SIXTH REPORT OF THE FRY GOVERNMENT ON WAR CRIMES
COMMITTED IN THE TERRITORY OF THE FORMER SFRY
Pursuant to the Security Council resolution No. 780 dated October 5, 1992, item 1, the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia hereby submits a new - sixth report on the cases of violation of the international war and humanitarian law in the territory of the former SFRY.
This is the fourth report prepared by the Committee Compiling Data on Crimes Committed Against Humanity and International Law, whose task is to establish all relevant facts concerning armed conflicts and acts of violence, particularly those representing grave violations of the international war and humanitarian law.
The Report contains 178 cases of grave violations of the international war and humanitarian law committed in the period since the outbreak of the war in parts of the territory of the former SFRY. It contains new or especially amended data pertaining to the previous reports.
The information contained in the Sixth report have been collected in the field and processed by the Committee Compiling Data on Crimes Committed Against Humanity and International Law in cooperation with the judicial and law enforcement bodies, as well as forensic experts and other experts specializing in various fields. Information collected by non-governmental organizations and associations have been partially used as well.
The information contained in this report represent only extracts from a much larger batch of documents filed with the Committee. The intention of presenting them in this form is to inform the public in the country and worldwide of the data considered to be established in the process preceding the judicial fact-finding proceedings.
On the basis of the previously adopted criteria, the crimes contained in the Sixth report have been classified as follows:
Out of 178 cases presented in this Report 40 cases relate to Deliberate killing of cilians; 20 cases to Deleiberate killing of detainees and prisoners of war; 18 cases to Inhuman treatment of civilians; 56 cases to Inhuman treatment of detainees and prisoners of war; 10 cases to Deliberate killing and inhuman treatment of the wounded and the sick; 5 cases to Hostage taking and detention camps; 6 cases to Devastation of civilian facilities, unwarranted from the military point of view; 3 cases to Devastation of places of worship, cemeteries, cultural and historical monuments; and 20 cases to the so-called Ethnic cleansing.
A smaller number of (29) cases presented in this Report are concerned with the grave violations of international war and humanitarian law arising as a consequence of the aggressions launched (in May and August 1995) by military and police forces of the Republic of Croatia throughout Western Slavonia (United Nations Protected Areas), as well as other parts of the territory of the Republic of Srpska Krajina (Dalmatia, Lika, Bania and Kordun).
On May 1, 1995, the Croatian Army launched a planned offensive throughout Western Slavonia, with the knowledge of UN peace-keeping forces (Nepalese and Jordanian battalion) which moved away from their observation and monitoring posts. Croatian forces consisting of at least 15,000 troops focused their attack against 4,000 Serb defenders who were not in possession of heavy weapon systems which had been stationed and put under the UNPROFOR control in accordance with the existing agreement (testimonies of the heard witnesses). Heavy artillery weapons, tanks and Air Force were engaged in the course of offensive. During the military operation, even civilian targets were deliberately hit.
The Croatian Army forces waited for the refugee columns of civilians who were fleeing aboard tractors, trucks and motor-cars from their attacked villages and heading toward Bosanska Gradiška and the Sava river, planning to cross over the bridge into the territory of the Republic of Srpska. Civilians, who were mainly comprised of elderly, women and children, were massively killed.
According to the testimonies of witnesses, on May 1 and 2, 1995, massive killing of civilians (over 400) was registered in the village of Novi Varoš, on the road from Okučani to Bosanska Gradiška. By opening fire from heavy artillery and small arms, as well as from aircraft, members of the Croatian armed forces attacked the refugee column which was heading toward the Sava river trying to avoid the encirclement of the Croatian Army. Civilians who were walking on foot or moving on tractors, motor-cars, trucks and other vehicles were being mercilessly killed. Croatian authorities burned Serb corpses in situ by using some unknown chemical agents which enabled carbonization of their dead bodies. Some corpses were taken to unknown locations and some to the sites known to the Committee. Traces of blood were washed down. It was only after the traces of crime had been removed that international organizations and media were allowed access to that part of Slavonia.
This report contains only extracts of a much larger batch of documents concerning capturing of civilians throughout the attacked area and their detention in the camps located in Varaždin, Bjelovar, Slavonska Požega and Kutina, as well as in other places in Croatia, where they were subjected to torture and inhuman treatment.
The cases presented in this report indicate that concrete regular units of the Croatian Army, their commands and individuals, as well as camp personnel bear the responsibility for the killing of civilians and commitment of other criminal acts.
In August 1995, Croatian Army launched another major offensive throughout The Republic of Srpska Krajina committing new crimes - killing of fleeing civilians, conducting artillery attacks upon civilian property, massive exodus of civilian population, attacks focused on refugee columns, as well as other criminal acts. After taking control of Krajina, the Croatian Army started systematic looting, mining and burning of houses and other facilities belonging to the Serb population which had fled, as well as systematic killing of remaining Serb civilians - mainly the elderly and disabled citizens. Daily reports of the representatives of international humanitarian and other organizations, as well as of foreign press bear witness to these crimes.
In addition to the above-described crimes, this report also includes new information on crimes committed by the Croatian side (deliberate killing of civilians, deliberate killing of detainees and prisoners of war, inhuman treatment of civilians, etc., and especially cases of ethnic cleansing carried out at the very beginning of the civil war). Those crimes were committed in the following places as well: Bjelovar, Bibinje (Zadar), Virovitica, Vinkovci, Vrana, Grubišino Polje, Donji Miholjac, Islam Grčki, Nova Gradiška, Osijek, Rijeka, Split, Slavonski Brod, Crikvenica and Zagreb.
This report contains new information on ethnic cleansing which took place on May 2, 1991, in the Zadar area. Following the withdrawal of the police from the streets, at least 168 shops owned by Serbs were ransacked and demolished and a number of homes and apartments were set ablaze, as registered by the police and by the Public Prosecutor in Zadar. That action was organized by a number of the HDZ activists and the highest-ranking officials in Zadar, in the presence of Vladimir Šeks, deputy Speaker of the Croatian Parliament and Petar Šale - both of them among the highest-ranking HDZ officials at the time. That, apart from other measures introduced by Croatian authorities (statements on loyalty, dismissal from jobs, threatening telephone calls, unlawful detention and arrests, etc.), led to a massive exodus of Serbs from the Zadar area. Similar data are also given for the cases concerning ethnic cleansing carried out in the areas of Osijek, Virovitica, Crikvenica, Grubišino Polje and Vinkovci.
The information gathered so far show that the Republic of Croatia carried out ethnic cleansing of Serbs not only throughout the territories inhabited predominantly by the Serb population but also throughout those territories where Serbs constituted the minority population. This indicates that the highest authorities of the Republic of Croatia consistently implemented ethnic cleansing campaign throughout the area with the aim of carrying out genocide over the Serb population.
The situation in the so-called Bosnia and Herzegovina is exemplified by a larger number of cases in this report.
The following places and municipalities are included in the so-called Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bihać, Bugojno, Brčko, Breza, Visoko, Derventa, Zenica, Kalinovik, Kotor Varoš, Konjic, Ljubuški, Mostar, Sarajevo, Sokolac, Travnik, Trnovo, Tuzla, Ugljevik and Han Pijesak (examples of deliberate killing of civilians); Brčko, Brod (Bosanski), Visoko, Gradačac, Jablanica, Lopare, Orašje, Sarajevo, Teočak, Trnovo i Hadžići (examples of deliberate killing of detainees and prisoners of war); Zenica, Jajce, Livno, Mostar, Sarajevo, Tuzla and Ugljevik (examples of inhuman treatment of civilians); Brčko, Brod (Bosanski), Busovača, Breza, Visoko, Vitez, Goražde, Grude, Gornji Vakuf, Derventa, Zenica, Jajce, Konjic, Ljubuški, Odžak, Orašje, Sarajevo, Tuzla and Čapljina (Dretelj) (examples of inhuman treatment of detainees and prisoners of war); Brčko, Derventa, Zenica, Jablanica, Lopare, Konjic and Trnovo (examples of deliberate killing and inhuman treatment of the wounded and the sick); Visoko, Goražde, Travnik and Trnovo (examples of hostage taking and detention camps); Mostar, Ugljevik and Teočak (examples of devastation of civilian facilities, unwarranted from the military point of view); Zenica (Mutnica), and Čapljina (Žitomislić) (examples of devastation of places of worship, cemeteries, cultural and historical monuments); Banovići, Visoko, Goražde, Zenica, Konjic, Sarajevo and Travnik (examples of ethnic cleansing).
This report contains a larger number of crimes committed in the areas of Brčko, Brod, Orašje, Trnovo and Derventa, including examples of deliberate killing of civilians, examples of inhuman treatment of civilians, examples of inhuman treatment of detainees and prisoners of war and examples of hostage taking and detention camps, as well as examples of other criminal acts.
The cases contained in the previous reports of the Committee, coupled with other documents (Memorandum) submitted by the FRY Government to the United Nations, indicate that the Croatian Defence Council forces, members of the Croatian Army and Moslem forces have committed numerous crimes in the areas of Brčko, Orašje, Odžak and other places throughout Bosanska Posavina since the beginning of 1992. Since those crimes have been committed in the described manner and with the intention, they qualify as genocide which is a punishable international crime according to The 1948 Convention of the United Nations on Preventing and Punishing the Crime of Genocide. The Sixth report includes mainly examples dealing with new data on detention of Serbs in the above-mentioned areas, methods of killing and serious bodily and mental abuse, as well as other forms of inhuman treatment. This report also contains a number of direct perpetrators of those crimes. In the Bosanska Posavina area, it is most evident that the highest authorities of the Republic of Croatia and the so-called B&H, as inspirers and the ones that issued orders, bear direct responsibility for the crimes committed in this territory.
International public opinion is less informed of the pogrom of Serbs (killings-liquidations and deportations of civilians - women and children - to the camps in Trnovo, Tarčin and Pazarić) carried out by Moslems and Croats in the territory of the municipality of Trnovo from the beginning of June to the end of November 1992.
In early June 1992, Moslem-Croat military formations began encirclement of both Serb villages and villages with mixed population, attacking Serb houses and capturing Serb civilians. During, and especially after that operation, they killed a large number of civilians, including the elderly and women.
This report also contains basic information concerning 83 cases of killing of the Serb civilians in the villages of Trebečaj, Ledići, Lisovići, Gornja and Donja Prosjenica, Tošići, Širokari, Kiselice, Vrbovnik, etc., including Trnovo itself. Most of the civilians hiding from military actions in basements or forests were captured and liquidated in various ways. Some were shot dead, some were slaughtered and some were killed by hanging or by strangling, etc.
This report includes similar new information concerning crimes committed in the above-mentioned places in the so-called B&H.