Letter: Injustice of proposals for Bosnia

Share
Related Topics
Sir: It may be that the Bosnian government and its supporters feel compelled by their desperate condition to agree to some variant of the Geneva proposals for ethnic partition of their country. Even if that is so, we wish to urge the governments of Europe and the US - and the United Nations as a whole - both to refuse to endorse the settlement and to ensure that the Bosnian government is not bullied by the international mediators into accepting it. The following points need to be emphasised.

First, the proposed settlement is in direct contradiction, despite the claims to the contrary in its opening lines, with numerous resolutions of the Security Council and the London Conference. The only logic underlying its division of the country is the acceptance of aggression. It sanctions ethnic cleansing and effectively separates Bosnia-Herzegovina into three segregated republics.

Second, the territorial division is so unfair as to be impossible to implement. Since at least 18 per cent of the population are non-Muslims supporting the central government, many of them in mixed marriages, the proportion of Bosnians who would wish to live in the country's central core would be well over 60 per cent. Yet they would be confined to under 30 per cent of the country's territory. The congestion of central Bosnia due to the influx of refugees will be economically unmanageable, while much of the 50 per cent left under the control of Serbian nationalists will have barely one quarter of its pre-war population.

Third, the constitutional provisions are bizarre. They leave the country with a totally unworkable and essentially undemocratic government, in which a minority of the population will control two-thirds of seats in the assembly.

Fourth, the clause guaranteeing the restitution of property to refugees is worthless. For were it to be implemented it would at once produce a non-Serb majority in many areas surrendered to Serbian-nationalist control. The Croatian inhabitants of Vukovar have never been permitted to return to their homes, despite similar UN undertakings. Non-Serbs will not be allowed home here either, unless the UN is prepared to use force.

Fifth, the Croatian nationalist statelet of Herceg-Bosna is an absurdity, with hardly half a million inhabitants and a claimed capital (Mostar) that, until ethnic cleansing began, had more Muslim than Croatian inhabitants. It makes no sense even for Bosnian Croats, and should be seen only as a step on the road to annexation by Croatia. Thus, if the international community were to sanction the proposed division, it would be sanctioning an arrangement destined to lead to the formal break-up of Bosnia in direct contradiction to numerous international undertakings.

The unacceptable character of the settlement serves only to demonstrate once again that for the international community there can be no honourable alternative to insisting upon a single, united Bosnia-

Herzegovina, with a genuinely democratic constitution and strong safeguards for minorities. Instead of accepting a greatly enlarged military involvement to enforce an unjust and unworkable settlement, it must use force to make a just one possible. This still remains a feasible objective and one that might well require a smaller military involvement. The determined use of air power to protect an enlarged number of safe havens, combined with a raising of the arms embargo upon a Bosnian army taken under UN command, remain, we are convinced, by far the best way to hold together justice, political legitimacy and military practicality.

Yours sincerely,

DAVID ALTON MP; LORD AVEBURY; PROFESSOR MICHAEL DUMMETT; SIR ANTHONY DUFF; PROFESSOR ADRIAN HASTINGS; SIR REGINALD HIBBERT; QUINTIN HOARE; LORD HYLTON; CALUM McDONALD MP; PROFESSOR NIGEL OSBORNE;

BILL TRIBE

Alliance to Defend Bosnia-Herzegovina

London, W11

30 August

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Syria's Kurds have little choice but to flee amid the desolution, ruins and danger they face

Patrick Cockburn
A bartender serves two Mojito cocktails  

For the twenty-somethings of today, growing up is hard to do

Simon Kelner
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones