news 14 Feb 13

Bosnia May Claim Slice of Tito's Legacy

Finance Ministry official says Bosnia will demand its share of the late Josip Broz Tito's private belongings if Serbia tries to carve them up.

Elvira M. Jukic

Zenit Kelic, of the Bosnian Finance Ministry, said Bosnia might demand part of the late Yugoslav strongman's personal belongings - if Serbia tried to take them.

He spoke after Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, mentioned that he might order the opening of the treasury in the bank in Serbia where Tito's personal belongings are stored.

Tito's personal assets are already the subject of court dispute initiated by his descendants but, according to Zelic, if Serbia now wants part of them, the other five ex-Yugoslav republics have the same right.

“It can't be that only Serbia has the right to this,” Kelic said. “If there is gold, for example, or money, or some securities, then that it is the property of all the successor states and we will all have to get involved in the process.”

On the list of known valuables is a Cossack sabre, a present from Soviet dicatator Stalin, with covers of gold and diamonds. There is also a stone from the moon brought by astronauts, gold and some jewels.

The former Yugoslav states signed the Agreement on Succession Issues in Vienna in 2001 after which a committee was formed to deal with it, but the matter was never wrapped up.

Tito's widow, Jovanka Broz, has for years fought a legal battle to recover her own personal belongings, more than 30 years since almost all of them were confiscated, following Tito's death.  

The residences of the former Yugoslav President were state owned and are thus not up for grabs. But Tito’s widow and children have not inherited his personal belongings, either.

The Sarajevo-based daily Dnevni avaz on February 13 said that Kelic had complained of other statements by Nikolic's staff, which suggested that Serbia alone was the legal successor to Yugoslavia.

There has long been speculation about secret bank accounts held by Tito in foreign banks, but none of this has been confirmed.

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