Former Herceg Bosna finance minister Neven Tomic contends that Bosniaks’ insistence on a ‘centralized state’ has pushed Croats to the margins of political decision-making in BH and mobilized the Serb political scene. This has resulted in the worst crisis ‘from Dayton to the present time’

Neven Tomic, defense witness for Jadranko PrlicNeven Tomic, defense witness for Jadranko Prlic

Neven Tomic, former Herceg Bosna finance minister who had held various high positions in the state and federal bodies in Bosnia Herzegovina in the past years, said that the current crisis in BH was result of a growing discontent of all three constituent peoples with the way the state was structured after the war. This in Tomic’s view led to increased national homogenization instead of promotion of programs that would introduce BH to the European nations’ community.

As Tomic put it, today the Croatian people has ‘marginal influence’ on the developments in BH since the Bosniaks have pushed them out of the federal bodies, in contravention of the Washington Agreement which guaranteed parity to both ethnic groups. This is the result of the Bosniak demands that the Croats, because they are in the minority, should not have the same number of ministers in the government as do the Bosniaks. Dissatisfied with the unequal treatment and in an effort to safeguard the status of their people as a constituent nation, the Croats have been blocking the passage of some laws.

On the other hand, the witness maintains, at the state level the Bosniaks have insisted on changing the Dayton Agreements to abolish Republika Srpska, which has resulted in ‘the mobilization of the Serb political scene across the board’ to defend their entity and the Dayton Accords’. As the witness concluded, this shows that to this day the Bosniak leaders harbor the idea of a centralized Bosnia and Herzegovina based on the ‘one person one vote principle’ they have been advocating since 1992. It was this policy, the witness noted, that has led to the gravest political crisis ‘from the Dayton times to the present’.

Through this part of Tomic’s evidence the defense teams of the former Bosnian Croat leaders wanted to show that the conflict between the BH Army and the HVO in Central Bosnia and Western Herzegovina was caused by the insistence of the Bosniak leaders, headed by the then president of the BH presidency Alija Izetbegovic, on the model of a state where they would be sure to retain power because of their majority.

The witness was examined today by the defense counsel of Milivoj Petkovic and Slobodan Praljak, former chiefs of the HVO Main Staff. The trial continues of Monday when the prosecutor will cross-examine the witness.