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: Trainee Health & Safety Consultant

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic and exciting opport...

Recruitment Genius: Project and Quality Manager

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Executive - OTE £20,625

£14625 - £20625 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role is for an enthusiasti...

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Walt Palmer (left), from Minnesota, who killed Cecil, the Zimbabwean lion  

Walter Palmer killed Cecil the Lion with a bow to show off – and now he's discovering what it's like to be hunted

Louis Theroux
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, arrives with his son Prince George at the Lindo Wing to visit his wife and newborn daughter at St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington, west London, Britain, 02 May 2015  

Prince George's £18,000 birthday gift speaks volumes about Britain's widening wealth inequality

Olivia Acland
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'