United Nations
Security Council

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

    1. Detention facilities
      1. Bosnian Government camps
      2. Bosnian-Croat, Croatian Defence Council, Croatian Government and Croatian Army camps
      3. ``Bosnian Serb Republic'' camps
    2. Rape and other forms of sexual assault
      1. Rape and sexual assault study: the Commission's database
      2. Pilot study on rape
      3. Rape and other forms of sexual assault: interviewing victims and witnesses
    3. Mass graves
    4. Investigation of grave sites at Ovcara near Vukovar (UNPA, Sector East, Croatia)
    5. Investigation of grave sites near Pakracka Poljana (UNPA, Sector West, Croatia)
    6. Destruction of cultural property
    7. Dubrovnik investigation
    8. Radiological investigation (UNPA, Sector West)


E. Detention facilities *55

F. Rape and other forms of sexual assault *59

G. Mass graves *73

H. Investigation of grave sites at Ovcara near Vukovar (UNPA, Sector East, Croatia) *79a

I. Investigation of grave sites near Pakracka Poljana (UNPA, Sector West, Croatia) *80

J. Destruction of cultural property

K. Dubrovnik investigation *83

L. Radiological investigation (UNPA, Sector West) *84


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*55 See annex VIII. See also reports of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe: Report of the Thompson CSCE mission to the detention camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina (see S/24583); Report of the mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to Croatia (composed of Mr. H. Corell, Mr. H. Tuerk and Ms. Gro Hillestad Thune) under the Moscow Human Dimension Mechanism of the CSCE (30 September-5 October 1992). return to text

*56 ICRC information on this subject has not been made available to the Commission, as the ICRC deemed it to be confidential.return to text

*57 Annex VIII contains details that support and amplify the ensuing summary.return to text

*58 During a mission of the Commission to Tuzla, the medical personnel of the hospital reported a large number of rapes, with the victims ranging in age from 5 to 81 years old. The Commission has not been able, however, to verify these allegations.return to text

*59 See annexes IX and IX.A.return to text

*60 See E/CN.4/1993/50. The fears of victims are both real to them and weigh heavily on their decision to speak out about their traumatic victimization.return to text

*61 See annex IX. The figures reported below are approximate because, notwithstanding careful scrutiny, some of the reported incidents may be repeated.return to text

*62 In some reports, numbers are supplied instead of names to protect the identity of the victims. However, the submitting party has the true identity of the victim on file.return to text

*63 Other factors perhaps contributing to the correlation may include: the fact that some mass movements of people involved in ``ethnic cleansing'' had already occurred; or that mass media attention and insensitive treatment of victims combined with ``fatigue'' among victims resulted in a decline in the number of reported rapes. Alternatively, the public simply became less interested in the issue, and journalists stopped pursuing the stories.return to text

*64 The Commission met with a Sarajevo medical team concerned with the care of rape victims and spoke with two teen-age rape victims during its visit in April.return to text

*65 This investigation of rape and other sexual assaults was conducted by the Commission with 11 teams of female lawyers (from Finland, the United States, Canada, Bangladesh and Ireland), who conducted interviews, and 8 female (and 2 male) mental health specialists (from the United States), who worked to support the process. The professional members of the teams volunteered their time to this investigation. This is the first time that such an investigation has been conducted in time of war by women seeking to determine the facts about rape and other forms of sexual assault (see annex IX.A). It is noteworthy that, notwithstanding the understandable fears and apprehensions of the victims and witnesses, 223 of them voluntarily agreed to speak to the Commission's team of interviewers. Every member of the team first approached interviewees with expressions of human solidarity and concern. Invariably to such traumatized victims, the mere fact that a United Nations body tangibly expressed its concern for them was comforting and uplifting. Almost all interviewees expressed their appreciation to the interviewers in the warmest ways. If nothing else, this unique investigation brought some human comfort and support to these victims. During the last few days of interviewing, the Commission's field officers received an average of 15 calls a day from victims and witnesses wanting to meet an interviewer. Unfortunately, the investigation had to be concluded on 31 March, because the Commission had to end its work on 30 April 1994. Phase I of the investigation took place in Croatia. Phase II took place in third countries, such as Slovenia and Austria. It was not possible to conduct an investigation in the territory of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, as the Commission had requested from that Government. Interviews which provided information about other violations of international humanitarian law are dealt with in other relevant chapters of the present report. Investigations were also conducted in Austria and Sweden for the Commission, but their results are not included in the present summary because of special confidentiality considerations.return to text

*66 One victim reported an attempted rape in her home. return to text

*67 This number does not include rapes witnessed by rape victims themselves.return to text

*68 In addition to the cases of rape and sexual assault, the interviews gathered important information regarding mass executions and mass torture, particularly in the detention camp context. return to text

*69 As stated in footnote 65 above, the Commission had the opportunity to pursue further interviews in Croatia. In addition, the Government of Turkey invited the Commission to conduct interviews in that country. However, the Commission could not do either, because it was required to conclude its work by 30 April 1994.return to text

*70 The patterns have been identified for the purposes of analysis only and, to some extent, they overlap. Thus, some cases illustrate more than one pattern, while, on the other hand, not all cases fall within these five categories identified. The use of these interviews as illustrations is not a definitive characterization of the type of rape in question, as in some cases further investigation is needed. return to text

*71 Out of the 514 allegations which are included in the database, 327 occurred in places of detention. return to text

*72 It should be noted that several victims have reported acts of courage and generosity by Serbs who tried and at times succeeded in saving and sparing victims from death, torture and rape. Such acts should be acknowledged and recognized. return to text

*73 See annex X. return to text

*74 Multiple reports of graves containing different information regarding location or number of bodies, while possibly involving some duplication, have been included since there is no means of ascertaining whether the reports refer to the same grave or different ones.return to text

*75 For example, there are at least nine reported grave sites in north-west Bosnia and Herzegovina which may contain both Muslim and Croat victims. These grave sites are located in Brisevo, Raljas, Stara Rijeka, Redak, Ljubija, Volaric, Jubovci, Biscani- Sredice and the Kurevo Forest. return to text

*76 This would occur in an instance where two factions were fighting one another, civilians were killed, and their neighbours had no choice but to bury them in mass graves, owing to time, sanitary or safety considerations. return to text

*77 Among these are: Ovcara, allegedly containing civilians and wounded Croatian soldiers taken from the Vukovar Hospital (see paras. 265 - 276); Pakra ka Poljana, where the Commission found 19 bodies after conducting investigations in October and November of 1993 (see paras. 277 - 284) and Marino Selo, where the Commission has received information regarding a mass grave containing as many as 2,500 bodies (see paras. 277 - 284 and annexes X, X.A, X.B). return to text

*78 First Geneva Convention, art. 17; Third Geneva Convention, art. 120; Fourth Geneva Convention, art. 129; Protocol I, art. 34. return to text

*79 For a more detailed discussion of the issue of missing persons, see E/CN.4/1994/26/Add.1. return to text

*79a See annex X.B.return to text

*80 See annex X.B. return to text

*81 Other information on destruction of cultural property is contained in annexes XI and XI.A. The battle and siege of Sarajevo (paras. 183 - 193) and particularly annex VI reveal significant and purposeful destruction of cultural and religious monuments in Sarajevo. return to text

*82 Communique dated 22 September 1993 from the Zagreb Foreign Press Bureau. The Commission considers that the Croatian Army bears some responsibility in this matter. return to text

*83 See annex XI.A. return to text

*84 See annex XII. return to text

*85 See also, inter alia, the Advisory Opinion of the Arbitration Commission of the European Communities' Conference on the former Yugoslavia, opinion No. 2, 11 January 1992; opinion No. 3, 11 January 1992; opinion No. 4, 11 January 1992; opinion No. 5, 11 January 1992; opinion No. 11, 11 January 1992. return to text

*86 The sources of information are described in paras. 20 - 24. return to text

*87 The territory over which most of the victimization occurred had a population base of an estimated 6 million persons, of whom 1.5 to 2 million are now refugees in more than 20 countries. Most of them were deported or forced to leave and are unable to return. The civilian and military casualties among all warring factions are reported to exceed 200,000. The number of reported mass graves, 150, discussed in paras. 254 - 264, tends to support the estimates of the number of casualties. Over 700 prison camps and detention facilities are reported to have existed (see paras. 216 - 231). The number of detainees and reports on mistreated prisoners, in for example, the Prijedor area alone exceeds 6,000 (see paras. 151 - 182). As stated in paragraph 153 concerning the Prijedor area, ``the total number of killed and deported persons as of June 1993 is 52,811''. The rape and sexual assault study and investigation discussed in paragraphs 232 - 253 suggests a very high number of rapes and sexual assaults in custodial and non- custodial settings (see also para. 229). Thus, the earlier projection of 20,000 rapes made by other sources are not unreasonable considering the number of actual reported cases. return to text

*88 Establishing the truth is the best method of enhancing deterrence. In fact, early investigation of the facts, in any context of criminal activity, increases the effectiveness of future prosecution. The combination of investigation and prosecution makes deterrence more effective, thereby reducing possible violations in the future. Without effective investigations and prosecutions, the converse is true. return to text

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