CRISISWEB: The International Crisis Group on-line system
CrisisWeb Projects around the world
home ICG Projects  
ICG Bosnia Project

P R E S S   R E L E A S E

For immediate release : 15 September, 1997

Deals compromise municipal elections in Bosnia; require explanation

SARAJEVO: The International Crisis Group - a private, multinational body monitoring the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement - is calling into question the legitimacy and credibility of this weekends municipal elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In a statement released today, one day after the elections, ICG warns that: "Deals struck in smoke-filled rooms to save this weekend's poll may have compromised the integrity of Bosnia's first post-war municipal elections.

"ICG is therefore demanding that the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) - the body responsible for supervising the elections - publish full details of all concessions made to the ruling nationalist parties to secure their participation in the elections."

In particular, ICG is concerned by:

  • the OSCE's failure to dispel confusion over the total number of people entitled to vote in Brcko - following earlier evidence of fraudulent registration applications and the last-minute discovery of an "error" in OSCE calculations of the size of the local electorate;

  • the OSCE's decision, on the eve of the elections, to permit disputed ballots cast in Brcko to be counted locally rather than in Sarajevo as previously agreed;

  • the OSCE's decision, on the first day of voting, to cave in to pressure from the hard-line SDS leadership in Pale to reinstate two leading SDS candidates previously disqualified for fraud;

  • the flagrant promotion of indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic in SDS election propaganda and posters - a clear violation of election rules laid down by the OSCE; and

  • evidence that, in areas where the results were most closely contested, local election commissions deliberately slowed down polling in a bid to discourage exiled voters from voting.

"Unless the OSCE can provide a full and transparent explanation, in response to each of these concerns, elections must be considered flawed," the ICG statement says.

See full statement...

For further information contact ICG Sarajevo on +38-7-71-447-845, ICG Brussels on +322-502-9038 or send e-mail here

The International Crisis Group (ICG) is a private, multinational crisis prevention organisation. Founded in London in July 1995, ICG has established major field assessment programs in Bosnia, Albania, Macedonia, Serbia and Sierra Leone. New programs are planned for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Cambodia. ICG recently relocated its international headquarters from London to Brussels. A Washington bureau, responsible for advocacy in North America, will open on 1 October 1997.

[Bosnia Menu] [ICG Home][Press Office]