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Aid To Bosnia

Aid To Bosnia A Tufts report asks whether the eight-year-old International Criminal Tribunal is working in Bosnia. Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [04.02.01] With time running out before the U.S. State Department froze millions of dollars in aid to Bosnia, former Yugoslavian strongman Slobodan Milosevic was arrested at his compound on Sunday. The 26-hour standoff concluded within minutes of the March 31st deadline for Yugoslavia to prove to the U.S. that it was cooperating with the Hague's International Criminal Tribunal.

While Milosevic's arrest may provide a new boost of support for the war crimes tribunal, a study by two Tufts students finds that the international court's work has been largely ineffective since its creation.

"No one is saying it's a credible court," Tufts student Tamy Guberek told the Boston Globe shortly after the report was completed. For over a year, the Tufts senior worked with Kristen Cibelli -- who graduated last year -- to research and compile their findings.

According to the Globe, "Guberek, an author of the Tufts study of the tribunal's activities in Bosnia, said the court's credibility is being undermined from both sides, with Serb media portraying it as a political court and creature of the Americans, while Muslim media complain it is not moving fast enough."

The pair's findings have been supported by accounts in the international media.

"Many Yugoslavs consider the tribunal a political instrument of U.S. foreign policy rather than an impartial court," reported today's New York Times.

The distrust, say the Tufts students, can be linked to poor communication about the tribunal's role and progress.

"Not until this year have even the tribunal's most basic documents been translated into the languages of the people who live in the region," Guberek and Cibelli wrote in a nationally syndicated opinion piece. "A major disconnect exists between important decisions being made on an international level and the residents of Bosnia, regardless of which side they may have supported during the war."

The Miami Herald reported that Guberek and Cibelli made several recommendations in their report, which was distributed to UN officials.

"The pair suggested that the tribunal announce the existence of its Outreach Programme, present information clearly, address questions, clear up misconceptions and disseminate information extensively," reported the Herald.

The 30-page report -- published by Tufts' Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship -- was the result of a year of research in Yugoslavia and the U.S.

"Guberek credits Tufts University for its support, a large group of advisors and most of all her parents," reported the Miami Herald.

"We don't live in such a political world, but [in Yugoslavia], you can feel it on your skin," she said.

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