Seventh Report on War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia: Part II

Abuse of Civilians In Detention Centers

(20) July-August 92:

A 40-year-old Muslim woman was at home on July 14, 1992, in Foca when 26 Serbian soldiers - claiming to be Seseljovci from Trebinje - came to her door. She said that she did not know most of the soldiers because their accents were not local, but that two Foca Serbs had led them to the Muslim homes. The soldiers hit the witness on the head twice with a police troncheon, asked for her husband, and ordered her to go outside. They sliced the neck of a 16-year-old boy with a rusty knife while asking for his father; the boy was not seriously injured. Then they ordered the Muslims to kiss an Orthodox cross, which they all did.

After separating the men from the women and children, they took the later group to the police station. As the group was leaving, the soldiers burned the Muslim houses. The women and children were separated into four groups at the police station and taken to separate houses confiscated from Muslim owners. The witness was placed with a group of 28 women. One of the soldiers told her that women, children, and old people were being taken to these homes because they were "not worth a bullet." They were kept in this house for 27 days.

Day and night, soldiers came to the house taking two to three women at a time. They were four to five guards at all times, all local Foca Serbs. The woman knew the rapes would begin when 'Mars na Drinu' was played over the loudspeaker of the main mosque. ('Mars na Drinu,' or 'March on the Drina', is reportedly a former Chetnik fighting song that was banned during the Tito years.)

While 'Mars na Drinu' was playing, the women were ordered to strip and soldiers entered the homes taking the ones they wanted. The age of women taken ranged from 12 to 60. Frequently the soldiers would seek out mother and daughter combinations. Many of the women were severely beaten during the rapes.

The witness was selected twice. The first time, soldiers had entered and grabbed an 18-year-old girl, asking her if she were a virgin. She said she was. Licking his knife, one of the soldiers said that if they found she was not, he would butcher her. The witness pleaded with them not [to] take the girl but to take her instead. "We'll take you too," they said. While the witness was being raped, her rapist told her, "You should have already left this town. We'll make you have Serbian babies who will be Christians." Two soldiers raped her at that time; five soldiers raped the 18-year-old girl in full view of the witness.

The next time the witness was raped, her rapists showed her that they had had themselves circumcised so as not to "disgust" the women. She said she knew of four local Serbs who had had themselves circumcised for the rapes. She said at least 12 other women could testify to this.

The witness also said she was forced to drink alcohol and eat pork at the rape house. Many women threw up and they were beaten for getting sick. Some women from her house were taken to a hotel near Tjentiste and raped there. The women were permitted to leave on August 18, 1992, on a convoy evacuating Muslims from Foca. (Department of State)

(21) July-August 92:

A middle-aged Muslim woman described the abuse of women following attack on her village of Trosan, near Foca, on July 3, 1992.

An 80-member band of local Serbs had attacked Trosan and taken about 35 women and children to Buk Bijelo, a construction site for a dam, where they were kept for 3 to 4 hours in a workers' barracks. All the women' gold was confiscated. The band of Serbs started raping the women in a separate room of the barracks.

One woman was raped by 24 different soldiers before she was led away. The witness know of no one who was heard from her since that time. Two 16-year-old girls were taken to the other room and could not stand up when they were brought back. The witness identified the men who participated in the rapes; another witness identified the chief of police, who reportedly had signed the document ordering the rapes.

A 28-year-old woman was taken by Serbian soldiers around midnight on August 12 to the outdoor sport stadium in Foca. There she was raped by 28 soldiers before loosing consciousness. In addition the soldiers burned her body with cigarettes and cigarette lighters.

The group was then taken to Foca high school where they spent 8 days. Every night, three to five women were taken away and often returned severely beaten. They were taken by truck to the Partisan sport center in the middle of downtown Foca for 40 days. The women and children were not allowed to change their clothes and were fed only some bread at night.

This group from Trosan was the first group to be interned at Partisan, but more came later, eventually totaling 74 detainees. In addition to women and children there were five elderly men. During her time at Partisan, the witness the "soldiers" entered day and night to led away young women. One 24-year-old woman was raped in front of the entire group of detainees. .(Department of State)

(22) June-July 92:

A 55-year-old Bosnian Muslim from Brcko was a prisoner at Luka camp during which he saw teen-aged girls being brought, eight to ten at a time, into the camp commander's office building on Wednesdays and Saturdays, between about 2 and 6 pm. The teenagers came only those 2 days of the week.

Monika, a Serbian woman in her early 20s, would say "We've brought them." The camp commander would take his time selecting a girl, who would then be escorted upstairs. Once the commander had made his choice, three or four guards would select another girl, and so on. Only the commander had a girl to himself.

The witness identified Monika as the well known daughter of Brcko's leading prostitute. She bragged about her job of going around town to "buy and prepare" the girls, and she was assisted by three men who participated in the "delivery service," as well as serving as "police" at Luka camp. The witness identified all of the aforementioned people and provided names of girls known to be dead and presumed to have died from being gang-raped at Luka camp. Monika brought a nurse to Luka to "prepare the girls and make them calm." The girls apparently have no idea what was going to happen to them, because they were only slightly frightened. The witness implied that the nurse was coerced into "treating" the girls. The witness observed Monika beating young men on the genitals repeatedly and for extended periods of time.

The nurse, also a fellow refugee, said that Monika had stabbed one girl, who had resisted being sent to the soldiers, on the breast and in the vagina with a broken neck of a glass bottle; the girl bled to death. The nurse personally witnessed the incident. (Department of State)

(23) 18 April 92:

A 37-year-old Serbian woman described her rape by Croatian soldiers following the shelling of her village near Odzak in Bosnia.

"The Croats came for me at 12:30 am on June 5. They broke down the door of the house and picked me out, made me walk some 20 meters away and said 'Now you're going to tell us where the Chetniks are.' There were 15 of them, I knew them all, they were neighbors.. They call themselves the Fire Horses Brigade."

The witness was brought to a place in Posavska Mahala where she was raped by at least seven men before she passed out.

"One man ripped my clothes off and raped me; he didn't spare my mouth or my anus. He put a gun in my mouth and threatened to kill me. At 5:30 in the morning, he let me go, kicking me from behind and telling to walk home. I was naked. My 9-year-old niece was raped. They were our neighbors, the ones who raped us. My family is embarrassed to see me on TV, but I have to do it. Everything we owned was burned. We have nothing now. (The New York Review of Books)

Impeding Delivery of Food and Medical Supplies to the Civilian Population

(24) 31 March 93:

1 Bosnian Serbs blocked a UN humanitarian aid convoy at Mali Zvornik as it was trying to move food, plastic sheeting, and tents to Srebrenica. The general commanding the Bosnian Serb army told the UN that he would allow only empty trucks in Srebrenica, not trucks carrying relief supplies. (Department of State, Paris AFP, The New York Times)

(25) 27 March 93:

Serbian police and Bosnian Serbs blocked a 20-truck humanitarian aid convoy with food and medicine from reaching Srebrenica; it was forced to return to Belgrade. (The Washington Post)

(26) 24 March 93:

Bosnian Serbs assaulted a landing zone for UNPROFOR [UN Protection Force for Yugoslavia] helicopters in Srebrenica, killing a Muslim child and wounding at least 21 persons, including two Canadian peace-keepers who suffered head wounds. Serb forces had shelled Srebrenica's post office, which was serving as a UN peace-keeping base, and then hit the landing zone before and after three French helicopters had evacuated only 22 of an estimated 300 seriously wounded Muslim civilians. Two British helicopters, sent to evacuate the wounded Canadians, also came under fire.

"It is clear that [Bosnian Serb] forces are deliberately impeding medical evacuation from Srebrenica," said an UNPROFOR letter to the commander of those forces.

French major Olivier de Barichove described Bosnian Serb mortar attack as "wounding again already wounded."

Bosnian Serbs shelled the airfield used by the helicopter in Tuzla after the departure of the helicopters for the Bosnian Serb-mandated inspection point in Zvornik. They later fired seven more shells shortly after the arrival of the British helicopters from Srebrenica.

The commander of the UN peace force in Bosnia, French Lt. Gen. Philippe Morillon, said Bosnian Serb gunners "deliberately targeted" the Tuzla airport and Srebrenica landing zone.

At the request of the UN peace-keeping force in Bosnia, the commander of Bosnian Serb forces arrested Serbian Colonel Ilic for having ordered the attack on Srebrenica during the UNPROFOR helicopter evacuation of wounded. Ilic will face a court martial for having broken the cease-fire agreement.

(Department of State, Reuters, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Washington Times, API, Warsaw Radio Warszawa Network, Paris AFP)

(27) 19 March 93:

Bosnian Serbs blocked a humanitarian aid convoy bound for Srebrenica at the border of Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina from March 11 to March 19, 1993. At least 60,000 people trapped in the vicinity of Srebrenica faced the threat of an increased death rate by starvation, exposure to the winter weather and, and lack of medical care. UNHCR [UN High Commissioner for Refugees] staff members in the enclave said [that] situation had become increasingly desperate with each passing hour, with at least 40 residents dying each day. (Department of State, Reuters, The Washington Post, API, Time)

(28) 19 March 93:

An anti-aircraft round passed within 200 meters of a British aircraft as it approached the Sarajevo airport. UNPROFOR subsequently closed the airport to humanitarian aid flights. (Reuters)

(29) 9 March 93:

Bosnian Serb forces blocked a UN convoy of eight ambulances - carrying mattresses, blankets, and medical aid - that was sent from Belgrade to evacuate 70 to 75 seriously wounded civilians, mostly Muslim Slavs, from Konjevic Polje and Srebrenica. (Los Angeles Times, Paris AFP, The Washington Post, API)

(30) 5 March 93:

A grenade attack injured four drivers in a humanitarian aid convoy from Belgrade that was carrying 100 tons of flour from Croatian, Serbian and Muslim non-governmental organizations. The granade reportedly were fired by Bosnian Government forces. (Reuters, Paris AFP)

(31) 4 March 93:

A sniper near Sarajevo airport killed Chantal Godinot, a French woman with the Equilibre humanitarian organization, and wounded two Polish aid workers. Snipers ambushed the humanitarian aid convoy as it left Sarajevo. (The Washington Times, API, Reuters, Paris AFP)

Deliberate Attacks On Non-Combatants

(32) 26 March 93:

The UN charged Serbia with the continuing shelling of Srebrenica, which has caused two deaths and 41 casualties in the past few days. According to UN official, "We have the facts that artillery shells come from Serbia." (Department of State)

(33) 16 March 93:

A Serb mortar fell about 10 meters from visiting Dutch defense minister Relus ter Beek in Sarajevo. The impact of the shell injured an Egyptian UNPROFOR soldier; another shell killed two civilians nearby. (Paris AFP)

(34) 13 March 93:

Serbian nationalist troops surrounding Sarajevo launched at least three mortar bombs at the Sarajevo courthouse in which a Bosnian war crimes trial is being conducted. One mortar struck the building's roof. (The New York Times)

(35) 3 March 93:

Snipers fired upon Canadian peace-keepers while traveling between Visoko and Kiseljak, towns located near Sarajevo. (Montreal Radio Canada International, Paris AFP)

(36) 2 March 93:

Bosnian Serbs fired a tank shell into Kosevo hospital complex at midday, the hospital's busiest time. The shell landed a few feet from the diagnostic building, killing one person - named Munira - and injuring eight others. According to Munira's husband, this was 177th shell to hit the hospital since April 1992. An emergency room physician said that "it happens every day, all the time. A 60-year-old patient, victim of an earlier volley of shells, said her Serbian husband had been killed the previous week by an indiscriminate Serbian attack on Sarajevo. (The Washington Post)

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