Viewing cable 08SARAJEVO1202
Title: BOSNIA - OHR/EU POISED TO LIFT TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
08SARAJEVO12022008-07-25 15:44:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Sarajevo
VZCZCXRO6376
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHVJ #1202/01 2071544
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 251544Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8694
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JCS WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 SARAJEVO 001202 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/SCE(HOH/FOOKS/STINCHCOMB) AND 
S/WCI(WILLIAMSON/VIBUL) 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/01/2015 
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL KAWC KCRM CVIS BK
SUBJECT: BOSNIA - OHR/EU POISED TO LIFT TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS 
AND VISA BANS ON KARADZIC FAMILY 
 
REF: SARAJEVO 1180 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Charles English.  Reason 1.4(b) and (d). 
 
¶1. (U) This is an action request.  See paragraph seven below. 
 
¶2. (C) SUMMARY: Republika Srpska Prime Minister Milorad Dodik 
continued to make public statements about the July 21 arrest 
of Radovan Karadzic.  Among other things, Dodik criticized 
attacks on the RS by leading Bosniak politicians in the wake 
of the arrest and called upon them and others to apologize to 
Serbs for crimes committed against them in the 1992-1995 war. 
 At the same time, Dodik argued Karadzic's arrest in Serbia 
had "proven" that the RS, its institutions, and individuals 
residing in the RS had not been responsible for harboring 
him.  With this in mind, Dodik labeled as "illegal" previous 
actions by OHR to "punish" Bosnian Serbs for supporting 
PIFWCs (e.g., removals, travel bans).  Dodik called on the 
HighRep to return to the Karadzic family their travel 
documents and for the EU to respect "their right" to travel 
and see their father.  Though Lajcak had promised to consult 
with international partners before making a decision to 
return the Karadzic family documents, he announced at the 
July 24 Steering Board Ambassadors (SBA) meeting that he 
would do so as soon as Karadzic was in The Hague.  We also 
learned that the EU plans to remove the Karadzic family from 
its visa ban list.  We are concerned about both decisions, 
particularly EU plans to lift the visa ban.  It is not clear 
to us that the potential implications of these decisions have 
been considered.  Specifically their potential impact on the 
broader edifice constructed by OHR, the EU, and the U.S. to 
put pressure on the PIFWCs.  We recommend Washington weight 
in with Brussels and EU Member States and urge that they slow 
down and consult before taking a decision.  END SUMMARY 
 
Dodik Calls for "Apology" to Serbs and Republika Srpska 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
¶3. (SBU) Dodik and other senior RS officials and political 
leaders continued to react to the July 21 arrest of ICTY 
indictee Radovan Karadzic.   Dodik criticized statements by 
the leaders of Bosnia's two largest Bosniak political 
parties, Haris Silajdzic and Sulejman Tihic, for using 
Karadzic's arrest to "call into question" the existence of 
the RS, adding, "this is the moment when others should 
apologize to (Serbian President) Tadic, me, and many 
important institutions in the RS and in Serbia for killing 
Serbs."  During a July 23 television interview Dodik was 
asked whether Karadzic's arrest might contribute to 
reconciliation in Bosnia, and responded that "BiH looks more 
like a state falling apart than like a functioning state, 
unfortunately."  Dodik acknowledged comments made earlier (on 
the same program) by SDA Vice President Bakir Izetbegovic 
noting that Bosniaks "were ready to accept the existence of 
the RS," but Dodik dismissed them as "too late" since 
emotions in the RS were "running high due to frequent calls 
to abolish the RS." 
 
Dodik Demands Return of Karadzic Travel Documents 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
¶4. (SBU) In addition to commenting critically to statements 
by Bosniak political leaders, Dodik expanded on his initial 
observations that the RS had been unjustly accused of 
harboring Karadzic (Reftel).  In a July 23 television 
interview, Dodik again stressed that it was now clear 
Karadzic had not been hiding in the RS despite frequent 
assertions.  He criticized decisions taken by then-HighRep 
Paddy Ashdown to remove RS officials suspected of providing 
support to ICTY fugitives, labeling these decisions 
"illegal."  Dodik claimed that the RS government will have to 
pay "thousands of marks" compensation to these individuals 
(as a result, he claimed of "court verdicts"), and implied 
that he would now seek compensation in turn from OHR and/or 
the international community.  Dodik also called for OHR to 
return the Karadzic family's travel documents and for the EU 
to allow the family to exercise "their right to visit their 
father" in The Hague.  This position was echoed by other 
political leaders from the RS and several RS NGOs, most 
notably SPONA, an association of RS war veterans groups. 
 
Lajcak Takes Tough Public Line; EU Pressure to Act 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
SARAJEVO 00001202  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
¶5. (C) During a July 23 interview, HighRep Lajcak took a 
tough public line on Dodik's call for the return of the 
Karadzic family travel documents and the family's so-called 
right to travel to The Hague, arguing that this issue should 
not be a "top humanitarian priority."  He added that the 
Karadzic family "is going to have many opportunities to see 
their father in years to come.  This is not something we can 
say about victims from Srebrenica and other places."  Lajcak 
also stressed that he planned to consult with key 
international partners before making any decisions.  However, 
at the July 25 SBA Lajcak said that he planned to return the 
Karadzic family travel documents once Radovan Karadzic is in 
The Hague.  Lajcak also reported that the EU planned to lift 
its visa ban on the Karadzic family. (Note: We understand 
that COWEB took a preliminary decision to recommend the 
lifting of the ban earlier this week, but that it must still 
be confirmed at higher organization level within the EU. End 
Note) The French Ambassador,speaking in her capacity as 
representative of th EU Presidency, noted that the EU "had 
been unde pressure" to lift the travel ban. 
 
Concern Abou Hasty OHR/EU Action on Karadzic Family 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
¶6. (C) The Ambassador expressed concern about Lajcak's 
decision to return the Karadzic family travel documents and 
EU plans to remove them from their visa ban list.  He 
underscored that the decisions to seize the documents and to 
place the Karadzic family on the visa ban list had been taken 
in close coordination with the U.S. and that we had hoped 
there would be similar consultation before the decisions were 
reversed.  The Ambassador stressed that he was concerned 
about moving so quickly on the Karadzic family without having 
first considered the potential implications of these 
decisions.  He noted that other PIFWC supporters might now 
demand the same treatment, particularly given the loud claims 
by Dodik and others in the RS that Karadzic's arrest in 
Serbia had proven that individuals in the RS were not 
responsible for protecting him.  We did not want to 
inadvertently collapse or otherwise undermine the work done 
by OHR and by SBA members bilaterally to put pressure on by 
PIFWCs by cutting off their supporters, particularly with 
Mladic still at large. 
 
Comment and Action Request 
-------------------------- 
 
¶7. (C) Though not usually known for the speed of its decision 
making, the EU appears to be moving quickly to lift its visa 
ban on the Karadzic family while at the same time the HighRep 
prepares to return the family's travel documents (despite his 
promise to consult with international partners first). 
During the SBA the French Ambassador implied that the 
intention was to allow a one-off humanitarian visit by the 
Karadzic family to The Hague, but others, including Lajcak, 
implied it was a blanket lifting of the visa ban.  While it 
might make sense to allow a "humanitarian visit" we are 
concerned that the EU and the HighRep are moving much too 
quickly and have failed to consider the downstream 
implications of these decisions.  The comments by Dodik and 
others in the RS clearly suggested that they would like to 
use Karadzic's arrest to undermine the entire edifice of OHR 
actions against PIFWC supporters.  We recommend that 
Washington weigh in with Brussels and EU Member State 
capitals and ask them to slow down and consult more closely 
with the U.S. before acting.  There is no need for the EU to 
rush. 
ENGLISH