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Bosnian Croat Facing Charges Is Fired From Presidency Post

March 30, 2005|From Reuters

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Paddy Ashdown, the top international administrator in Bosnia-Herzegovina, fired Dragan Covic, a Bosnian Croat, from the country's tripartite presidency Tuesday after Covic refused to step down in the face of corruption charges.

Covic is the third presidency member to be sacked or forced out under international pressure since the administrator's office was set up to oversee implementation of the Dayton peace accords after the 1992-95 war in Bosnia.

Ashdown and U.S. and European Union officials had repeatedly urged Covic to resign after state prosecutors this month indicted him and six other Bosnian Croats for alleged customs evasion, corruption and abuse of office.

The offenses allegedly took place between 2000 and 2003, while Covic was deputy prime minister of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat Federation.

Ashdown said his decision was part of a wider ruling requiring that officials indicted by a court step down to preserve Bosnia's international reputation.

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