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Croatia: Further information on fear of ill-treatment / fear of extrajudicial execution: Serbs in areas retaken by Croatian forces

, رقم الوثيقة: EUR 64/009/1995

AI is still gravely concerned for the safety of Serbs remaining in the Krajina region, as reports continue of extrajudical executions, ill-treatment and acts of intimidation perpetrated by the Croatian forecs. This concern is further heightened by the poor security conditions in the area. An Amnesty International delegation which visited the area around the town of Knin recently found the small and largely elderly Serbian population living in a situation of fear and great insecurity.

EXTERNAL AI Index: EUR 64/09/95
5 October 1995
Further information on UA 220/95 (EUR 64/05/95, 15 September) - Fear of
ill-treatment / Fear of extrajudicial execution
CROATIASerbs in areas retaken by Croatian Forces
Amnesty International is still gravely concerned for the safety of Serbs
remaining in the Krajina, as reports continue of extrajudicial executions,
ill-treatment and acts of intimidation perpetrated against them by Croatian
forces. This concern is further heightened by the poor security conditions
in the area.
An Amnesty International delegation which recently visited the area around
the town of Knin found the small and largely elderly Serbian population living
in an situation of fear and great insecurity. In most villages, substantial
numbers of houses have been burnt by soldiers or rendered uninhabitable. In
some cases the residents are living among rotting animal carcasses and even
human corpses. The residents reported a continuing presence of soldiers or
armed civilians and very infrequent patrols by civilian police, a situation
also apparent to the Amnesty International delegation. The absence of
telephones and private or public transport means that they are dependent on
the United Nations (UN) presence in the area to report incidents.
The most serious recent incident occurred on 28 September when nine or more
ethnic Serbs, aged between 66 and 84, were killed by three or four men in military
uniforms in the village of Varivode. UN personnel who went to investigate
reportedly found eight houses in the village spattered with blood and a 15-metre
trail of blood near another house. Blood stains were found on the wall of another
house with fragments of human hair and skin. The names of nine people from
the village have been found on recent graves in the Knin cemetery, 25 kilometres
from the town.
Among incidents reported to the Amnesty International delegation was one of
an 82-year-old woman from the Mokro Polje area near Knin. On 18 September,
four men wearing green military uniforms came into her house. One soldier
pushed the barrel of his rifle against her lips and shouted to her to open
her mouth. After she pushed the barrel away a second held a knife to her throat
and demanded money. Meanwhile the other two men searched her house looking
for things to steal, but found nothing they wanted to take. On or around the
same day another woman of the same age reported that she was made to strip
naked at knife-point in her home by a single camouflage-uniformed soldier who
demanded money.
In the hamlet of Stoli_i near Knin an 84-year-old, partially deaf and blind
man told Amnesty International that on 12 September two armed Croatian soldiers
came to his house and asked whether he had any weapons. As they left they threw
hand grenades into the house while he was inside. One exploded in the kitchen,
causing him light injuries, another in the hall, and a third in the bathroom.
These reports of intimidation and killings come on top of many others reported
to UN personnel, Amnesty International and other local and international
organizations visiting the area. Bodies of people with indications that they
were unlawfully killed, such as bullet wounds to the head or knife wounds to
the throat, continue to be discovered in ones and twos. It is difficult to
establish when some of these killings occurred. Many appear to have occurred
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during the initial military action in early August, but others, such as the
incident in Varivode have occurred more recently.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail
letters in English, German, Italian, French or in your own language:
- expressing concern about the continued reports that members of the Croatian
armed forces may have committed extrajudicial executions, citing the examples
of the killings in Varivode;
- expressing further concern about the continued harassment and ill-treatment
of ethnic Serbs by members of the Croatian Armed forces, citing the examples
of the man in Stoli_i and the woman in Mokro Polje;
- calling on the authorities to issue strict orders to soldiers and police
to refrain from acts of intimidation against civilians;
- calling for urgent steps to improve the security situation for the remaining
Serbian population in the former UN Protected Areas Sectors North and South,
by drastically increasing the civilian police presence, and by ensuring that
all individuals are given effective and visible protection;
- calling for thorough, impartial and independent investigations to be carried
out into any allegations of human rights violations which have been perpetrated
and for those suspected of perpetrating such violations to be brought to justice.
APPEALS TO:
(Minister of Internal Affairs)
Mr Ivan Jarnjak
Ministar
Ministarstvo za unutrašnje poslove Republike Hrvatske
Savska cesta 39
10000 Zagreb
Croatia
Telegrams: Ministar za unutrasnje poslove, Zagreb, Croatia
Faxes: +385 1 443 715
Salutation: Dear Minister
(Minister of Defence)
Mr Gojko Sušak
Ministarstvo za narodnu obranu Republike Hrvatske
Trg Kralja Krešimira IV 1
10000 Zagreb
Croatia
Telegrams: Ministar za narodnu obranu, Zagreb, Croatia
Faxes: +385 1 432 415; +385 1 4550 236
Salutation: Dear Minister
(Deputy-Premier - Deputy President of the Croatian Government, responsible
for Human Rights Issues)
Dr Ivica Kostovi_
Zamjenik Predsjednika vlade Republike Hrvatske
Trg Stjepana Radi_a 7
10000 Zagreb
Croatia
Telegrams: Zamjenik Predsjednika, Zagreb, Croatia
Faxes: +385 1 4550 284
Salutation: Dear Minister
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Croatia accredited to your country.
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PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 20 November 1995.

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