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UA 318/93 - Bosnia-Herzegovina: deliberate and arbitrary detentions of civilians / fear of torture, ill-treatment and deliberate and arbitrary killings: detained Croatian and Serbian civilians and captured combatants in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

, Index number: EUR 63/019/1993

There is concern at the detention of Croatian and Serbian civilians, and the ill-treatment to which they, with captured combatants, may have been exposed. According to figures released on 8 September by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), around 650 Serbs and 579 Croats are being held by Bosnian Government forces in 24 detention centres in the region. A report by the UN Special Rapporteur on 6 September refers to the detention of Croat and Serbian civilians in Vrapcici, an area of Mostar. They have allegedly been used as "human shields" and for forced labour close to the front lines. Croatian sources allege that 3,400 Croats are held in Bugojno, and 900 soldiers and civilians are detained in Jablanica. In Mostar, 163 soldiers are also being held.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 63/19/93
Distr: UA/SC
UA 318/93 Deliberate and arbitrary detentions of 10 September 1993
civilians/fear of torture, ill-treatment
and deliberate and arbitrary killings
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: Detained Croatian and Serbian civilians and captured
combatants in Bosnia-Herzegovina
Amnesty International is concerned about the detention of Croatian and Serbian
civilians and the ill-treatment to which they, together with captured
combatants, may have been exposed in central Bosnia-Herzegovina.
According to figures released on 8 September 1993 by the International Committee
of the Red Cross (ICRC), around 650 Serbs and 579 Croats are being held by
Bosnian Government forces in 24 detention centres in the region. Reports also
indicate the existence of other detention centres to which international
agencies have not had access, although this may be partly due to fighting in
the area.
Bosnian Croat army commanders have claimed that around 3,400 Croats are being
held by Bosnian Government forces in Bugojno, central Bosnia, and that 900
soldiers and civilians are being detained in Jablanica (both in central Bosnia).
One hundred and sixty-three soldiers are also being held in Mostar in the south.
A report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur for former Yugoslavia of
6 September refers to the detention of Croat and Serb civilians in Vrap_i_i
in, the area of Mostar controlled by Government forces. They have allegedly
been used as "human shields" and for forced labour close to the front-lines.
According to Croatian sources, Croats are also being held in other detention
camps, namely that of Šenkovi_i near Novi Travnik. Amnesty has also learnt
of the possible detentions of Serbs in Gora_de, Tuzla and Tar_in (where Croats
may also be held).
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The majority of detentions recorded by the ICRC in 1992 were of Muslims and
Croats by Bosnian Serbs. Despite large-scale releases there are fears that
an unknown number of people are still being held. The Bosnian Government and
Bosnian Croat forces have also detained smaller numbers of Serbs. Bosnian Croat
forces and the mainly Muslim Bosnian Government forces were formerly in an
uneasy alliance against the Serbs. Since the almost total collapse of this
alliance in May 1993, many of the locations used by these two sides last year
to detain Serbs have been used to detain Croats and Muslims respectively.
By 20 August, the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) which organizes the Croatian
forces with the support of the Republic of Croatia, had reportedly detained
up to 15,000 Muslims. They have been held mainly in the Mostar area which is
the scene of bitter fighting as the two sides battle for control of the town.
Following releases in late August and early September this number may have
reduced, although Amnesty International believes substantial numbers remain.
For information on and appeals for Muslim detainees see UA 315/93, EUR 63/18/93,
9 September 1993.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send faxes/express and airmail letters either in
English, German or French or in your own language:
- expressing concern about reports of detention of civilians, and of the
ill-treatment and inhuman conditions to which Croat and Serb civilians and
captured combatants have reportedly been exposed;
- stressing that Amnesty International is concerned for victims of all
nationalities and is regularly appealing to all sides involved in the war in
Bosnia-Herzegovina;
- urging the release of all civilians detained solely because of their national
or ethnic origin or held as hostages;
- urging that Bosnian Government forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina abide by
fundamental human rights and humanitarian law standards, in particular the
four 1949 Geneva Conventions and additional protocols;
- urging that international humanitarian organizations, such as the
International Red Cross, be given access to all places where Bosnian Government
forces are holding detainees;
- stressing that no one - whether detained or not - should be tortured or
subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
- stating that Amnesty International believes that abuses committed by one
side cannot be used as justification for acts carried out by another.
APPEALS TO
1. President of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina:
His Excellency Dr Alija Izetbegovi_
Predsjednik Republike Bosne i Hercegovine
Preko Ambasade Bosne i Hercegovine
Pantov_ak 96
41000 Zagreb
Croatia
Faxes: + 38 41 441 899
Salutation : Dear President
2. Commander in Chief of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina:
General Rasim Deli_
Na_elnik glavnog štaba Armije BH
Preko Ambasade Bosne i Hercegovine
Pantov_ak 96
41000 Zagreb
Croatia
Faxes: + 38 41 441 899
Salutation : Dear General
(Please note that, as with previous previous appeals, no direct communications
are feasible with the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sarajevo, because of the
siege by Bosnian Serb forces.)
and to diplomatic representatives of Bosnia-Herzegovina accredited to your
country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 22 October 1993.

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