By Mladen Dragojlovic – Banja Luka
Sutorina is a village on Adriatic coast, presently in Montenegro, but BiH experts recently raised a question of border between two states in this part of Balkan peninsula.
When, two weeks ago, BiH Council of ministers, adopted the draft of the Contract on the state borders with Montenegro, the ministers didn’t know that they will face the protests of experts and demands to reconsider this decision. According to the Contract, the state border between BiH and Montenegro goes from the point where the borders of BiH, Serbia and Montenegro meet to the North, to the point of junction of the borders between BiH, Croatia and Montenegro, to the South. It is planed that this border will be marked in next three years after contract ratification.
This decision by the Council some experts in history and geography have called “treason of the highest rank”. Experts frustration is so big that they organised a conference in Sarajevo, in order to explain that Sutorina is historically and in any other sense BiH territory and that the Council of ministers must make a different decision. On this event, under the name “Whose is Sutorina-from illusion to truth”, experts warned that Sutorina is the most attractive location on Mediterranean for tourism development.
“If BiH get the ownership over this part of the coast it will be our Antalia with mega hotels”, said on the conference professor Ante Jakauc.
He added that Sutorina was given to BiH before Berlin Congress, 1878, when this ownership was confirmed, and that it later was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
But, there is a problem. Since 1947, when Yugoslavia set the borders between “socialist republics”, Sutorina has been part of Montenegro. It is clear that Montenegro will not give up part of its territory to another state, especially since all present states in early 1990, when SFR Yugoslavia collapsed, claimed those borders as relevant. It is reality that these borders are slightly different than those, which the Communist party defined in 1943, on the AVNOJ session. According to historians, BiH at the time had ownership over Sutorina.
Professor Sead Kurtcehajic said on the conference that the best solution is that BiH Presidency rejects this draft of the Contract and return it to the council of Ministers with the obligation to consult experts for the creation of a new draft.
“We must be wise and try to put this case on the International court of justice in Hague. First question for Montenegro will be how they can prove ownership over Sutorina, and that is impossible. But, we will submit the Yugoslav Constitution from 1946 where it is clearly stated that borders between republics can be changed, and it must be adopted on the National Assembly and in the consent of the Republics. This case for us has the highest priority”, said Kurtcehajic.
Some historians earlier warned that this will be a problem in negotiations about borders between Montenegro and BiH. Sutorina, in fact, is a territory of 83 square kilometers with seven kilometers of coastline. For now, only BiH exit on the Adriatic Sea is 25 kilometers of coastline in the city of Neum. It is clear that this seven kilometers will be a problem between the two countries in future.