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The BBC's Alex Kroeger
"The dispute arises from the maps used in the Dayton agreements"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 24 April, 2001, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Ruling redraws Sarajevo map
Dayton peace negotiations
The Dayton accords put the border right through the flats
An international arbitrator has ruled that a five-year boundary dispute in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, should be settled in favour of the Muslim-Croat Federation.

The Bosnian Serb Republic and the Muslim-Croat Federation have been wrangling over two blocks of flats in the Sarajevo suburb of Dobrinja.

Shame on whoever made this decision... we won't let this happen.

Bosnian Serb residents
The large-scale maps used to negotiate the Dayton peace accords had put the boundary line straight through the two buildings - leaving some residents with their kitchens in the Muslim Croat Federation and their bedrooms in the Bosnian Serb Republic.

The decision has been welcomed by the municipal authorities, but has infuriated the Bosnian Serbs.

The area lies on what used to be the front lines of the war and ever since the Dayton peace accords were signed in 1995 the people living there have been in limbo.

Careful decision

Both entities laid claim to the territory, but neither wanted to take responsibility for providing services or paying for reconstruction.

Giving his decision, Judge Diarmuid Sheridan said he was more concerned with people than institutions.

He asked everyone to believe him that if his conscience had dictated another course of action he would have decided accordingly.

Burning Sarajevo tower block
During the war many residential areas were on the front line

"I have never felt so humble as I do at this moment," said Mr Sheridan, commenting on his decision.

Most of the refugees who want to return to Dobrinja are Muslims and Croats, and the federation has a somewhat better record on refugee returns.

Immediately after the decision was announced a small group of Bosnian Serb men gathered on the Serb side of the boundary to protest against the ruling.

Local anger

"Shame on whoever made this decision," people in the group yelled. "We won't let this happen."

Others drove their cars up and down the neighbourhood, pulling the windows down and yelling: "Serb brothers, we've been betrayed."

But one local resident, who refused to give her name, said she suspected that none of the people in the group were really from Dobrinja, but had been sent there from outlying villages by somebody eager to provoke a conflict.

Peacekeepers are monitoring the situation in the area, but a spokesman said they did not expect any violence.

The transfer of control takes place at midnight (2200 GMT) on Tuesday.

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See also:

21 Nov 00 | Europe
Sarajevo revisited
15 Nov 00 | Europe
Bosnia: The legacy of war
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