The State Department web site below is a permanent electronic archive of information released prior to January 20, 2001.  Please see www.state.gov for material released since President George W. Bush took office on that date.  This site is not updated so external links may no longer function.  Contact us with any questions about finding information.

NOTE: External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Department Seal

flag
bar

TITLE: BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE: FEBRUARY 1995





                     BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA


The United States formally recognized the Republic of Bosnia 
and Herzegovina, one of six constituent republics of the former 
Yugoslavia, as a sovereign state in April 1992, following a 
free and fair referendum in which 63 percent of its voters 
endorsed independence.  President Alija Izetbegovic heads the 
multiethnic collective presidency of a parliamentary democratic 
government elected in 1990.  Since 1992, approximately 80 
countries, including the United States, have recognized the 
Republic, which is a member of the United Nations.  Within days 
of the Republic declaring its independence, elements of the 
JNA, supported by Serbian nationalist militias, launched 
attacks throughout northern and eastern Bosnia and Serbian 
Democratic Party leader Radovan Karadzic declared the 
establishment of the "Republika Srpska" or "Serb Republic."

Seventy percent of the Republic remained under Serbian 
occupation throughout 1994.  The estimated number of dead 
neared the quarter-million mark, while more than half of the 
country's prewar population of 4 1/2 million continued to be 
dispersed as refugees or displaced persons.  The Government of 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, rebel forces, and representatives of 
the international community wielded varying forms of authority 
over various areas of the country during the year.

The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was constituted in 
March and established in May, transforming the internal 
structure of the territories with an ethnic Bosnian and 
Croatian majority.  At year's end, the President of the 
Federation (Kresimir Zubak) was a Croat and the Vice President 
(Ejup Ganic) was a Bosnian Muslim.  Although the parliaments of 
the Federation and the Republic differed slightly in their 
makeup, the Prime Minister (Haris Silajdzic) and cabinet 
ministers governed in the name of both the Republic and the 
Federation.

The self-proclaimed "Serbian Republic" of Serbian Democratic 
Party (SDS) leader Radovan Karadzic, headquartered in the 
Sarajevo suburb of Pale, is the illegitimate occupation 
authority of the 70 percent of the country's territory held by 
the nationalist Serbs.  Although a "Serbian Republic" 
parliament exists, the "government" is run by a small group of 
military and civilian "authorities," dedicated to an extreme 
nationalist ideology, who control an elaborate police and 
security structure and an enormous army inherited from the 
former Yugoslavia.

Another self-proclaimed authority, the "Croatian Republic of 
Herzeg-Bosna," was the institutional wing of the Croatian 
Defense Council (HVO) and Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), as 
well as a rival claimant to territory in Bosnia and Herzegovina 
until the Washington Agreement in March, which led to formation 
of the Federation.  It continued to exist through much of 
western Herzegovina and some of central Bosnia as a provisional 
Croatian authority within the Federation, pending formation of 
cantons as prescribed by the Federation Constitution.

In August Bosnian army troops retook the territory of yet 
another self-proclaimed entity, Fikret Abdic's "Autonomous 
Province of Western Bosnia" (APWB), a pro-Serb Muslim enclave 
within the larger Muslim enclave of Bihac.

The United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in Bosnia and 
Herzegovina exercised limited authority in specific areas.  
These included control of some border points and control of air 
space and some overland movement, as well as police powers and 
other quasi-governmental functions.

The Bosnian Army (ABH) is the military branch of the Republic.  
It is a multiethnic fighting force, including predominantly 
Bosnian Muslims, but also Croats, Serbs, and Bosnians of mixed 
ethnicity.  It is basically a citizens' militia and suffers 
from a lack of equipment and training.  The ABH generally 
respected the Geneva Convention and citizens' human rights.  
The ABH also has maneuver and commando forces, such as the 7th 
Muslim brigade, the "Black Swans," other home-grown special 
forces, and some foreign mercenaries of Muslim origin, who 
called themselves "mujahidin."  These latter elements of the 
ABH were accused of committing atrocities during the course of 
the war.  Specifically, in 1994, mujahidin mercenaries, mostly 
located in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, were accused of 
unlawfully entering Croatian homes, vandalizing Croatian 
property, and desecrating Croatian cemetaries.  A Turkish 
battalion of UNPROFOR succeeded in stopping these activities.

The HVO was credibly accused of abusing human rights, though 
HVO's behavior toward non-Croat populations has improved 
somewhat since the signing of the Federation Agreements.  Some 
local Croatian paramilitary units retained a considerable 
criminal element, especially in areas such as Kiseljak, Vitez, 
and Prozor.  The HVO also attracted a larger proportion of 
mercenary elements, who were implicated in human rights abuses.

The Bosnian Serb army (BSA) is the military arm of the "Serbian 
Republic."  Amalgamated in 1992 from Serbian paramilitary 
bands, local rural militias, and elements of the JNA, it 
continued its pattern of using terror tactics against Sarajevo 
and other civilian areas within sniping or artillery range.  
U.N. sources reported that in late summer the BSA cut off 
utilities service to Sarajevo upon orders from the Serbian 
military, a violation of U.N. Security Council (UNSC) 
Resolution 900.  BSA forces regularly shot at, harassed, and 
kidnaped UNPROFOR troops, frequently resulting in injury and 
occasionally in loss of life, with the goal of disrupting 
delivery of humanitarian assistance and coercing UNPROFOR into 
cooperating with Serbian objectives.

The Bosnian economy, once dependent upon heavy industry, such 
as construction, metallurgy, mining, hydroelectricity, and 
forestry, largely came to a halt, both in federal and Serb-
occupied territories.  In July the Government switched to the 
German mark as its official currency and in October "officially"
introduced the "Bosnian dinar"; however, the German mark remains
the de facto currency.  Most prewar industries no longer 
function, either because of damage from fighting or shortages 
of spare parts and supplies.  There is some agricultural 
production in contiguous Federation territory, minimizing the 
need for humanitarian food assistance there.  Serb-blockaded 
Sarajevo, however, remains almost completely dependent upon 
humanitarian assistance, as do Bihac and the eastern enclaves.  
When the U.N.-protected road to the Sarajevo airport was opened 
in June, Sarajevo began to experience a revival of commerce.  
But when UNPROFOR shut it down on July 26 at the request of SDS 
leader Karadzic, trade all but stopped again.  Serbs were able 
to feed themselves in Serb-occupied territory, but lack of 
markets and raw materials shut down most industry there as well.

In 1994 Serbian expulsions of mainly Muslims and Croats--what 
has become known as "ethnic cleansing"--slowed but did not 
cease.  In pursuit of the goal of ethnic cleansing, the Serbs 
for more than 2 years have laid siege to cities, 
indiscriminately shelled civilian inhabitants, withheld food 
deliveries and utilities so as to starve and freeze residents, 
executed noncombatants, ran detention camps in which they 
executed some prisoners and subjected many inmates to inhumane 
treatment, employed rape as a tool of war to terrorize people, 
forced large numbers of civilians to flee to other regions, 
razed villages to prevent the return of displaced persons, and 
interfered with international relief efforts, including attacks 
on relief personnel.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) confirmed 
reports of substantial ethnic cleansing in the Bijeljina area 
of northeast Bosnia, in Banja Luka in northwest Bosnia, and in 
Rogatica, north of the Gorazde enclave.  Non-Serbs were lured 
out of their homes by promises of transit out of Serb-held 
territory and were then robbed and abandoned en route.  Men 
were taken to work camps to dig trenches along the 
confrontation lines and were used as human shields.  There were 
credible reports that Serbian military and paramilitary groups 
conducting ethnic cleansing acted at the behest of the "Serbian 
Republic" leadership in implementing its policies.

The work of the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal, established at The 
Hague in 1994, is expected to document, assess, and determine 
the culpability of alleged perpetrators of war crimes, 
including the extent to which Serbian atrocities and genocide 
were a matter of low-level loss of control or of high-level 
policy.  In late 1994 the Tribunal began legal proceedings 
against the first defendant, a Serb now living in Germany, 
accused of being an officer and ordering summary excutions at 
the Bosnian death camps in 1992.  The European Union's (EU) 
Administrator's office continued to report Croatian expulsions 
of Muslims from east Mostar and protested to Croatian 
authorities.  Croats, on the other hand, complained that Muslim 
pressure in Bosnian-held areas, in particular in Bugojno, 
forced Croats to leave their homes.

Generally, wartime conditions stalled the democratization 
process in Bosnia, initiated in the ill-fated 1990 "free" 
elections which brought about the victories of ethnic-based 
parties.  The Party of Democratic Action (SDA) of President 
Izetbegovic and the HDZ were the dominant parties on Federation 
territory.  Opposition parties claimed that the SDA and HDZ 
increasingly control the media and scarce jobs and housing.  In 
Serb-held territory, the SDS, led by Karadzic, controlled both 
the media and political activity, and did not permit dissent.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS*

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Both Government and Federation Constitutions guarantee the 
right to life.  There was no credible evidence that government 
forces committed political or other extrajudicial killings.  
Nor was there credible evidence in support of allegations of 
Bosnian atrocities against the population of the APWB during 
the overthrow of its leader Fikret Abdic; direct observation 
suggested humane treatment of persons and property there.  
Similar allegations of Bosnian atrocities committed in the 
course of an early October commando raid outside of Sarajevo 
also proved unfounded.

Military and paramilitary forces of the "Serbian Republic" 
continued to terrorize Bosnian civilians through shelling, 
sniping, and other military action (see Section 1.g.).  While 
accurate statistics are difficult to obtain because Serbian 
authorities do not cooperate with international human rights 
groups, significant numbers of non-Serbs were killed in 
Serb-run detention camps (see Section 1.c.).  Opposition to SDS 
views also resulted in death.  Risto Djogo, a popular satirist, 
was found mysteriously drowned in a lake near Zvornik on the 
Serbian border, after a dinner with the notorious paramilitary 
leader "Arkan."  While the official account claimed his death 
was accidental, due in part to drunkenness, many Bosnians 
strongly suspected that he was assassinated because he had run 
afoul of Serbian President Milosevic.

     b.  Disappearance

Since the beginning of the war, 3,800 Bosnians have been 
registered with the Bosnian Red Cross as missing.  The Red 
Cross suspects the real number of missing could be more than 
twice as high, given the inability of many Bosnian citizens to 
come to the Red Cross to register those missing.  In addition,

                
* NOTE:  Although the United States and other friendly 
governments actively are involved in helping establish 
Federation governmental structures, all references to the 
"government" in the report apply to the Government of the 
Republic, not the Federation.
since some families were completely wiped out, many missing 
citizens may simply have no one left to inquire about them.  
The Red Cross believes these missing persons fall into 
different categories:  Some have escaped but have failed to 
contact relatives, some have been killed, and some remain in 
work camps that the International Committee of the Red Cross 
(ICRC) has not been able to visit.  The Bosnian Red Cross has 
registered 83 cases of persons who disappeared and who were 
last seen in 1994.  Although during the year the Bosnian Red 
Cross registered a total of 928 missing persons, the majority 
of those disappeared in prior years; their relatives had been 
unable to register them until 1994.  The majority of those who 
disappeared in 1994 came from Gorazde, Bijeljina, and the 
vicinity of Sarajevo.

There was no resolution of the longstanding case involving the 
disappearance of approximately 180 men from Hadzici in June 
1992.  Pending information on the whereabouts of these men, the 
Bosnian Government continued to detain for a second year 
approximately 150 Bosnian Serbs in a grain silo in the nearby 
town of Tarcin.  Five Bosnian Muslim community leaders in Banja 
Luka were reported to have been arrested in late August by 
local Serb "authorities."  There was no further word on their 
welfare or location.  Local Bosnian officials in Bugojno have 
yet to provide satisfactory information on the whereabouts of 
26 prominent Croats who disappeared when the ABH took the town 
in late 1993.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment.

The Constitutions of both the Government and the Federation 
provide for the right to freedom from torture and cruel or 
inhuman treatment or punishment, and there are no credible 
allegations that the legitimate Government or its authorities 
engaged in such practices in 1994.

In 1994 in Siroki Brijeg, HDZ militia severely beat a Croat who 
was trying to establish an arm of the rightwing Croatian Party 
of Rights.

Non-Serbs in Serb-held territory credibly reported they were 
routinely beaten by the authorities.  For example, a retiree 
from Prnjavor reported that military police entered his home, 
beat him, then took him to the police station and continued to 
beat him for several hours, breaking his ribs and teeth and 
leaving him with a cracked skull.  In another case, a man 
evicted from his home in Banja Luka was later arrested and 
beaten at the local military police headquarters by the same 
men who had evicted him.  Another case of serious abuse 
involved the participation of medical professionals.  A Muslim 
woman in Bijeljina was mistreated by hospital personnel while 
giving birth to her first child.  She suffered terrible pain 
for 3 months after delivery.  After fleeing to Tuzla where she 
sought medical help, doctors discovered that her vagina had 
been stitched with wire and the surgical needle and wire left 
in her vagina.  According to the woman, the medical personnel 
of the hospital in Bijeljina had threatened her that she would 
suffer after her childbirth.  Three operations were required to 
remove the wire and needle.  Doctors in Tuzla stated that the 
use of these methods was unheard of in such medical 
procedures.

In government prisons, access to prisoners being held for 
criminal offenses is adequate, according to human rights 
lawyers.  Prisoners of war (POW's) are kept in the same jail 
facilities as common criminals, as well as in military prisons, 
contrary to the Geneva Convention.

Both Bosnian and "Serbian Republic" authorities allow the ICRC 
access only to "conflict-related prisoners."  This term is not 
to be confused with that of prisoner of war as defined by the 
Vienna Convention.  In particular in Serb-held territory, "Serb 
Republic authorities" routinely detain non-Serb civilians for 
use in exchanges for Serb POW's.  This practice constitutes 
another form of "ethnic cleansing."  Approximately 500 
acknowledged "conflict-related prisoners" on both sides are 
being detained in jails, prisons, and some 15 to 20 camps on 
the Serbian side and 10 camps on Federation territory.  Both 
Bosnians and Serbs deny the ICRC access to prisoners accused of 
common crimes.

The best known Bosnian-run detention facility is the grain silo 
in Tarcin (see Section 1.b.).  Relief workers who have visited 
the grain silo state that, although it is an unacceptable 
detention facility, those held there are fed, clothed, and in 
reasonably good health.  The detainees are forced to labor in 
the local agricultural fields.  According to credible sources, 
in addition to Tarcin, the Bosnian Government also allegedly 
runs 9 or 10 other detention facilities for Serbian 
conflict-related prisoners.

According to recently exchanged Bosnian prisoners of war, the 
BSA allegedly regularly engages in torture, including use of 
electric shocks.  During its November offensive against Bihac, 
the BSA humiliated Bosnian prisoners in front of television 
cameras, ridiculing them and forcing them to chant pro-Serb 
slogans.

The Karadzic Serbs continue to hold non-Serb military personnel 
and civilians in from 15 to 20 detention camps.  According to 
government sources, the ICRC has access to some but not all of 
these camps, as Serbs also differentiate between "conflict-
related" and other prisoners and deny access to the latter.

According to a reliable source, the forced labor camp 
"Rasadnik" outside of Rogatica continued to function through 
April 1994.  The Serbs denied access to the camp, claiming that 
it was not related to the conflict.  The camp has held up to 50 
prisoners who worked as prison labor in the stockyards.  There 
reportedly were approximately a dozen murders at this camp at 
the hands of camp officials; one was confirmed in 1994--a 
prisoner from Gorazde was reportedly beaten to death in front 
of his fellow prisoners following the Serbian assault on 
Gorazde in May.  A reliable source reported that in 1994 
"Rasadnik" officials raped five women from this camp, also 
following the Gorazde assault--two of whom were teenage girls 
from Gorazde, two were young women, and one a woman in her 
fifties.  Most of the prisoners from this camp were transferred 
to Kula Prison outside of Sarajevo in the spring, and some were 
freed in the October prisoner exchange.

The Kula Prison houses the Serbian poet, Vladimir Srebro.  In 
1992, shortly after the invasion began, Srebro walked from 
Sarajevo to Ilidza to protest the actions of the Karadzic 
Serbs.  He was quickly arrested and sentenced to 10 years in 
jail for being an "enemy of the Serbian nation."  Released Kula 
Prison inmates report Srebro is regularly tortured and his 
health has seriously deteriorated.  However, he refuses to sign 
a document swearing his allegiance to the "Serbian Republic."

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile.

In September the Bosnian police in Hrasnica detained 100 Serbs 
boarding a bus for an "organized trip" to Serb-controlled 
Ilidza.  The Bosnians accused the Serbs of trying to avoid 
military service and civil defense duties and of attempting to 
"depart illegally" from Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Women, 
children, and the elderly were released fairly quickly, but men 
of military age are allegedly still detained in jails in 
Hrasnica and Sarajevo.  Bosnian authorities deny the existence 
of a jail in Hrasnica and have not allowed access to the 
prisoners held in Sarajevo, saying they are imprisoned for 
"civil offenses."  However, some Bosnian officials admit these 
men are being kept for future POW exchanges.

In parts of the Bosnian Federation where curfews were in force 
(such as Sarajevo), violators were subject to arrest and 
detention overnight.  They typically had access to a telephone 
but were not released until the next morning, at the end of the 
curfew period.

Both sides typically held POW's for exchange.  Several hundred 
were traded by each side during the course of the year, the 
largest exchange taking place on October 5 when 295 Serbs were 
released in exchange for 166 Bosnians.  As is the case with the 
majority of these exchanges, Bosnian civilians from ethnically 
cleansed areas of Serb-held territory were exchanged for 
Serbian POW's.

The Kula Prison outside of Sarajevo has approximately 60 
prisoners, mostly from ethnically cleansed areas of eastern 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, such as Rogatica.  These civilians were 
kept in the Kula Prison pending U.N.-brokered POW exchanges.  
Bosnians argue that UNPROFOR is assisting with ethnic cleansing 
because it accepts the "exchange" of ethnically cleansed 
Bosnian civilians for Serbian POW's.  A Western relief worker 
based in Serb-held Bosnia noted that one of the main goals of 
ethnic cleansing in 1994 was to have a readymade pool of 
non-Serbs to exchange for Serbian POW's.  Serbs running the 
Kula Prison told relief workers that the civilians held there 
are not being detained but rather are kept in the facility 
pending release to the Bosnian Government, because "there is no 
hotel in this area."

Over 10,000 Bosnians in 1994 were victims of ethnic cleansing, 
including over 6,000 in the Bijeljina region from July through 
October (many at the hands of paramilitary "colonel" Vojkan 
Djurkovic), hundreds more from Prijedor and Banja Luka in the 
spring and summer, and more than 100 people from Rogatica in 
early October, 2 weeks after U.N. Special Representative Akashi 
had protested directly to "Serbian Republic" leader Karadzic.  
Statistics as of late September reveal the extent of the 
planned removal of non-Serbs from Serb-held territory.  An 
estimated 80,000 non-Serbs remained in Serb-held northeastern 
Bosnia, compared to 837,000 living there before the war; only 
10,000 non-Serbs remained out of a prewar 300,000 in eastern 
Bosnia; and just 17,000 non-Serbs remained in the area of Banja 
Luka and Prijedor, where there were 537,000 in 1992.

In the course of these expulsions, Serbian agents typically 
coerced property owners into handing over property titles, 
robbed them of their money and belongings, demanded "fees" to 
pay for their transport into exile, and seized military-age men 
for detention in "work camps," such as one in Lopare where over 
200 were held for forced labor.  The ICRC has been consistently 
denied access to the Lopare camp.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial.

The Republic's Constitution establishes a regular judicial 
hierarchy based on municipal courts, which have original 
jurisdiction in most civil and criminal cases, and cantonal 
courts, which have appellate jurisdiction over the canton's 
municipalities, as well as three federal courts 
(Constitutional, Supreme, and human rights).  The Constitution 
provides for open and public trials.  Judges are appointed for 
terms which end upon their reaching age 70, and administration 
of the judicial branch is managed internally.  The judiciary's 
independence extends to the investigative division of the 
criminal justice system, as the Constitution also establishes a 
judicial police force that reports directly to the courts.  
These principles appeared to be practiced in areas under 
Bosnian Government control.

The legal system is designed to guard against discrimination 
against ethnic minorities by ensuring adequate diversity of 
representation on the bench, although there have been 
allegations that the ruling SDA and HDZ parties are "stacking 
the courts."  The court system for the most part uses the same 
criminal code used by the former Socialist Republic of Bosnia 
and Herzegovina.  The Constitution provides for the right to 
fair criminal proceedings.  There is a functioning appealate 
system and the accused has the right to legal counsel.

According to international relief workers based in Pale, the 
Bosnian Serbs, for the most part, use the same criminal code as 
that of the Republic for trials of common criminals.  It is 
unlikely, however, that there are any non-Serb judges serving 
on Serb-held territory, reducing the possibility of a fair 
trial for non-Serb defendants.  In late October, Bosnian Serb 
television reported the establishment of "drumhead courts," in 
which local military or police commanders had the right to 
arrest and punish civilians and military personnel guilty of 
"spreading disinformation about the 'Serbian Republic.'"  These 
commanders were authorized to kill offenders on the spot or 
sentence them to forced labor on the front lines, without 
benefit of a trial.  This measure was directed primarily at 
soldiers who refused to fight or males who refused to be 
mobilized.  According to a reliable observer, deserters were 
shot after drumhead court procedures even before the policy was 
announced.  An eyewitness reported that in July a soldier was 
shot in front of his unit for "failure to fight."

The Bosnian Government does not hold any political prisoners.  
The Serbian authorities hold poet Vladimir Srebro (see Section 
1.c.) as well as a journalist charged with terrorism in October 
in the "Tajfun affair," an alleged conspiracy against the 
Karadzic regime.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence.

The Republic's Constitution provides for the right to privacy, 
protection of the family and of children, and property.  
Governmental respect for these rights was the rule rather than 
the exception in 1994.  Bosnian authorities attempted to 
monitor communications that impinged on military or other 
national security concerns.

Local Serbian authorities in Serb-occupied territories in 
Sarajevo, such as Grbavica, instituted a policy of summarily 
confiscating the property of mixed-marriage couples with sons 
who had either fled abroad or to Federation territory.  
According to a credible observer, Serbian authorities in 
Grbavica threatened to confiscate the property of a mixed 
Serb-Muslim family whose son fled from Grbavica to 
Bosnian-controlled Sarajevo and who was dating a loyalist Serb, 
if the son did not return to fight for a "Greater Serbia."  
There are five other mixed families living in the same building 
with sons who have fled, who also were threatened with having 
their property confiscated unless their sons acceded to the 
draft.

The persistence of the Serbian policy of ethnic cleansing 
constituted sustained arbitrary interference with family and 
home.  Serbs continued to enter Bosnian and Croatian homes in 
Serb-held territory without search warrants.  In the towns of 
Banja Luka, Bijeljina, and Rogatica, the pattern of ethnic 
cleansing usually began with unauthorized entry into non-Serb 
homes by the BSA, Serbian police, or other paramilitary forces 
who demanded weapons and threatened residents with violence if 
they did not leave.  In the village of Janja, in the Bijeljina 
township, Serbs regularly placed Serbian refugee families in 
Muslim homes, forcing the owners to live in one room.  In 
general, in Serb-occupied Bosnia, police powers were intrusive 
and only minimally restricted by law or custom.  Letters 
carried through Serbian lines were regularly opened.

In addition to forcible eviction, extortion, and robbery, 
Bosnian Serb authorities routinely harassed and terrorized 
non-Serbs in Serb-held territories by breaking into homes with 
dynamite and threatening to blow up the occupants; by 
destroying graveyards so that deceased family members had to be 
buried in family gardens; and by destroying farm animals and 
crops to starve out the population.

     g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian 
         Law in Internal Conflicts

Bosnian government forces are under orders to honor the Geneva 
Convention and subject to discipline if they violate it.  
Allegations of official abuse have not been substantiated with 
credible documentation.  For example, although the ABH's 
success in subduing the rebel Muslim insurgency in Bihac led by 
Fikret Abdic resulted in the flow of almost 20,000 persons into 
Serb-held Croatian Krajina in August, there was no credible 
evidence of human rights abuses committed by the Bosnians.

Although Serbian officials in Pale also claim to honor the 
Geneva Convention, international observers agree that the 
Serbian forces continue to violate the terms of the Convention 
on a massive scale.

The BSA continues to target noncombatant and populated areas in 
order to maintain a constant atmosphere of terror and 
vulnerability.  Standards of wartime behavior are dictated by 
the Geneva Convention, but UNPROFOR must nevertheless negotiate 
with Serbian forces to seek their adherence to these 
standards.  Frequently, these negotiations involve issues, such 
as sniping at civilians, that are explicitly cited as 
unacceptable in UNSC resolutions.  The Serbs routinely violate 
even these agreements.  Some acts routinely committed by the 
Serbs, (e.g., sniping at civilians) not only constitute 
ordinary crimes (for example, murder when the sniping results 
in death) but also violations of the Geneva Conventions, with 
the result that those who order the act can be prosecuted, 
along with those committing the act, before national courts as 
well as the War Crimes Tribunal.

From January through October, Serbian snipers killed over 50 
Sarajevo civilians and wounded more than 300.  Even though an  
antisniping agreement was signed in August, there were eight 
fatalities in September, and the sniping continues unabated.  
There were more persons wounded in September (60) than there 
were in January (47), before the North Atlantic Treaty 
Organization's (NATO) ultimatum.  UNPROFOR figures on this 
subject may be somewhat different because, as of the September 
antisniping agreement, UNPROFOR began classifying injuries from 
sniper fire as "injuries caused by random exchange of fire."  
Thus, under UNPROFOR categories, only killings are classified 
as sniper fire.

Throughout 1994, the BSA continued to pound Bosnian populations 
centers with mortars and automatic weapons fire, causing the 
death of hundreds of civilians from January through October.  
The population centers most affected were Sarajevo, Gorazde, 
Mostar, Olovo, Tuzla, Visoko, Vares, and Breza.  During the May 
offensive against Gorazde, Serbian shelling killed between 500 
and 600 Bosnian civilians.  In Sarajevo, prior to the NATO 
ultimatum, the most deadly results from a single projectile 
came in a downtown Sarajevo marketplace in February when one 
shell killed 68 people.  Also prior to the ultimatum, on 
January 22, Serbs fired three shells into a residential 
neighborhood, killing five children.

In addition to firing directly on civilians, during the year 
the BSA fired directly on humanitarian aid convoys and on 
UNPROFOR troops escorting them.  It choked off assistance at 
various times to the eastern enclaves, Sarajevo, and (through 
its Krajina Serb allies) Bihac.  In an early November order on 
mobilization, issued in response to ABH successes near Bihac, 
the "Serbian Republic" leadership ordered secondary schools 
closed, students to report to their units, and emigres to 
return to fight under penalty of being branded as deserters.

UNSC Resolution 900 specifically provides for the uninterrupted 
supply of utilities to Sarajevo.  In defiance of this 
resolution, Bosnian Serb authorities continued to manipulate 
the supply of basic utilities as part of their strategy of 
pressuring and demoralizing the population of Sarajevo.  
UNPROFOR-sponsored talks were held to resolve the utilities 
problem, but the Bosnian Government claims that utilities were 
restored only after the Bosnians found ways to cut off 
utilities to Serb-occupied territory.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press, 
but 3 years of wartime conditions have thwarted the development 
of truly independent media in Federation territory.  As a 
result, the Government only partially respects this right in 
the majority of Federation territory, and the authorities in 
the HDZ-controlled "Herceg-Bosna" do not respect this right at 
all.

Although there are some independent media in Federation 
territory, in general the ruling SDA and HDZ political parties 
exert considerable influence over the media.  Many private 
radio stations broadcast from Federation territory; a smaller 
number of private television stations serve local markets in 
Zenica and Tuzla.  These independent media have complained of 
strong-armed Bosnian government tactics.  When the ruling SDA 
party came under strong criticism for alleged corruption by the 
Sarajevo paper Bosna, former employees for the paper claim it 
subsequently was harassed out of existence, closing its doors 
in October.  In the northeastern city of Tuzla, for example, 
the local television station "FS3" lost its building and some 
equipment when the district government moved Tuzla Radio and 
Television operations to its premises.

Bosnian government-controlled television dominates the 
airwaves.  It came under strong criticism in 1994 for alleged 
censorship of programming that did not hew to the SDA line, 
such as a series of broadcasts by the satirical troupe 
"Nadrealisti" ("Surrealists"), which Bosnian television had 
itself produced.  The development of independent media also was 
constrained by the wartime lack of start-up capital, paper, and 
supplies.  Western television stations such as Cable News 
Network (CNN) and Sky News are available to those in Federation 
territory who can afford such service.  In HDZ-controlled 
"Herceg-Bosna," the media are part of the HDZ structure but not 
as strictly censored as in the "Serbian Republic."  Croatia 
supplies transmissions of Radio Split to the inhabitants of 
"Herceg-Bosna."

Foreign journalists in Sarajevo and elsewhere on federation 
territory say they operated without censorship or government 
interference of any kind, whereas media in the "Serbian 
Republic" are a propaganda tool of the ruling SDS party.  The 
SDS strictly censors the media in Serb-controlled territory; 
laissez-passers for foreign journalists are issued by 
Karadzic's daughter.  The party's media voice, the Serbian 
Republic News Agency, Tanjug (the news agency of the Milosevic 
regime in Serbia), and other Serbian sources formed the basis 
for near total domination of both print and electronic 
information media.  All foreign media are banned in the 
"Serbian Republic."  The public in Serbian territory only has 
access to two choices:  Serbian media from Pale or Serbian 
media from Belgrade.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, academic freedom was constrained 
more by lack of resources and access (to information, other 
academic communities, etc.) than by government policies.  In 
Serb-controlled areas, general lack of tolerance for dissent 
led to total control of the educational media.  Curriculums in 
Serb-controlled areas have been revamped to teach solely Serb 
history, art, literature, etcetera.  There has been no evidence 
of an intellectual exchange of ideas in the media or other 
academic fora in Serb-held territory since the 1992 invasion.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for freedom of association, and the 
Government generally respected this right in practice.  
Although large gatherings of people were generally discouraged 
in Sarajevo for security reasons, demonstrations took place, 
for example, to protest the offensive against Gorazde in April.

While political membership is not forced, membership in the 
ruling SDA and HDZ parties in Federation territory is viewed as 
the main way to obtain scarce housing and jobs.  In 
"Herceg-Bosna," the HDZ, through threat and coercion, has 
prevented other Croatian parties from forming.

In the "Serbian Republic," the SDS's control over security and 
police impose severe limitations on the right to assemble and 
associate.  In September, however, the authorities took no 
action against demonstrations by small groups in the Serb- 
controlled Sarajevo suburb of Ilidza, protesting the closure of 
the blue route (the UN-protected road over Mount Igman leading 
into and out of Sarajevo which was closed by the UN in July 
after Karadzic threatened to use force to close it).  While 
political membership is not forced, membership in the SDS is 
viewed as the means to obtain access to both jobs and housing.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, including 
private and public worship.  However, within the Federation the 
authorities did not respect these rights in consistent 
fashion.  In general during 1994, conditions for religious 
observance were significantly better for non-Muslims in those 
parts of the Federation where Muslims dominated than they were 
for non-Catholics in areas where Croats dominated.

In Tuzla, for example, which is governed by a nonnationalist 
city administration with a Muslim majority, the authorities 
repaired a Serbian Orthodox church damaged by Serbian shelling 
The dominant political parties are both based on ethnic or 
religious identification:  SDA-Muslim and HDZ-Croat.  Members 
of these parties used religion or ethnicity as ideological 
litmus tests and means of intraparty competition.  The results, 
reinforced by Communist-era experience, sometimes emerged in 
the form of radical positions embraced by some political or 
religious figures.  For example, a trend towards Islamization 
of Bosnia was widely reported in international media during the 
latter half of 1994.  Among the examples cited to illustrate 
this trend were statements made by the Reis-ul-Ulema, the head 
of Bosnia's Muslim community, criticizing mixed marriages and 
consumption of pork and alcoholic beverages.  Culture and 
Education Minister Enes Karic was also cited for heavyhandedly 
promoting Muslim religious studies in elementary schools, 
calling for a ban against Serbian music played over Sarajevo 
radio stations, and trying to exercise political control over 
the content of educational and cultural activities.  In almost 
all cases, however, public outcry (especially among Muslim 
Bosnians) forced politicians to back down from such 
positions.

The "Serbian Republic" continued systematically to eradicate 
the remaining traces of the centuries-old Muslim and Catholic 
presence, demolishing mosques, churches, cultural and religious 
monuments, and graveyards.  In spite of the Serb "authorities" 
use of religion as an identifier for "ethnic cleansing," those 
remaining non-Serbs in Serb-held territory reportedly are 
allowed to attend services, if they can find a place in which 
to worship.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The Constitution provides for freedom of movement.  In 
practice, however, the ongoing hostilities effectively 
restricted the full exercise of this right.  The demands of 
mobilization and the dangers of crossing checkpoints and 
confrontation lines often made movement difficult.  Moreover, 
as a matter of policy, the Government sought to avoid letting 
all would-be refugees flee to avoid both depopulating the 
country and creating massive resettlement problems throughout 
Europe.

The Federation has not yet fully addressed the issue of the 
right of refugees and displaced persons to freely return to 
their homes of origin and to have returned to them any property 
of which they were deprived in the course of ethnic cleansing, 
as provided for in the Constitution.  According to Bosnian Red 
Cross statistics, there are currently a quarter of a million 
displaced persons in Federation territory.  Frequently they are 
prevented from returning to their homes because of harsh 
recriminations leveled by different communities.  For example, 
in mid-October Bosnian Croat leaders denounced alleged ethnic 
cleansing by Muslim Bosnians in cities such as Vares, Bugojno, 
Zenica, and Sarajevo.  Bosnians in Bugojno denied this was 
true, and claimed that their city contained many Bosnians 
driven out of Croat-controlled Prozor, Stolac, and Capljina who 
had personally witnessed the brutality of ethnic cleansing by 
Croats.

The proposed law on refugees and displaced persons being 
considered by the Federal Parliament provides for the return 
home of all Federation citizens.  Bosnian Red Cross officials 
oppose massive population resettlements and view relocation as 
contributing to Karadzic's policy of ethnic cleansing.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Citizens of the Bosnian Federation have the right to change 
their government peacefully, both through direct elections and 
by amending the constitution.  However, they have not had the 
ability to do so since the elections of December 1990.  
According to the Constitution, elections to the federal 
legislature ought to have been held 6 months after the 
Constitution's entry into force, that is, by September 30.  
These elections were delayed pending the formation of the 
federal cantons which were in turn delayed by disagreements 
between Croats and Bosnians on formation of the cantons' 
constituent municipalities.

The delay in establishing the Federation's internal structure 
was compounded by the nature of the Federation as a state of 
Bosnians, Croats, and "others."  Under the Constitution, power 
would be shared primarily between Bosnians and Croats.  It 
became clear during 1994 that, in practice, "Bosnians" actually 
meant the dominant Muslim political party SDA, and "Croats" 
meant the dominant Croat party HDZ.  Among the quasi-
disfranchised "others" were non-SDA Muslims and non-HDZ Croats, 
along with Serbs who had been loyal to the multiethnic 
republic, Bosnians of mixed ethnicity (estimated to make up 30 
percent of the prewar Bosnian population), Jews, Roma, Vlachs, 
and the rest of Bosnia's varied ethnic mix.

Women are underrepresented in government and politics, although 
a few women occupy prominent positions.  For example, a Serbian 
woman belongs to the Republic's collective presidency, and a 
Muslim woman heads Bosnian radio and television.

Although people on territory controlled by the "Serbian 
Republic" have a theoretical right to change their government 
and actually participated in "referendums," including one in 
August on the Contact Group proposal (with a 90 percent-plus 
vote against), SDS control of the media and security apparatus 
effectively precludes true citizen participation without 
intimidation.  In the "Serbian Republic," women such as 
Karadzic's daughter, his wife (head of the "Serbian Republic" 
Red Cross), and one of his vice presidents occupy important 
posts.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

In late 1994, officials of the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal said 
that the Bosnian Government was cooperating fully with their 
investigations and inquiries, even in cases of accusations of 
war crimes by Bosnian forces.  Other human rights monitors also 
worked effectively with the Bosnian Government.

The U.N. Special Rapporteur and his staff, however, remain 
barred from Banja Luka following publication of their report in 
1993 which condemned the ethnic cleansing that occurred there.

The staff of the War Crimes Tribunal also traveled to Pale in 
"Serbian Republic"-held territory and described its visit as 
"satisfactory."  However, most human rights monitors observed 
that Bosnian Serb authorities effectively impeded the War 
Crimes Tribunal's work by blocking its passage to Serb-held 
areas.

In early November, the Government accused the UNPROFOR of 
blocking the transport of witnesses to testify at a war crimes 
trial in Denmark.  This accusation appeared to be without 
substance; UNPROFOR did much to support the War Crimes Tribunal 
staff during its visits to Bosnia.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

The Constitution provides for freedom from discrimination based 
on race, color, sex, language, religion or creed, political or 
other opinions, and national or social origin.  However, the 
state of war and the ethnic and religious basis of that war 
created an environment in which many forms of discrimination 
were practiced.

     Women

Women hold some of the most responsible positions in society, 
including judges, doctors, and professors.  However, they 
continued to be subjected to rape and other forms of physical 
abuse.  Officials at the "Rasadnik" forced labor camp in the 
"Serbian Republic" raped five women from the camp early in the 
year (see Section 1.c.).

     Children

There is no discrimination against children as such, but they 
suffered long-term harm from war-related shortages of food and 
clothing, the closing of schools, psychological trauma, and 
constricted environments for living and playing.  Serbian 
snipers are suspected of targeting children; the inordinate 
number of children killed by snipers apparently substantiate 
this suspicion.  In the final months of the year, Serb snipers 
shot and killed a 12 year old girl in the middle of town, a 
young boy riding his bicycle in front of the Holiday Inn and 
another young boy in the Dobrinja area near the airport.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Ethnic differences are at the heart of the war in Bosnia and 
Herzegovina and have been manipulated by both the SDS party and 
the HDZ to sustain concepts of a "greater Serbia" and a 
"greater Croatia."  The human rights violations addressed 
throughout this report--ethnic cleansing, rape, forced labor, 
forced relocation, extrajudicial killing--were largely 
perpetrated with the goal of establishing the superiority and 
political domination of a particular ethnic group.  No group 
was more victimized than Bosnia's Muslims.

     People with Disabilities

It is not known whether there are laws providing for protection 
of the handicapped.  In 1994 the number of disabled veterans 
and civilians disabled by war injuries continued to increase.  
The Government had limited resources to address the special 
needs of the disabled.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The Constitution provides for the right of workers to form and 
join labor unions.  The largest union is the Confederation of 
Independent Trade Unions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the heir of 
the old Yugoslav Communist Trade Union Confederation.  Unions 
have the right to strike, but in practice mobilization and 
other emergency wartime measures generally restricted the 
exercise of this right.  Moreover, the economic devastation and 
joblessness caused by the war throughout much of the Federation 
allowed trade unions little opportunity to organize and carry 
out their normal role.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The law provides for this right, but the practice of collective 
bargaining in labor-management negotiations was not 
significantly used in 1994.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Most Bosnians of productive age in the Federation were 
mobilized to serve either in the military or in supporting 
capacities in connection with the war.  Government authorities 
in practice tolerated a significant amount of independent 
freedom of choice in the selection of work to fulfill the 
obligations imposed by the mobilization decree.

Reliable sources reported that detainees at the government-run 
detention facility in Tarcin did agricultural forced labor in 
the fields nearby (see Section 1.c.).

According to a reliable service, the forced labor camp 
"Rasadnik" operated by "Serbian Republic" authorities outside 
of Rogatica continued to function through April 1994.  Serbs 
have denied access to the camp, saying it is "not related to 
the conflict."  The camp has held up to 50 prisoners who worked 
as prison labor in the stockyards there (see Section 1.c.).  
"Serbian Republic" agents seized military-age men for detention 
in "work camps," such as one in Lopare where over 200 were held 
for forced labor, without access to international observers.  
As of October, according to Bosnian Serb television reports, 
local military and police commanders have the right to punish 
those guilty of spreading disinformation about the "Serbian 
Republic" by sentencing then to forced labor on the front lines 
(see Section 1.e.).

Non-Serb men and women in the Banja Luka and Bijeljina regions 
were routinely forced to labor, digging trenches, tilling 
fields, cleaning streets, etc.  They received no compensation 
for this work.  A few farmers were able to avoid forced labor 
by giving their entire harvest to the authorities.  Reports of 
the forced labor of non-Serb women began to appear in September.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum age for employment of children remained 16.  Bosnia 
had no effective social services agency to enforce the limit in 
1994.  Children sometimes assisted their families with farm 
work and odd jobs.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

In principle, minimum wages were guaranteed, but with the 
economy in collapse workers had no assurance they would be paid 
for work performed.  The basic wage paid to government 
employees in Sarajevo, for example, was $0.66 (DM 1.00) per 
month, with supplemental allowances of flour and other 
humanitarian assistance.

The prewar 42-hour workweek, with a 24-hour rest period, was 
formally still in effect, but for many workers no limits on 
working hours appeared to apply.

Occupational safety and health regulations were generally 
sacrificed because of the demands and constraints imposed by 
the war.
(###)

[end of document]

flag
bar

Department Seal

Return to 1994 Human Rights Practices report home page.
Return to DOSFAN home page.
This is an official U.S. Government source for information on the WWW. Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.