war_crimes - 68368 - 07.04.2012 : Yugoslav Government Beograd - (0)
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA
R E P O R T
SUBMITTED TO THE COMMISSION OF EXPERTS ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO SECURITY
COUNCIL RESOLUTION 780 (1992)
BH - Bosnia and Herzegovina
ECMM - European Commission Monitoring Mission
HDZ - Croatian Democratic Union
HOS - Croatian Armed Forces
JNA - Yugoslav People's Army
POWs - Prisoners of War
TANJUG - Yugoslav News Agency
UNPA - United Nations Protected Area
UNPROFOR - United Nations Protection Force
ZNG - Croatian National Guard (Army)
I N T R O D U C T I O N
In response to the requirement contained in paragraph 1 of Security Council resolution 780 of 5 October 1992, the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia submits its Report on the violations of humanitarian law, including breaches of the Geneva Conventions, being committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
The Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia supports the establishment of an impartial Commission of Experts to collate, examine and analyse information relating to grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and other violations of humanitarian law.
The Government of the FR of Yugoslavia considers that it is of the utmost importance for further political solution of the crisis in the territory of the former Yugoslavia to establish all relevant information relating to armed conflicts and violence, particularly those relating to grave violations of the law of war and humanitarian law. The first and principal precondition for any future stability in the region and for relations among the new States which have emerged as a result of separation from Yugoslavia, as well as for further relations among its peoples is to determine responsibility for acts of violence, destruction, the suffering and violent death of a large number of the population.
The submitted Report describes gross violations of the law of war and of international humanitarian law, being perpetrated from the outbreak of conflicts in the Republic of Slovenia to date. The listed cases are based on documentary evidence gathered by Government authorities, non-governmental organizations and associations, and on reports of reliable news agencies. Documents for each of the listed cases are available to the Commission of Experts for its further study. In some of them proceedings are pending before the competent judicial authorities.
In an effort to submit the Report within the initial period of 30 days of the adoption of the resolution, it was not possible to include many other cases constituting or indicating equally grave breaches of the law of war conventions and violations of humanitarian law.
The Government authorities of the FR of Yugoslavia are in possession of the records and documents of the former SFR of Yugoslavia, containing information on the crimes against international law and perpetrators of such crimes and sanctioned, in accordance with international law, in the legislation of the SFR of Yugoslavia, which brought about the armed conflicts in Slovenia and, later on, in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The documents cover the period which preceded their international recognition and when the SFR of Yugoslavia, as an internationally recognized State, exercised power on its entire territory. The documents reveal the relationship between causes and effects, the instigators and executioners in the events which escalated into subsequent gross violations of international humanitarian law and into war crimes. The FR of Yugoslavia will make these documents available to the Security Council Commission of Experts as well.
Enclosed is just a fraction of eyewitness evidence supplied by Yugoslav and foreign reporters. Such evidence is plenty, and some of it will be provided with all relevant information in future supplements to the present Report.
Over half a million of refugees fleeing the war and terror in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina have found shelter in the FR of Yugoslavia. Most of them are either eye witnesses or victims of violations of humanitarian law themselves. They witnessed killings, expulsions and other crimes committed against their close relatives, civilians and members of the armed forces of the SFR of Yugoslavia. The Government authorities and non-governmental organizations of the FR of Yugoslavia will continue to make this evidence available to the Commission of Experts and to the international public at large.
The work on the collection and systematic compilation of information on the war crimes committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia is exceptionally complex. Two criteria have been taken into account in their systematic compilation: on the one hand, the war crimes have been classified according to the sources of the law of war and humanitarian law, and, on the other, according to the nature of the armed conflicts in the territory of the former Yugoslavia and under the provisions of the national criminal legislation of the former SFR of Yugoslavia.
Bearing in mind the nature and types of the crimes committed, the international legal basis for the punishment of these crimes perpetrated in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, which are mostly the Geneva Conventions for the Protection of War Victims (1949) and the Protocols I and II Additional to the Geneva Conventions (1977), should be supplemented by the provisions of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948), the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages (1979) and the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954). All these Conventions have been ratified by the former SFR of Yugoslavia.
In view of the types of breaches of international legal precepts contained in the principle sources of international humanitarian law, the crimes committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia can be classified into the following categories:
I) Wilful killing of civilians;
II) Wilful killing of detainees - POWs;
III) Inhuman treatment of civilians;
IV) Inhuman treatment of detainees - POWs;
V) Wilful killing and inhuman treatment of wounded and sick persons;
VI) Hostage-taking and detention camps;
VII) Wanton devastation and destruction of property;
VIII) Devastation of places of worship, cemeteries, cultural and historical monuments;
IX) Ethnic cleansing.
The inhuman killing of civilians, wounded and sick persons and detainees - POWs (this distinction is necessary to make because of the change in the legal characteristics of the armed conflict) is a very widespread form of the law of war and humanitarian law violations. As a rule, the killings were carried out in groups, seldom individually. In a number of cases, the groups were mixed. The victims were usually tortured and humiliated before execution. Particularly abhorrent were the massacres committed in Bjelovar (a large number of regular JNA soldiers were taken prisoner in the local barracks), in Gospic (at least 24), on the Korana river bridge in Karlovac (13 regular JNA members), in Borovo Selo (civilians), on the Kupres plateau (civilians and detainees on several occasions), in the village of Milici (civilians), etc.
The recent reports on mass graves near Vukovar, as referred to in the report of the Human Rights Commission's Special Rapporteur Tadeusz Mazowiecky of 28 October 1992, are still to be checked in order to ascertain whether there were systematic killings of civilians by the parties to the conflict as reprisals or for other motives or whether victims were killed in combat which lasted in that area for a very long time and was heavy.
Instances of inhuman treatment of civilians, the wounded and sick persons and detainees - POWs are also abundant. Women of all ages were raped and forcibly taken to brothels where they were abused by members of the armed forces and detainees - POWs were forced to make false statements for TV programmes and newspaper reports and subjected to various other physical or mental abuses.
The inhumane conditions of detention, in which civilians belonging to various ethnic groups were, frequently held with detainees - POWs, were often dangerous to their lives and harmful for their physical and mental health. Cases in point are the camps in the Bradina tunnel, in Trnopolje, Tomislavgrad, Sarajevo, Konjic and Mostar. The fate of many detainees in the camps in Herzegovina, for instance, is uncertain even today. Over 2, 000 Serbs detained in these camps have disappeared and their fate is unknown. Detained civilians were often used for massive exchanges of POWs which departed from some of the international legal rules: they were exchanged for perpetrators of very serious crimes who had either been tried or had not been brought to trial at all (those responsible for the massacre on the Korana River bridge in Karlovac, perpetrators of many murders in Vukovar and others).
Wanton devastation and destruction of property were carried out by the members of all military and paramilitary forces on the battle front across Croatia, and especially in Bosnia-Herzegovina. These were the wilful devastation and destruction related to ethnic cleansing in areas with mixed populations. Simply, homes were razed to prevent their fleeing owners from ever coming back. The main yardstick was the ethnicity of former inhabitants. This is a re-run of the gruesome events begun by the Independent State of Croatia in World War Two with the exception that in danger today are also Moslems, Croats and others.
The same is true of their systematic destruction of places of worship, cemeteries and cultural and historical monuments. Many such important monuments in western Slavonia and eastern Herzegovina no longer exist (Cathedral church in Mostar, Zitomislic monastery and others).
Ethnic cleansing as a grave violation of international humanitarian law under the provisions of Article 147 of the Geneva Conventions relative to the Protection of Civilians in Time of War (deportation and transfer of protected prisoners and wanton devastation and destruction of property are aimed at ruling out any possibility of deportees or displaced persons returning to their homes in the distant or near future), has taken large-scale proportions in the armed conflicts in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The documents on war crimes submitted to the Commission contained only the most serious cases of massive ethnic cleansing for which it is reasonable to assume to contain the elements of the crime of genocide.
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