Skip to comments.U.S. Accused of Undermining Bosnians "Uncle Sam urinating on Bosnia's constitution"
Posted on 01/26/2002 10:42:12 AM PST by Pericles
Saturday January 26 1:07 PM ET
U.S. Accused of Undermining Bosnians
By AIDA CERKEZ-ROBINSON, Associated Press Writer
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) - The United States, by pressuring Bosnian officials to turn over six terrorism suspects, has damaged the very legal system it is trying to build in postwar Bosnia, relatives and rights activists complain.
Bosnia's highest court and the country's top human rights panel both ordered the release of the men, saying the government lacked evidence that they were plotting post-Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. facilities in Bosnia.
But when the rulings came down on Jan. 17, Nadja Dizdarevic, the wife of detainee Boudella Hadz, sensed something was wrong.
She and the other wives suspected that their husbands, who worked for Arab charity groups in Bosnia, were about to be handed over to U.S. authorities despite the court order. By nightfall, cellphones around Sarajevo were beeping with text messages:
``In the name of Allah the Merciful, brothers and sisters, come to the jail tonight and support our sisters. Let others know!''
Although 300 supporters responded and scuffled with police in a night-long standoff, they couldn't stop the handover.
That Bosnians are embittered is clear: Saturday's edition of the magazine Dani carried a caricature on its cover of Uncle Sam urinating on Bosnia's constitution and the European Human Rights convention.
``Horrible injury has been inflicted on the rule of law in Bosnia by the United States,'' said Mark Wheeler of the International Crisis Group, an independent organization that monitors the Balkans.
``The U.S. effectively claims that it has jurisdiction over everything, everybody, everywhere in the world and does not care what anybody says,'' he said. ``The United States has no jurisdiction over these men.''
U.S. authorities vehemently disagree. They say the six, who were taken to the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, included Bensayah Belkacem, a man suspected of serving as Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant in Europe.
Belkacem is accused of making several phone calls to one of bin Laden's aides - Abu Zubaydah, the operations chief of al-Qaida in Afghanistan. U.S. intelligence monitored one of the calls and alerted the Bosnian police, who said they found numerous blank passports of Western European countries in Belkacem's house.
U.S. Ambassador Clifford Bond said the men's October arrests and their handover were not the result of pressure ``but of cooperation'' between U.S. and Bosnian authorities.
``We deeply appreciate their efforts both to protect our safety and to promote security in your country,'' he told reporters.
The Bosnian government has also defended the men's extradition, insisting it had the right as a sovereign state to revoke their Bosnian citizenship and expel them as undesirables.
But Kresimir Zubak, a Bosnian minister for human rights and refugees, conceded: ``The Americans didn't tell us what to do, but they hinted that further cooperation between the U.S. and us depended on our decision.''
After millions of dollars and six years spent on nation-building efforts in Bosnia, critics are questioning why the United States chose to ignore the Bosnian Supreme Court and Chamber for Human Rights.
``This was a clash between the authorities and the law,'' said Fahrija Karkin, the lawyer for the six suspects. ``The bottom line is that the police refused to carry out the decision of the court.''
Belkacem's wife, Anela, who introduces herself sarcastically as ``the wife of the one they call the al-Qaida chief for Europe,'' offers official phone call logs she says prove her husband never called Afghanistan.
``They have no proof against him,'' she said.
Dizdarevic said her last glimpse of her husband was just before special police shoved him into a car and sped away. She said she and the other wives will file a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
``I will not stop until I put the ones responsible for this behind bars,'' Dizdarevic said. She accused the Bosnian government of ``bending over backwards to appease the West.''
Wheeler, of the International Crisis Group, noted that the Chamber for Human Rights - established by the 1995 Dayton peace accords that ended Bosnia's war - is made up of local and international judges, and its rulings cannot be appealed.
The United States ``has shown that it has no faith in Bosnian courts and has no respect for the Human Rights Chamber, which was largely a U.S. creation,'' Wheeler said.
The head of the U.N. human rights office in Sarajevo, Madeleine Rees, has called for an investigation.
``The United States have been very helpful so far in promoting the rule of law in Bosnia,'' she said. ``But the credibility of what they have achieved has been undermined. The international community is now at risk of being charged with hypocrisy.''
FILE--Nadja Dizdarevic, wife of detainee Boudella Hadz, is shown the night she saw her husband for the last time through the window of a police car in Sarajevo before he was rushed off and handed over to the Americans, Friday, Jan. 18, 2002. Dizdarevic claims her husband is innocent and will sue Bosnia in front of the European Court for Human Rights for violating the law by handing him over despite the supreme court ordering his release for lack of evidence. (AP Photo)
These terror fanatics are all vile wackjobs.
Any religion needing this kind of enticement, leaves a lot to be desired.
Now that this point is clear, any other questions?
Honduras, of course, during the US-sponsored attack on Nicaragua during the 1980's was another State whose sovereignty suffered, as it donned its vassal robe. Not only allowing major US bases, Honduras allowed the murderous US-proxy force, the Contras, to take safe haven in their country, be supplied and armed, before setting off to attack primarly "soft targets" in sovereign Nicaragua.
The United States has been very helpful so far in promoting the rule of law in Bosnia... It is the so far that is troubling, revealing the doubt that is entering more and more people's minds about the credibility of the United States, and its disdain for international law.