Document - UA 55/93 - Bosnia-Herzegovina: "disappearance" / fear of deliberate and arbitrary killings: around 25 men, including: Adem Alomerovic, Rasim Coric, Fevzija Zekovic, Fikret Memovic, Najazija Kajevic, Esad Kapetanovic, Ismet Babicic, Samir Rastoder, Senad D









EXTERNAL (for general distribution)AI Index: EUR 63/06/93

Distr: UA/SC


UA 55/93"Disappearance"/3 March 1993

Fear of deliberate and arbitrary killings


BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA:Around 25 men including:

Adem Alomerović

Rasim Ćorić

Fevzija Zeković

Fikret Memović

Najazija Kajević

Esad Kapetanović

Ismet Babićić

Samir Rastoder

Senad Djecević

Halil Zupčević




Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of some 25 men, including those named above, who were abducted from a train on 27 February 1993 at the village of Štrpci (which lies just inside Bosnia-Herzegovina) by uniformed and armed men and whose present whereabouts are unknown.


The men were travelling on a passenger train on the line from Belgrade (the capital of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) to Bar (a port in Montenegro). About 10 km of this line runs through the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in an area which is under the control of Serbian forces. According to the limited information available, the armed men wore the uniforms of the police (possibly the military police) of the self-proclaimed "Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina". After entering the train they reportedly checked passengers' identity cards and then forcibly removed about 25 men (some reports have stated as many as 40) who were then taken away in lorries.


The men named above are reportedly Muslims from Prijepolje, Bijelo Polje, Bar and Podgorica in Montenegro. One of them, Halil Zupčević, is said to be a refugee from Trebinje in Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, it appears that the abducted men also include Serbs from Bosnia-Herzegovina, who had previously taken refuge in the Republic of Serbia. It is thought that the reason for their abduction may have been to punish them for failing to take up arms with Serbian forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina.


The governments of Serbia and Montenegro have expressed their condemnation of these abductions and have announced that measures have been taken to find the men who have disappeared. However, authorities in the nearby Serbian town of Užice reportedly gave no official response to journalists' inquiries about the incident, on the grounds that the abduction had taken place on the territory of another state.


BACKGROUND INFORMATION

This incident follows a pattern similar to a previous abduction of 17 Muslims from the Sandžak area in October 1992 (see UA 356/92, EUR 70/02/92, 16 November 1992). In both cases the abductors were reportedly armed Serbs, although in this most recent incident, unlike the first, the victims reportedly include Serbs. The Sandžak region, with a population of between 350,000 and 440,000 (over half Slav Muslims) includes border areas of Serbia and Montenegro and adjoins Bosnia-Herzegovina.


Since the outbreak of hostilities in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the situation in the Sandžak has been tense and local leaders have warned of the danger that Sandžak might be drawn into the Bosnian conflict. Muslim leaders have pointed to the presence of armed paramilitaries from Serbia, Serbian-held territories of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro in the area, and to the increasingly frequent reports of the intimidation of local Muslims, including physical attacks. Large numbers of Muslims have fled the area

because local authorities have been unable, or unwilling, to guarantee their safety. At Page 2 of UA 55/93

the same time, a considerable number of Muslim refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina have come into the region. In October 1992 the Chief of General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia claimed that 15,000 Muslims in the Sandžak had armed themselves; other sources in Serbia claim that over 1,500 Sandžak Muslims have joined Muslim forces fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Muslim leaders have denied this.


RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send texes/faxes/express and airmail letters either in English, French, German or in your own language:

- expressing concern at the reported "disappearance" of some 25 men, including both Muslims and Serbs, following their abduction from a train crossing Serbian-held territory in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina on 27 February 1993. Stating that reports indicate that they were abducted by members of Serbian forces from Bosnia-Herzegovina;


- urging the fullest cooperation by military, police and judicial authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Republic of Serbia and representatives of the Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina with a view to the rapid release of the abducted men if they are detained, or, if this is not the case, clarification of their fate;


- urging that those responsible for their abduction be detained and brought to justice;


- urging that appropriate measures be taken to guarantee the safety of civilians travelling in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, whose route obliges them to cross Serbian-held territory of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.


APPEALS TO

1) Representative of the Bosnian Serbs:

Dr Radovan KaradžićSalutation: Dear Dr Karadžić

Biro Republike Srpske

Moše Pijade 8

11000 Beograd, Yugoslavia

Faxes: + 38 11 338 633


2) Commander of Serbian forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina:

General Ratko Mladić

Biro Republike SrpskeSalutation: Dear General Mladić

Moše Pijade 8

11000 Beograd, Yugoslavia

Faxes: + 38 11 338 633


3) President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Head of State:

Prof. dr Dobrica Ćosić

Predsednik SRJ Salutation: Dear President Ćosić

Bulevar Lenjina 2

11070 Beograd, Yugoslavia

Telexes: 11062 siv yu

Faxes: + 38-11-636 775


4)Chief of General Staff of the Army of Yugoslavia:

General Života Panić

Načelnik Generalštaba Vojske JugoslavijeSalutation: Dear General Panić

Kneza Miloša 37,

Beograd, Yugoslavia


COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:

1) Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia:

Zoran Sokolović

Ministar unutrašnjih poslova Republike Srbije

Kneza Miloša 101

11000 Beograd, Yugoslavia

Faxes: +38 11 683 041

2) Federal Minister for Human Rights and National Minorities:

Savezni ministar za ljudska prava i nacionalne manjine

Dr Momčilo Grubač

Bulevar Lenjina 2

11070 Beograd, Yugoslavia

Faxes: + 38 11 636 775 or + 38 11 195 244and to diplomatic representatives of Yugoslavia accredited to your country


PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 15 April 1993.

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