S/1994/674 - 27 May 1994

Letter dated 24 May 1994 from the Secretary-General
to the President of the Security Council

By its resolution 780 (1992) of 6 October 1992, the Security Council requested me to establish a Commission of Experts to examine and analyse information gathered with a view to providing the Secretary-General with its conclusions on the evidence of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and other violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. On 26 October 1992 I appointed a five-member Commission, chaired by Professor Frits Kalshoven and, following the latter's resignation, by Professor Cherif Bassiouni. My report on the establishment of the Commission of Experts was submitted to the Council on 14 October 1992 (S/24657).

The Commission commenced its activities in November 1992 and concluded its work in April 1994. During this period it has held 12 sessions and conducted a series of studies and on-site investigations, using for that purpose offers of assistance from Governments and non- governmental organizations. The Commission also established a database designed to provide a comprehensive record of all reported grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and other violations of international humanitarian law. The two interim reports of the Commission, describing the status of its work and its preliminary conclusions were forwarded to the Security Council in my letters of 9 February 1993 (S/25274) and 5 October 1993 (S/26545).

The final report of the Commission includes a survey of the Commission's work since its inception, its mandate, structure and methods of work, its views on selected legal issues of particular significance in the context of the former Yugoslavia, a general study on the military structure of the ``warring factions'' and the strategies and tactics employed by them, and substantive findings on alleged crimes of ``ethnic cleansing'', genocide and other massive violations of elementary dictates of humanity, rape and sexual assault and destruction of cultural property committed in various parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On the basis of the information gathered, examined and analysed, the Commission has concluded that grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and other violations of international humanitarian law have been committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia on a large scale, and were particularly brutal and ferocious in their execution. The practice of so-called ``ethnic cleansing'' and rape and sexual assault, in particular, have been carried out by some of the parties so systematically that they strongly appear to be the product of a policy, which may also be inferred from the consistent failure to prevent the commission of such crimes and to prosecute and punish their perpetrators.

The final report includes several annexes containing reports of investigations and studies, which as a whole constitute an integral part of the report. In his letter to me of 6 May 1994, the Chairman of the Commission requested that the annexes be published, although for cost purposes and given their volume (approximately 3,000 pages) it was suggested that they be published in English only and funded from the remaining surplus in the Trust Fund of the Commission of Experts.

I have examined the final report carefully, and I fully concur with the conclusions reached by the Commission. I, therefore, consider that the Commission has discharged its mandate entrusted to it by the Security Council in its resolution 780 (1992), and I am confident that the material collected and analysed by the Commission will greatly facilitate the task of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991 in carrying out its mandate. Upon my instructions, the database and all of the information gathered by the Commission in the course of its work have been forwarded to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Tribunal.

In accordance with paragraph 4 of Security Council resolution 780 (1992), I hereby transmit to the Council the final report of the Commission of Experts established pursuant to Security Council resolution 780 (1992). The annexes will be forwarded to members of the Council as soon as they become available.

(Signed) Boutros BOUTROS-GHALI

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