Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sanctions Suspended As Serbs Try to Flee

SARAJEVO -- Serbs trying to flee a Sarajevo suburb about to come under Moslem-Croat control Tuesday accused their leaders of not sending promised trucks as sanctions were suspended against the Bosnian Serb republic.


Shivering in bitter cold, Serb residents of Ilijas -- due to pass into federation hands on Thursday under Bosnia's Dayton peace accord -- said they had waited since dawn for civilian and military trucks promised by Serb authorities.


"They lied to us. Where are the trucks?" wailed one woman.


"They kept promising there would be enough trucks. They kept promising. But nothing happened," added another.


As they waited, it was announced that UN sanctions were being suspended against the refugees' intended destination of Republika Srpska, the Serb-run half of Bosnia established at Dayton.


The suspension of economic sanctions against the Bosnian Serbs, the last in place against the region, was promised at high-level talks in Rome earlier this month if the NATO-led peace implementation force reported Bosnian Serb compliance with troop withdrawal terms of the peace treaty.


The suspension was expected to have little immediate impact but would clearly boost morale among Bosnian Serbs, whose prime minister, Rajko Kasagic, was holding economic cooperation talks with his counterpart from the Moslem-Croat federation and international mediator Carl Bildt in the Bosnian Serb town of Banja Luka on Tuesday.


The United Nations charged Monday that Bosnian Serbs have used military vehicles to loot public property in Ilijas, including removing the town's telephone switchboard.


Tens of thousands of Serbs have fled the five suburbs rather than submit to Moslem-Croat rule or risk reprisals for the 43-month Serb siege of Sarajevo.


In the Netherlands, the UN war crimes tribunal for former Yugoslavia said it would hear an application for the release of Serb General Djordje Djukic, one of two Bosnian Serb offices now jailed in The Hague, on Wednesday.


The tribunal has said it would decide whether to indict or release Djukic and Colonel Aleksa Krsmanovik within weeks. It is holding them under a rule which allows provisional arrest of suspects in urgent cases.


On Tuesday, the tribunal also began hearings into cluster bomb attacks on Croatia's capital Zagreb last year for which Krajina Serb leader Milan Martic stands accused of war crimes.