Yugoslavia Says Serbs Victims of ‘Muslim fundamentalists’ With AM-Yugoslavia, Bjt,
Yugoslavia Says Serbs Victims of ‘Muslim fundamentalists’ With AM-Yugoslavia, Bjt, AM-Mostar-Scene-Bjt
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) _ Serb-dominated Yugoslavia charged Thursday that ″Muslim fundamentalists″ were persecuting Serbs in Bosnia, and Serbia accused Bosnia’s government of using the World Court to scuttle peace talks.
Yugoslavia is asking the U.N. court for emergency protection from Bosnian Muslim forces, even though Bosnian Serbs control 70 percent of Bosnian territory and the outgunned Muslims hold only 10 percent.
The surprise request came in response to Bosnia’s appeal Wednesday for emergency measures to halt what it calls Serb genocide.
The court, formally known as the International Court of Justice, has no enforcement powers, but its rulings can sway world opinion. It is considering countercharges of genocide by Bosnia and by Serbia, the dominant of two republics left in Yugoslavia.
Bosnia’s legal advisor told the court’s 17 justices Thursday that Serb aggressors were conspiring with international negotiators to eliminate the Muslim-led nation ″as a people and as a state.″
Bosnia wants the court to rule that the more than 100 signatories to the 1948 Convention Against Genocide are obligated to come to its aid.
International human rights groups have blamed all sides - Croats, Serbs and Muslims - for forced removal of populations and atrocities against civilians in Bosnia, but Serbs have been identified as the main culprits.
Bosnia wants the court to rule ″null and void″ any partition agreement negotiated in Geneva in which Muslims are forced to make deals with ″a loaded gun to our head.″
A U.N.-mediated proposal currently under consideration would give Serbs the lion’s share of Bosnia.
″We’ll be carved up by the great powers and eaten for breakfast unless the court acts,″ said Bosnia’s chief legal advisor, Francis Boyle, a University of Illinois professor.
Earlier Thursday, Israeli lawyer Shabtai Rosenne, Serbia’s chief legal advisor, warned that Bosnia was trying to get the court to ″embroil itself in the peace process.″
The court’s intrusion upon the negotiating forum ″would harm the delicate negotiations now in progress aimed at bringing the armed conflict to an end,″ Rosenne told the court.
Yugoslavia’s ambassador to the Netherlands told the court that Bosnian Serbs had been victimized by Muslims since the onset of World War I.
Djordje Lopicic said ″followers of Islam″ are mounting a terror campaign to expel Serbs from Muslim areas. He charged ‴Muslim fundamentalists″ with the rape of five young women May 27 in Konjic, 22 miles southwest of Sarajevo.
″The aim of the terror the Serbs are now exposed to is the same as during the previous wars,″ Lopicic said. ″It is to expel now and for all the Serbs from these regions.″
Bosnia’s Muslims have stressed the secular, European nature of their society. But Serbs frequently have described their struggle as a war against Muslim fundamentalism.
Up to 200,000 people are dead or missing in the conflict.