United Nations
Security Council

S/1994/674 - 27 May 1994 (continued)


  1. GENERAL STUDIES
    1. The military structure of the warring factions and the strategies and tactics they employ
    2. ``Ethnic cleansing''

  2. SUBSTANTIVE FINDINGS
    1. The study of Opstina Prijedor, a district in north-western Bosnia: alleged genocide and massive violations of the elementary dictates of humanity
      1. General description
      2. Serbs take power on 30 April 1992
      3. Immediate consequences of the Serbs taking power
      4. The major Serbian military operations in the district
      5. Concentration camps and deportation
      6. The strategy of destruction
      7. The general lack of protection for non-Serbs
      8. Responsibility
      9. Conclusions
    2. The battle and siege of Sarajevo
      1. Structure and location of forces in and around the city
      2. Location and nature of the artillery
      3. Frequency of shelling
      4. Systematic shelling of specific targets
      5. Patterns of random shelling
      6. Link between shelling activity and political events
    3. Sarajevo investigation
    4. Medak Pocket investigation
PART IV.E TO V

III. GENERAL STUDIES

A. The military structure of the warring factions and the strategies and tactics they employ

B. ``Ethnic cleansing'' *28

IV. SUBSTANTIVE FINDINGS

A. The study of Opstina Prijedor, a district in north- western Bosnia: alleged genocide and massive violations of the elementary dictates of humanity *47

1. General description

2. Serbs take power on 30 April 1992

3. Immediate consequences of the Serbs taking power

4. The major Serbian military operations in the district

5. Concentration camps and deportations

6. The strategy of destruction

7. The general lack of protection for non-Serbs

8. Responsibility

9. Conclusions

B. The battle and siege of Sarajevo *48

C. Sarajevo investigation*52

D. Medak Pocket investigation*54

| Report Table of Contents | Part I to II | Part IV.E to V |

Footnotes

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*21 Slovenia declared independence on 25 June 1991. Croatia’s official date is 8 October 1991, though it first declared independence on 25 July 1991. The Bosnian Government declared independence on 6 March 1992. All three were admitted to membership in the United Nations on 22 May 1992.return to text

*22 The TDFs, however, existed in varying degrees of strength and readiness in the various republics. However, in most cases, they were poorly organized and staffed. Croatia organized a National Guard in April 1991 to replace the territorial defence force. The National Guard consisted mostly of former JNA military personnel from Croatia. return to text

*23 It should be noted that the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina includes among its ranks Croatian and Serbian personnel. Also, Croatian Defence Council units have on occasion either been part of Bosnian Government operations or have fought alongside the Bosnian Government Forces against the Bosnian Serb Army. return to text

*24 Some of these special forces operate in localized areas, while others move freely to different theatres of operation, frequently going from one state to another within the territory of the former Yugoslavia. Several of the special forces come from Serbia proper or have close links to Serbia, like Arkan’s ``Tigers'', Seselj’s ``White Eagles'', Captain Dragan’s forces, Serb Falcons (Sinisa Uucinic) and others. The Serbian People’s Renewal Party also had a paramilitary organization which interrelated with the White Eagles. Serbian special forces from Krajina, like ``Martic’s Militia'', operate predominantly in the UNPAs (Croatia). Other special forces from Croatia are tied to the Croatian Government’s political and army figures. The HOS, which is reminiscent of the Second-World-War Ustachi, for example, have been substantially absorbed into the Croatian Defence Council. The mujahidin operate independently of the Bosnian Government Army. Muslims from Bosnia and Herzegovina formed paramilitary units in 1991. Two such Muslim groups are called Green Berets and the Patriotic League of the People. All special forces have expatriate volunteers and some use foreign mercenaries. return to text

*25 Arkan’s name is Zeljko Raznjatovic. Interpol has several outstanding warrants for his arrest. The warrants are for a variety of crimes, including bank robbery and investigations relating to political assassination in different European countries. He escaped from prison on bank robbery charges in the Netherlands and Sweden, where he is currently a wanted criminal. He is reputed to have been involved in murder for hire and to have connections with organized crime in Europe. His group has committed the entire range of crimes described above and in other parts of this report in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Tigers have used expatriates and mercenaries in the commission of these crimes. JNA seems to arm and support the Tigers. The crimes committed by this group started in 1991 in the war in Croatia. In 1992, Arkan was elected to the Kosovo ``parliament'' and ran in the 1994 parliamentary election of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in Belgrade. He has reportedly acquired substantial wealth in Sector East UNPA Croatia and in Belgrade which it is believed he derived from looting and contraband. return to text

*26 Seselj was a member of the parliament of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and leader of the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party, which at one time held one third of the votes. e elj’s group follows the pre-Second- World-War group called the ``Chetniks'' who were known for their ultra-right wing monarchial politics. The Second-World-War Chetniks wore the special monarchial emblems with the double headed eagle. The present forces wear the same emblem and also call themselves Chetniks. Like Arkan’s Tigers, Seselj’s White Eagles committed the crimes referred to above and in other parts of this report. The group seems to have been armed and supported by JNA. Moreover, since mid-1993, the group is believed to have been under the direct control of JNA. The crimes committed by this group started in 1991 in the war in Croatia. During the 1994 elections in Belgrade, Seselj and President Slobodan Milosevic publicly traded charges of war crimes and hinted at knowledge of war crimes. This was publicly reported in the media of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in October 1993. It was also reported that President Milosevic ordered some forty associates of Seselj to be prosecuted for rape, and other war crimes. It should also be noted that there were several groups of Chetniks that were not under e elj’s control. One such unit operated in the Krajina area in Croatia in 1991, and then in Bosnia in 1992, where the group took position around Sarajevo in the fall. The unit is under the command of Slavko Aleksic who operated under the command of the Bosnian Serb Army. (See annex III.A for more detail regarding special forces.)return to text

*27

                          Protocol I      Geneva Conventions      Protocol II
Yugoslavia              (Ratification)     21 April 195011         June 1979
Slovenia                (Succession)       26 March 199226         March 1992
Croatia                 (Succession)       11 May 199211           May 1992
Bosnia and Herzegovina  (Succession)       31 December 199231      December 1992
return to text

*28 See annex IV.return to text

*29 Serbian contemporary reality is particularly affected by history, which is vividly recalled, even when it goes as far back as the battle of Kosovo in 1389. But, more recent events arising out of the Second World War are even more significant in popular perception. return to text

*30 Several reports indicate that individual Serbs acted with courage and generosity in helping persons of other ethnic or religious groups to flee to safety or shield such persons from certain harm. But, in almost all these reports, it is clear that those concerned persons did so surreptitiously, thus emphasizing the overall climate of fear and even terror inspired by those in control.return to text

*31 The arc goes from Gorazde at the bottom of the arc in the East (southeast) near the Drina River, then following the Drina River, north through such cities as Zvornik, Br ko and in a northward direction to the areas of Bjelina, Derventa, Slavonski Brod, Banja Luka and Prijedor. The Drina River is the border between Bosnia and Serbia. The arc continues along the Sava and Korenika Rivers, which are the boundaries with the Serb Krajina area, and follows along eastern and western Slavonia, which are also Serb-inhabited areas in Croatia.return to text

*32 This strategic factor is evident in the attack against Gorazde in April 1994 and in the reports of military preparation for action in the Brko area.return to text

*33 See, for example, E/CN.4/1994/20. return to text

*34 However, even the involvement of public officials is frequently insufficient to ensure the safety of the forcefully removed civilian population. Some of those evicted were forced to walk across minefields, which resulted in many deaths and severe injuries. Additionally, troops along the confrontation lines opened fire on the civilians who were pushed across the lines.return to text

*35 This is due to the fact that the Serb population is notified in advance of an attack. In some areas, this ``ethnic cleansing'' is done by ``special forces'' but frequently, it is the very civilian population which lives alongside the Bosnian Muslims in the areas described above who carry out or share in carrying out the criminal practices referred to elsewhere in this report, particularly the Prijedor study, paras. 151 - 182.return to text

*36 For example, the Krisni Stab of Sanski Most (which is characteristic of other districts) consisted of the Mayor, the Chairman of the Serbian Democratic Party, the leader of the Serbian Democratic Party and the Commander of the Sixth Krajina Brigade.return to text

*37 The evidence obtained in this study is the most specific and detailed of all the Commission’s investigations. It was delivered to the Office of the Deputy Prosecutor of the International Tribunal along with other Commission material (see annex IV).return to text

*38 See, for example, a special study undertaken by the Bolzmann Institute of Human Rights (Austria) for the Commission which evidences this conclusion. The study is incorporated in annex IV.return to text

*39 Prior to the autumn of 1992, the Army of the ``Bosnian Serb Republic'' was referred to as the ``Bosnian-Serb Army'' (BSA). return to text

*40 Command responsibility by commission and by omission exists (see paras. 55 - 60), even though the policy of ``ethnic cleansing'' is carried out in a way which tends to conceal the responsibility of superiors in the political and military hierarchy through a structural separation of army, militia, police and special forces (discussed in paras. 110 - 128). Considering, however, the extent of these violations, the vast areas over which they occurred and the length of time over which they took place, it is difficult to conceive how responsible commanders can claim ignorance of the violations that have occurred.return to text

*41 This conversion kept local JNA military personnel in Bosnia and Herzegovina, using substantially the same equipment of the former JNA, and thereafter receiving support from Serbia across the Drina River.return to text

*42 Serbs have inhabited the Krajina area and eastern and western Slavonia since the late 1300s and have had a particular historic presence since 1578. But during the Second World War, the Ustachi regime killed a large number of Serbs, whose numbers ranged from a low of 200,000 to a high of 700,000 most of them from these regions. The memory of this tragedy looms large over the apprehensions of Serbs and is a factor in the spiral of violence that took place in the region.return to text

*43 Most of Vukovar was razed to the ground. One incident, in particular, will forever symbolize this terrible battle. It is the mass grave at Ovcara, where some 200 plus Croats are believed to have been taken by Serbs from the Vukovar Hospital and summarily executed and then left in a shallow mass grave. The Commission conducted several reconnaissance missions to the areas, discovered the existence of a large number of bodies, collected some evidence and started to exhume the bodies in October 1993. Representatives of the ``local Serbian administration'' prevented the Commission from continuing its work. The Commission could not undertake the Ov ara and other mass graves investigations. However, before it was obliged to terminate its work, all of the relevant evidence was communicated to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Tribunal. (For more detail see paras. 265 - 276 and annexes X, X.A and X.B.)return to text

*44 They are related to the so-called ``Herzeg-Bosna Republic''. Under the February 1994 Washington Agreement between leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and Croat leaders from Bosnia and Herzegovina who are part of the so-called ``Republic of Herzeg- Bosna'', a federation is to be developed within Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was furthered by the Agreement reached between these two groups on 18 March 1994 and signals a positive transformation, hopefully leading to peace between the parties. return to text

*45 Even though that conflict ended in January 1992, violence has continued since then. The evidence secured by the Commission, along with other evidence obtained from UNPROFOR concerning the destruction of the village of Medak in October 1993, was delivered to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Tribunal. On 19 March 1994, another agreement was reached between the Republic of Croatia and the so- called ``Serb Republic of Krajina''. (For the Medak study see annex VII.)return to text

*46 This is evidenced by the Croatian Defence Council and Croatian police attacks on the villages of Ahmici-Vitez and Stupni Do in 1993. These attacks would be characterized as representing a certain policy. The first was investigated by the European Community Monitoring Mission and Mr. Mazowiecki, the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights. The second was investigated by UNPROFOR. All evidence was delivered to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Tribunal.return to text

*47 See annex V.return to text

*48 See annex VI. The study on the battle and siege of Sarajevo presents a daily chronology, documenting events in the city from 5 April 1992 to 28 February 1994. The chronology is based on incidents reported in the database, other source materials and media reports. It details, in so far as information is available: daily combat and shelling activity; specific identified targets hit; known damage to targets hit; sniping activity; and total casualties reported. The chronology also contains a narrative of daily military activities and local and international events relating to the battle and siege. The purpose of the chronology is to describe the events and consequences of the battle and siege of Sarajevo and to determine patterns of violations of humanitarian law.return to text

*49 There are indications that early in the siege and until late May 1992, the Yugoslav Army (JNA) was involved in the fighting in Sarajevo. Bosnian officials frequently charged that JNA tanks joined Bosnian-Serb forces in barrages, and that the JNA provided the Bosnian-Serb forces with logistical support and protection. In April 1992, the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina requested the withdrawal of all JNA forces from its soil. The Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia announced that it would withdraw from Bosnia and Herzegovina troops that were not residents of the Republic. Since most of the JNA troops in Bosnia and Herzegovina were Bosnian Serbs, the withdrawal of other troops had limited impact on the Serbian forces, as an estimated 80,000 Yugoslav soldiers were transferred with their equipment to the ``Serb Republic of Bosnia''. return to text

*50 It has been observed that the besieging forces have often increased their artillery attacks on Bosnian Government-controlled areas of the city prior to and during international peace conferences or other negotiations. One explanation for this increased shelling activity is that the besieging forces are using the siege of Sarajevo presumably as a means to politically pressure the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina to agree to terms which are important to the Bosnian-Serbs.return to text

*51 It has been observed that the besieging forces have on many occasions increased shell fire in reaction to statements made by local political leaders. It has also been observed that the besieging forces seem to calculate events and the risks that they can take in relation to threats by third-party Governments and organizations. In this regard, when threats by third-party Governments or organizations are not perceived as immediate, the besieging forces increase or continue their shelling of the city. For example, Sarajevo was hit with a siege-high 3,777 shells on 22 July 1993 after the United States ruled out direct intervention to prevent the shelling of the city. The opposite behaviour was observed in August 1993, when President Clinton warned that the United States would consider bombing Serbian forces if the shelling of Sarajevo continued. When this threat appeared immediate, the attacks on Sarajevo diminished and Serbian troops were withdrawn from the surrounding mountains to the south- west. Likewise in reaction to the ultimatum by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on 9 February 1994, which gave Bosnian Serb forces 10 days to withdraw their heavy weapons or face heavy airstrikes, the besieging forces substantially complied and curtailed their shelling of the city. This behaviour suggests that there is a centralized command and control of the besieging forces and that when there is pressure for the shelling to stop, it does. return to text

*52 See annex VI.A.return to text

*53 This research was conducted on the basis of information available in the database and reported in paras. 183 - 193. For a daily chronology, see annex VI.return to text

*54 See annex VII.return to text

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