said in an interview
with Reuters on 29 July that he may opt for a coalition
partnership with "leftist parties." The declaration was
criticized by other PNTCD leaders and welcomed by Party
of Social Democracy in Romania chairman Ion Iliescu. MS

MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES NEW VERSION OF
PRIVATIZATION BILL. The parliament on 30 July approved a
new version of the bill on the privatization of the
Moldtelcom company. An absolute majority of all deputies
voted in favor of the bill, after the Constitutional
Court declared invalid a bill approved earlier. The new
version of the bill drops the provision granting the
winner of Moldtelcom's privatization tender the right to
operate mobile telephones as well. Also on 31 July,
parliamentary chairman Dumitru Diacov, changing his
previous position on the privatization of the Tirex-
Petrol company, sent the bill on that company's
privatization to President Petru Lucinschi for
promulgation. The legislation provides for a Romanian
consortium to take a 51 percent stake in Tirex-Petrol in
exchange for paying part of Moldova's electricity
delivery debt to Romania (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 and
29 July 1999). MS

BULGARIAN DEPUTY STRIPPED OF PARLIAMENTARY IMMUNITY. The
parliament on 31 July voted 190 to seven with 12
abstentions to strip Euroleft deputy Tsvetelin Kanchev
of his parliamentary immunity (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28
July 1999). The legislature went on to approve by 134 to
81 with six abstentions that Kanchev be detained
immediately. Prosecutor- General Nikola Filchev, in a
letter to the parliament, said Kalchev is suspected of
"serious crimes," including racketeering and the "threat
of battery and murder," an RFE/RL correspondent in Sofia
reported. MS

END NOTE

IMPLICATIONS OF A ROMANIAN COURT DECISION

by Michael Shafir

	The Supreme Court's recent decision to sentence
Generals Victor Athanasie Stanculescu and Mihai Chitac
to 15 years in prison and the responses to that decision
raise several questions. The most obvious is why the
judiciary waited nearly a decade to put the two generals
on trial. After all, it was an "open secret" that they
had been executing the orders of dictator Nicolae
Ceausescu when they led the attempt to quash the
December 1989 popular revolt in Timisoara, which
triggered the toppling of the communist regime.
	The answer is that the Romanian judicial system was
not allowed to pursue the perpetrators of the crimes
committed during the popular revolution. The Party of
Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR), the Greater Romania
Party and the Party of Romanian National Unity--the
three opposition parties in the parliament are right
when they claim that the court's decision is a
"political one." But it is political only in the sense
that it reverses their earlier objection to let justice
be done. As long as they had been in power, the
investigation into the December 1989 events was never
completed for alleged "lack of evidence." Romanian
democracy, whose "birth certificate" was marred by the
mock trial of Ceausescu and his wife, continued in a
judicially ambiguous limbo. Even those members of the
Ceausescu leadership sentenced to prison terms
immediately after the overthrow of the former regime
were freed from jail on health grounds, and most
remained at liberty till after the 1996 elections.
	One should avoid concluding from this "evidence"
that in order to legitimize their rule, Romania's post-
1989 leaders had staged the resistance to the
revolution. The jury is still out on that question. But
it is beyond doubt that Stanculescu (who first became
minister of industry and later defense minister) and
Chitac were associated with the post-revolutionary
regime of Ion Iliescu and Petre Roman. This common past
must make Iliescu and Roman (despite their having since
parted political ways) to wonder whether they will not
be the ultimate targets of an all-out judicial campaign.
And even if the two former allies were to be pronounced
innocent by a court of justice, they would be unlikely
to survive the ordeal politically.
	This may explain PDSR deputy chairman Adrian
Nastase's denunciation of the sentence as attesting to a
"political war" in which the two generals are "just the
first two victims" and Iliescu and Roman the ultimate
ones. By the same token, Defense Minister Victor Babiuc
commented initially that the verdict was "not just a
legal mistake" and a "blunder with strong political
bias" but was aimed at "discrediting the army as a
whole." It would be a mistake, however, to suggest that
in responding this way, Babiuc was putting party
interests (as one Roman's deputies in the Democratic
Party) above professional ones (he is a lawyer by
training). Babiuc's main objection was to the
"institutional implications" of the sentence.
	First, as both Babiuc and Chief of Staff General
Constantin Degeratu pointed out, the verdict questions
the very principle on which armies are supposed to
function--namely, carrying out orders. Indeed, the
court, rejecting the two generals' plea that they had
obeyed orders, ruled that "military discipline excludes
blind subordination and does not annul responsibility
for a crime." This issue has haunted military and
military-like structures ever since the Nuremberg trials
and cuts across party lines.
	For example, Interior Minister Constantin Dudu
Ionescu, taking a stand very different from that of
other National Peasant Party Christian Democratic
leaders, revived a proposal he had first made in 1998.
It was the "responsibility of the political class," he
said at the time, to find a way out of the haunting
legacy of December 1989 by agreeing to amnesty those
involved in the events of that time. And Ionescu, who
was briefly defense minister when the Democrats walked
out of the coalition in February 1998, had become even
more convinced of his "solution" when Interior Ministry
forces sent to stop the miners' march on Bucharest in
January this year reportedly hesitated about obeying
their superiors lest they be accused by a PDSR successor
government of having implemented "criminal orders."
	Second, the court ruled that the Ministry of
Defense must pay compensation to relatives of those
killed or wounded in 1989. Babiuc said the ministry will
appeal the ruling, which, in his opinion, affects the
Romanian army's honor, transforming it into a collective
accomplice to a crime. Some observers even argued that
the army's budget should not be slashed as a result of
the compensation ruling, particularly at a time when the
army is undergoing reform under considerable budgetary
restraints.
	None of these arguments, of course, carries any
real weight. Stanculescu and Chitac were brought to
justice for individual, not collective, deeds. Carrying
out the orders of a democratically elected government is
not, and cannot be considered tantamount to implementing
the orders of a dictator and thus does not undermine
hierarchical principles. Moreover, it is not the army
but the "body politic" that assumes responsibility by
compensating the victims of 1989, and it is certainly
not those victims who have to carry the mundane burden
of budgetary constraints. Democratic justice, after all,
is also guided by moral responsibilities. Whether those
responsibilities can triumph in the fast-approaching
election year in a country where the army rates in
opinion polls as one of the two state institutions
enjoying almost unanimous confidence is a matter that
the pending appeal of the sentence will help clarify.

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