Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Countryaah, a Sarajevo court in March
sentenced Serbian ex-commander Veselin Vlahović to 45 years
in prison, the longest sentence for war crimes so far
distributed in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Vlahović, known as
"the monster from Grbavica", was felled for eg. over 30
murders of Bosniaks and Croats during the war in the 1990s.
In March, the UN War Criminal Tribunal in The Hague
sentenced former Bosnian Serb interior minister Mićo
Stanišić and an employee to 22 years in prison for war
crimes. In May, Bosnian croat Jadranko Prlić was sentenced
to 25 years in prison for ethnic cleansing and other war
crimes. Prlić was Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed
Croatian Republic of Herceg-Bosna during the war and Foreign
Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1996-2001. Five
other Bosnian Croats were sentenced to 10 to 20 years in
prison at the same time.
In the country's most widespread corruption crisis since
independence in 1992, the president of the Bosnian-Croat
Federation, Živko Budimir, was arrested in April, along with
four others, suspected of receiving bribes for arranging
pardons on convicted persons. They were detained for a month
before the Constitutional Court changed the verdict and they
were released on parole. Budimir continued as president of
the federation, one of Bosnia and Herzegovina's two
Extensive protests took place during the year against
politicians not being able to agree on a new social security
law. Since the previous law expired in February, it had
become impossible to obtain new passports or ID documents
for newborns. The reason for the disagreement was that
Serbian members wanted the numbers to reflect the country's
division into two parts, something Bosniaks and Croats
opposed. Only in November was a new law approved that made
it possible to issue new social security numbers.
The first census in independent Bosnia and Herzegovina
was carried out for a few weeks in the autumn. The census,
which included a non-compulsory issue of ethnicity, was a
requirement of the EU for talks on a future membership.
In October, the EU decided to withhold € 47 million in
aid when politicians, despite riots and a judgment of the
European Court of Justice, failed to agree on a change in
electoral laws to eliminate discrimination against minority
groups. The Constitution's writings on three "constituent
people groups" - Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats - meant that
other ethnic groups were excluded from political office.
In the fall, the excavation of the perhaps largest mass
grave found since the 1990s began, in the village of
Tomasica in the northwest. Remnants of around 1,000 Bosniaks
and Croats were believed to be in the grave.