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Title:  Bosnia and Herzegovina Human Rights Practices, 1995
Author:  U.S. Department of State 
Date:  March 1996 
 
 
 
 
                         BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA 
 
 
The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was formed from one of six 
constituent republics of the former Yugoslavia.  Citizens endorsed 
independence in a 1992 referendum.  President Alija Izetbegovic heads 
the multiethnic collective presidency of a parliamentary democratic 
government elected in 1990.  Within days of independence, Serbian 
nationalist militias, supported by elements of the former Yugoslav 
national army (JNA), launched attacks throughout northern and eastern 
Bosnia, and Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) leader Radovan Karadzic 
declared the establishment of the "Republika Srpska" or "Serb Republic." 
 
Seventy percent of the Bosnian Republic remained under Serbian 
occupation until the Bosnian government and Croatian offensives in 
August.  During 4 years of war an estimated 263,000 people were killed, 
and two-thirds of the country's prewar population of 4 1/2 million was 
uprooted and dispersed as either refugees or displaced persons.  The 
Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, rebel Serb 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 established in March 1994, 
transforming the internal structure of the Bosnian territories under 
Bosniak and Croat control.  Although the parliaments of the Federation 
and the Republic differed slightly in their makeup, the Prime Minister 
and cabinet ministers governed in the name of both the Republic and the 
Federation.  Federation structures have for the most part not yet been 
implemented.  The signing of the Federation agreement in March 1994 led 
to an effective truce, and even some military coordination, between the 
Bosnian and Croat partners.  However, the situation in Mostar remains 
tense despite the European Union's (EU) Administrator's efforts, and 
both sides have yet to implement fully an agreement to arrange for the 
return of Bosniaks and Croats to four key cities. 
 
The Republika Srpska, headed by SDS leader Karadzic and headquartered in 
Pale near Sarajevo, controls the territory held by the nationalist 
Serbs.  Although a parliament exists, the Pale 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 army inherited from and still supplied by the former 
Yugoslavia.  
 
The self-proclaimed "Croatian Republic of Herceg-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 1994, 
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.  Under a separate 
agreement reached in Dayton, Herzeg-Bosna is to be dissolved, and that 
process is already under way.  The HVO appears to be directly under the 
command of the army of Croatia (HV).  For example, HVO commander and 
indicted war criminal Tihomer Blaskic was recently appointed by Croatian 
President Tudjman to the Inspectorate General of the HV.  This, along 
with the fact that Bosnian Croats have dual citizenship with Croatia and 
are able to vote in Croatian elections, brings into question the degree 
of the HDZ's independence from Croatia. 
 
The Bosnian Serb occupation of the U.N. "safe area" of Srebrenica in 
July resulted in one of the worst single reported incidents of genocidal 
mass killing of members of an ethnic or religious group in Europe since 
World War II.  This massacre, combined with the Bosnian Serb intensive 
shelling of civilian Sarajevo and continuing ethnic cleansing, 
galvanized NATO into making a decisive military intervention.  Massive 
NATO bombing of Bosnian Serb military targets and unrelated Bosnian 
government and Croatian ground assaults allowed the Federation to 
reclaim nearly 20 percent of Bosnia's territory.  The changed 
battlefield circumstances, plus an intensive diplomatic effort led by 
the United States and its Contact Group partners (Russia, Germany, the 
United Kingdom, and France) led to the negotiation of a comprehensive 
peace agreement in November 1995 near Dayton, Ohio; the agreement was 
formally signed in December in Paris.   
 
The complex and difficult process of political reconciliation among 
Bosnia's three major religious/ethnic groups--Bosniaks (Muslims), Serbs 
(Orthodox), and Croats (Catholics)--is scheduled to move forward as 
outlined by the Dayton agreement.  The agreement provides for the 
continuity of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a single state with two constituent 
entities, the Bosnian Federation and the Republika Srpska (Serb 
Republic).  The agreement provides for a central government with a 
bicameral legislature, a three-member Presidency, a Council of 
Ministers, a Constitutional Court, and a central bank.  The agreement 
provides the central government with control over foreign policy, 
foreign trade, customs policy (but not collection, a federation 
function), immigration, monetary policy, communications, and the 
financing of government operations.  Defense, however, remains under the 
control of the respective entities.  
 
Under the Dayton Agreement, 51 percent of Bosnia's territory lies within 
the Bosniak-Croat Federation, and 49 percent within the Republika 
Srpska.  The Dayton agreement provides for the reunification of Sarajevo 
within the Federation and the linkage of Gorazde to the Federation by a 
secure land corridor.  All of Bosnia's people are accorded the right to 
move freely throughout the country.  Refugees and displaced persons are 
accorded the right to reclaim their property or receive just 
compensation.  The Government is committed to respect human rights, 
allow human rights monitors unrestricted access to their territory, 
support the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the 
search for missing persons, release all combatants or civilians held in 
relation to the conflict, and cooperate fully with the international 
investigation and prosecution of war crimes and other crime against 
humanity.   
 
Free and democratic elections are scheduled to be held throughout Bosnia 
in the latter half of 1996.  The Organization for Security and 
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is responsible for supervising the 
preparation and conduct of these elections.  The Dayton agreement 
provides that all adults listed in the 1991 Bosnian census are eligible 
to vote; refugees and displaced persons have the right to vote in their 
original place of residence, unless they choose to vote elsewhere. 
 
The Bosnian Army (ABiH) is the military arm of the Republic.  It is a 
multiethnic fighting force, comprised predominantly of Bosnian Muslims, 
but also Croats, Serbs, and Bosnians of mixed ethnicity.  In the course 
of the war it developed from a citizen militia into an army.  The ABiH 
generally respected citizens' human rights, although it did commit some 
violations.  Foreign mercenaries and Bosnian Muslims who called 
themselves "mujahadein," fought alongside the ABiH.  Some "mujahadein" 
reportedly harassed Christians in central Bosnia.  Under the terms of 
the Dayton Agreement, all foreign forces are to depart Bosnia.  Under 
the November 10 Dayton Agreement Implementing the Federation, defense 
matters were to become a Federation responsibility, and the forces of 
the Bosnian Army (ABiH) and those of the Bosnian Croats (HVO) were to be 
joined.   
 
The Bosnian Serb army (BSA) is the military arm of the Republika Srpska.  
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 sniper 
or artillery range.  It also attacked, kidnaped, and harassed the United 
Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), cut utilities to Sarajevo in 
violation of U.N. Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 900, and blockaded 
deliveries of humanitarian assistance.  Mercenaries from Russia, Greece, 
and Ukraine fought alongside BSA forces.   
 
UNPROFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina exercised limited and sporadic 
authority in specific areas, including 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 Dayton agreement provided for the establishment of the NATO 
Implementation Force (IFOR), which is headed by a U.S. commander.  
IFOR's role is to enforce the military aspects of the settlement, 
including the separation of forces.  The parties committed themselves to 
withdraw their forces behind an agreed cease-fire line within 30 days of 
signature of the agreement and withdraw all heavy weapons and forces to 
barracks within 120 days.  All parties are required to cooperate fully 
with IFOR, which has unimpeded freedom of movement throughout Bosnia. 
 
The Dayton agreement paves the way for international assistance to help 
rebuild the economy.  An estimated 25 percent of industrial facilities 
and infrastructure, and probably a greater percentage of housing, have 
been lost.  Most industrial facilities that were not damaged by the 
fighting were shut down due to lack of labor, utilities, raw materials, 
and spare parts.  The passage of 3 years without maintenance poses 
additional problems for rebuilding the industrial base.  The health 
sector has lost most of its doctors and nurses.  The number of hospital 
beds has fallen by 35 percent, and infant mortality has doubled since 
1990.  There is some agricultural production in contiguous Federation 
territory, minimizing the need for humanitarian food assistance there.  
Bosniaks complained that traders in the Croat area, which lies between 
the Bosniak sector and the Adriatic coast, monopolized trade and 
informally taxed humanitarian assistance convoys in this area at the 
Bosniaks' expense.  Sarajevo and Gorazde, which suffered from a Serb 
blockade--as well as Srebrenica and Zepa before their fall and Bihac 
before its liberation--were almost completely dependent upon 
humanitarian assistance for most of the year.  The German mark remains 
the de facto currency in Bosniak territory.  The Serbs were able to feed 
themselves in Serb-occupied territory, but lack of markets and raw 
materials shut down most industry there as well.  The Dayton agreement 
allows for the organization of a comprehensive international 
reconstruction program to rebuild Bosnia's shattered physical 
infrastructure and revive the economy. 
 
Although all sides committed human rights violations during 1995, the 
Serbs--through continued ethnic cleansing, mass murders, and attacks on 
civilian areas--were responsible for the overwhelming majority of 
abuses.  The Federation Government's policy and more open society 
allowed the collection of detailed information about human rights 
problems at all levels of society, while the more closed and repressive 
Republika Srpska restricted the efforts of human rights observers.   
 
Prison conditions were poor.  There were credible reports that the BSA, 
and to a lesser extent the HVO and ABiH, seized civilians to use in 
trade with other armies for prisoners and commodities such as food and 
fuel.  In some cases, the rising commodity value of humans for trade 
reportedly resulted in improved treatment of the human commodities--
mostly military-age males--to bring a higher price.  In all three 
armies, local commanders appeared to exercise a significant degree of 
independence from their senior commanders. 
 
The HVO was credibly accused of human rights abuses against Bosniaks and 
Serbs and conducted a scorched earth campaign in territory to be ceded 
to the Bosnian Serbs in the Dayton agreement.  HVO forces on occasion 
killed civilians and shelled civilian areas.  Some local Croat 
paramilitary units retained a considerable criminal element, especially 
in areas such as Kiseljak, Vitez, and Prozor.  The HVO also attracted 
mercenary elements who were implicated in human rights abuses. 
 
The Serb expulsion of Bosniaks and Croats from Serb-controlled 
territory--"ethnic cleansing"--continued in varying degrees until May, 
when the recapture of western Slavonia in Croatia by the Croatian army 
led to an influx of Serb refugees into northern Bosnia.  Paramilitary 
groups, with assistance from local Serb authorities, accelerated the 
ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs in that area by forcible evictions, 
killings, rapes, beatings, and general harassment.  In July the Serb 
attack and seizure of the U.N. safe area of Srebrenica became the most 
massive and savage single act of ethnic cleansing in the 4-year history 
of the war.  The Serb overrunning of the Zepa safe area followed a few 
days later.  The Serbs continued to lay siege to cities, deliberately 
shell civilian areas and hospitals, withhold food deliveries, and cut 
off utilities.  They also continued to execute noncombatants and run 
detention camps in which they executed some prisoners and tortured 
others.  They employed rape as a tool of war, forced large numbers of 
civilians to flee to other regions, razed villages to prevent the return 
of displaced persons, and blocked international relief efforts, 
including attacks on relief personnel. 
 
Respect for human rights is a fundamental part of the Dayton agreement 
and a key to the reconciliation process.  The agreement provides for the 
establishment of a Human Rights Commission (consisting of a human rights 
chamber and ombudsmen) to enforce the entities' human rights 
obligations.  The OSCE will organize a system of international observers 
to monitor the human rights situation and facilitate the election 
process throughout the country.  
 
The agreement commits Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia to cooperate fully 
with the international investigation and prosecution of war crimes and 
other crimes against humanity.  The new Bosnian Constitution obligates 
all authorities, including the Republika Srpska, to obey orders of the 
U.N. war crimes tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which was 
established at The Hague in 1994.  Accused war criminals who refuse to 
obey the tribunal's orders are forbidden from holding elective or 
appointive office.  The tribunal continued to indict suspected war 
criminals and investigate the extent to which atrocities and genocide 
were a matter of low-level loss of control or of high-level policy.  By 
punishing the individuals responsible for the atrocities, victims will 
feel less need to take revenge into their own hands and attack innocent 
members of other ethnic groups. 
 
The tribunal has indicted 52 individuals thus far, 45 of whom are 
Bosnian Serbs, including "President" Karadzic and his top military 
commander General Ratko Mladic, and 7 who are Bosnian Croats.  Further 
indictments are expected in early 1996.   
 
With the coming of peace and IFOR, the significance of the Hague 
tribunal has become apparent.  For example, Serb mayors of some towns in 
northern Bosnia reportedly had begun seeking expert advice on how to 
justify their actions while atrocities were taking place in their towns.  
In addition, both the Bosnian Serbs and the Federal Republic of 
Yugoslavia have announced that they would conduct their own war crimes 
trials, in a transparent attempt to avoid surrendering their people to 
the Hague tribunal.  Bosnian Croats under indictment have not yet been 
apprehended.   
 
Wartime conditions stalled the democratization process in Bosnia.  The 
1990 free elections brought about the victories of ethnic-based parties:  
the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) of President Izetbegovic, the HDZ, 
and Karadzic's SDS.  The SDA and HDZ dominate in Federation territory.  
Opposition parties claimed that the SDA and HDZ systematically replaced 
minorities and non-party members of their own ethnic groups with the 
party faithful in senior positions in the economy and military.  In 
Serb-held territory, the SDS controlled both the media and political 
activity and did not permit dissent.   
 
The Bosnian Federation Human Rights Ombudsmen appointed by the OSCE, a 
committee of three (a Bosniak, a Croat, and a Serb), have done 
impressive work monitoring the human rights situation and bringing cases 
of abuse to the Bosniak and Croat Governments.  However, the Ombudsmen 
have no enforcement power, and authorities treat them with varying 
degrees of indifference and hostility.  The Ombudsmen say that were it 
not for international backing Federation authorities would disband them 
immediately.     
 
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 
 
Section 1   Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
from: 
 
  a. Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing 
 
The Bosnian government forces did not as a matter of policy commit 
political or other extrajudicial killings.  There are credible reports 
that Bosnian army troops murdered some of the followers of Bosniak 
renegade Fikrat Abdic, who fled to Croatian territory and were taken 
prisoner by the Croatian army following the liberation of the Bihac 
enclave.  The Croatian forces reportedly allowed Bosnian army troops to 
cross their lines and enter the camp of 20,000 (soldiers and families) 
where they killed some of the refugees and harassed others in revenge 
for their role in the siege of Bihac.  In December a joint police force 
made up of Croat, Bosnian, and Turkish police was formed to create a 
safe environment for the refugees to return to Velika Kladusa.  There 
were also credible reports that the administration of Hrasnica, a 
majority Serb district of Sarajevo controlled by the Government, seized 
over 150 Serb males in 1994 for forced labor on the front lines, the 
majority of whom were killed in the line of fire (see Section 1.c.).  
Government troops also shelled a Serb refugee column in August (see 
Section 1.g.). 
 
There are reliable reports that HVO forces occasionally killed Serb 
civilians, mostly elderly men but occasionally women and children, who 
were unable to flee when their towns were shelled.  
 
Republika Srpska was responsible for by far the most massive, egregious, 
and well-organized killings targeted on members of an ethnic group, 
including one of the worst single reported incidents of genocidal mass 
killing in Europe since World War II.  Serb military and paramilitary 
forces continued to terrorize Bosnian civilians through shelling, 
sniping, attacks on hospitals, and other military action (see Section 
1.g.).  The Serb seizure of Srebrenica, began at 3:15 a.m. on July 6 
with an intensive bombardment of civilian targets in the enclave, 
causing chaos among the populace which had nowhere to retreat.  In the 
next few days the shelling continued and Serb forces closed in, taking 
control of U.N. observation posts one by one and taking 55 U.N. troops 
hostage.  The desperate civilians fled, many on foot, to the U.N. base 
in the neighboring village of Potocari. 
 
On July 10 most of the military-age civilian males, and a number of ABiH 
soldiers, correctly concluded that they would be slaughtered if they 
were captured.  They decided that their best chance of survival would be 
to try to walk 50 kilometers through Serb territory to the nearest 
government lines.  Groups of varying sizes totalling from 10,000 to 
15,000, including some women and children, departed over July 10 to 12.  
The various columns broke up into smaller groups as Serb forces attacked 
them.  Survivors who reached safety in the Tuzla area reported mass 
executions of ABiH soldiers and civilian males.  According to one 
report, the Serbs ambushed a group of about 2,000 in a confined area 
near Kamenica, killing most.  According to some reports, Serbs dressed 
in U.N. uniforms they had stolen from UNPROFOR troops joined the column 
and knifed or strangled individuals.  Many of the men surrendered to the 
Serbs; some were killed after they surrendered.  Others reportedly 
committed suicide rather than surrender and face the possibility of 
torture.  There are numerous, credible reports that many of those who 
surrendered were taken to places of mass execution north of Srebrenica.  
The systematic way in which prisoners were moved to execution sites, and 
the presence of trailers and bulldozers (to transport corpses and to dig 
mass graves) indicate that the mass killings were planned well in 
advance.  More than 7,000 remain unaccounted for and presumed dead.   
 
By July 12, 3,000 to 4,000 civilians were packed into the U.N. base and 
another 24,000 were grouped around the base.  By this time, according to 
reports gathered by Human Rights Watch/Helsinki, Serb soldiers had 
killed at least 99 people, including 20 to 30 women and children, and 
Bosnian Serb troops were freely walking inside the camp among the 
civilians, with the U.N. troops reduced to bystanders.   Some Serbs 
donned U.N. uniforms, drove white U.N. jeeps, and thus disguised lured 
the refugees out of hiding to their deaths, according to U.N. and press 
reports. 
 
The deportation of civilians began on July 13.  Those men who did not 
leave on July 10 were separated from the women and children, including 
boys younger than 16 and men in their 70s.  Bosnian Serb commanding 
General Ratko Mladic arrived that afternoon with the Serb press.  With 
the cameras rolling and Serb soldiers handing out bread and water, 
Mladic told the refugees that they would be cared for. 
 
Once the press departed the mass killings began in earnest.  According 
to numerous and corroborated reports collected by the U.N., ICRC, and 
other international observers, eyewitnesses saw bodies of dead civilians 
along the road, many with their throats cut; others had been shot in the 
back of the head.  On the morning of July 14 two women who left their 
camp to look for water told Human Rights Watch/Helsinki that on their 
way back along the same path at around 8:00 a.m. they saw 10 dead males, 
some of whom they recognized, with their throats slashed.  Witnesses 
reported seeing military-age men being taken off of buses and taken out 
of sight, and then hearing gunfire.  Local Serb civilians confirmed to 
international journalists that the killings took place, and identified 
locations, such as the school in Karakaj, where the victims were held 
pending their execution.  Members of the UNPROFOR battalion that was to 
protect Srebrenica reported seeing an estimated 1,000 ABiH soldiers 
confined in a soccer stadium north of Nova Kasaba on July 13 and hearing 
about 45 minutes of continuous shooting from the stadium beginning at 
about 2:30 a.m. on the morning of July 14. 
 
According to an eyewitness who survived by pretending to be dead, some 
2,000 civilian Muslims were packed into a warehouse in Kravica 2 days 
after Srebrenica was overrun:  Serb soldiers then fired automatic 
weapons and rocket propelled grenades into the building.  Mass killings 
of civilian Muslims also took place at detention sites in Konjevic 
Polje, Potocari, and Karakaj.  Dutch soldiers saw Serbs kill unarmed 
Muslims and masses of dead bodies.  On July 15 Dutch troops saw 30 
bodies on the road between Nova Kasaba and Bratunac and on July 17 saw 
approximately 100 bodies on two trailers coming from the direction of 
Srebrenica.  A local man interviewed by journalists said he saw about 
500 killed while he lay hiding in reeds along the main road to Nova 
Kasaba.  Eyewitnesses reported that Serb army commander General Ratko 
Mladic was present at some of the mass executions of civilian Muslims, 
cradling an AK-47 rifle.  Serb paramilitary groups, including the Drina 
Wolves, Seselj Militia, Specialna Policia, White Eagles, and Arkan 
Tigers reportedly were also present. 
 
Similar atrocities may have occurred during the occupation of the Zepa 
safe-area, although a greater percentage of Zepa's population has been 
accounted for.  
 
Mass killings of non-Serbs as part of ethnic cleansing also took place 
in Banja Luka, Prijedor, Bosanski Novi, and Bosanska Dubica in September 
and October, in part to make room for Serb refugees who fled from the 
Croatian reoccupation of Krajina.  Croats reportedly were particular 
targets for revenge.  U.N. and other international observers collected 
numerous accounts of killings and other atrocities.   
 
In addition to mass killings, the Bosnian Serbs most often shot or slit 
the throats of their victims.  Beatings to death were also frequently 
reported.  Reports of grotesque cruelty were also common.  For example, 
a Bosniak woman described to Human Rights Watch/Helsinki how at Potocari 
Serb soldiers slit her son's throat before her eyes and forced her to 
drink his blood.  Victims of mass expulsions in the Banja Luka/Prijedor 
area in October reported that in some cases captives were forced to walk 
across mine fields or to cross rivers where the older and weak drowned.  
Many sick or wounded captives died because Bosnian Serb authorities 
denied them access to medical treatment.  There are reports of suicides 
by non-Serbs who were traumatized by the brutality they experienced.  In 
Potocari on July 12 a 14-year-old Bosniak girl hung herself with her 
scarf after she and her 12-year old cousin were raped by Serb soldiers.  
 
One Bosniak woman reported that she was forced out of her Bosanska 
Dubica home at gunpoint by paramilitary forces wearing black stockings 
over their heads, was beaten by them, and dragged away by her hair.  At 
the town square where she was held before her expulsion, she witnessed 
two women and three men beaten to death.  In another case, all four 
members of a retarded family were killed because they failed to 
understand that they were supposed to leave their home and get onto a 
bus. 
 
In May Bosnian Serbs shot down a helicopter carrying Bosnian Foreign 
Minister Irfan Lubjankic and Deputy Justice Minister Izet Muhamedagic 
from Bihac to Sarajevo.  All seven persons aboard were killed.  During 
the siege of Zepa, Serb commander Mladic lured Bosnian garrison 
commander Palic out of the enclave with an invitation to talk with him 
under UNPROFOR auspices.  Mladic's forces killed the commander on his 
way back to the enclave, and Mladic publicly took credit for the 
killing. 
 
  b. Disappearance 
 
Thousands of citizens are believed to be missing.  During the year and 
following the ethnic cleansing in Srebrenica and northern Bosnia, the 
total will likely reach into the tens of thousands.  The ICRC estimates 
that as many as 7,000 are missing from Srebrenica alone, and many 
thousands more are missing and unaccounted for since the beginning of 
the conflict.  Accurate statistics are difficult to obtain because the 
number of missing is constantly in flux as some are found and others are 
displaced or captured.  The accuracy of any estimate suffers from the 
inability of many Bosnian citizens to come to the Red Cross to register 
those missing.  In addition, since some families were completely wiped 
out, many missing citizens may simply have no one left to inquire about 
them.  The Red Cross believes that 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 
ICRC has not been able to visit.  An accurate accounting will likely not 
be possible for months, and possibly years, after the war's end.  The 
majority of those who disappeared in 1995 came from Srebrenica and areas 
subjected to ethnic cleansing in the Banja Luka area of northern Bosnia 
from August to October.   
 
Local Bosnian officials in Bugojno have yet to provide satisfactory 
information on the whereabouts of 26 prominent Croats who disappeared 
when the ABiH took the town in late 1993. 
 
There was no resolution of the longstanding case involving the 
disappearance of approximately 180 Bosniak men from Hadzici in June 
1992.  Pending information on the whereabouts of these men, the Bosnian 
Government continued to detain for a third year approximately 150 
Bosnian Serbs in a grain silo in the nearby town of Tarcin.  (The men 
were released in January 1996.)   
 
  c.   Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment 
 
The Constitution provides for the right to freedom from torture and 
cruel or inhuman treatment or punishment.  The Federation Government and 
its authorities do not condone such actions, although there were some 
credible reports that incidents took place.   
 
There were reliable reports that Serbs were used as forced labor on the 
front lines at a battle at the covered market Gusica Hala near Stup in 
June or July.  Men from Hrasnica and other detention centers reportedly 
were tied together, to prevent escape, and sent to remove mines and 
build sandbag walls.  Two reportedly were killed, and a number of 
wounded were traded in a prisoner exchange. 
 
Non-Serbs and international observers in Serb-held territory credibly 
reported that Serb authorities and Serb civilians, with the support of 
the authorities, routinely used cruel and degrading treatment to further 
ethnic cleansing.  For example, Bosnian Serbs beat a 61-year old 
Prijedor man 10 times over a 3-year period for refusing to abandon his 
house.  He was finally expelled.  Serb authorities in Banja Luka 
arrested, beat, and tortured Banja Luka community leaders in Mali Logor 
barracks in what was viewed as an attempt to further ethnic cleansing 
(see Section 1.d.). 
 
Serb forces routinely used rape to accelerate the process of ethnic 
cleansing.  Statistics are difficult to obtain because of the cultural 
stigma, especially for Muslim women, that comes with the victim's 
acknowledgement that she was raped. 
 
Numerous civilians who fled or were expelled from the Banja Luka area in 
September and October reported that they had been robbed, beaten, raped, 
threatened, and forced to pay to keep men from being taken for forced 
labor on the front lines (many were taken despite the payment).  Many 
civilians held in forced labor on the front lines were killed in the 
line of fire.  According to one Muslim from Banja Luka who was forced to 
work on the front lines, laborers were sometimes forced to sleep in the 
trenches during the winter and would sometimes freeze to death 
overnight. 
 
Serb refugees from other parts of Bosnia and Krajina, with the help of 
local Serb authorities, forced non-Serb families out of their homes.  
Non-Serbs were not able to work or receive a salary legally or to obtain 
medical insurance.  As a result, many non-Serbs in the Banja 
Luka/Prijedor area could not obtain medicines, which were available.  
Many therefore suffered and died from lack of medicine and medical 
treatment.  For example, there were credible reports of diabetics 
attempting to use herb mixtures as a substitute for insulin, with 
unsuccessful results.  Many were expelled from their homes but not 
permitted to leave Serb-held territory.  Many of them live under 
bridges, in caves, and on the streets, according to U.N. sources. 
 
Bosnian Serb authorities in Prijedor and other towns in the Banja Luka 
area forced Muslims to wear white arm bands and painted their houses 
with white stripes.  Serb soldiers sometimes cut crosses into the heads 
of Croats with knives. 
 
According to the Federation Ombudsmen, conditions in government prisons 
are poor and well below international standards, though not life-
threatening.  Food, clothing, and soap are in chronic short supply.  To 
a limited extent, there are accounts of beatings and mistreatment by 
officials in government detention centers.  Women, minors, and the 
mentally retarded are sometimes kept in the same facilities with adult 
male criminals.  Prisoners of war (POW's), civilians seized for use in 
exchanges, and common criminals are usually segregated. 
 
In government prisons, access to prisoners being held for criminal 
offenses was generally adequate, according to human rights lawyers.  
However, the ABiH began refusing access to its detention centers 
following an influx of prisoners taken during its offensive in August.  
Local observers believe these prisoners will be traded for Bosniak 
prisoners. 
 
There are credible accounts of prisoners being brutalized and murdered 
in Serb detention facilities.  Republika Srpska authorities allowed the 
ICRC access to prisoners held in detention centers already known to the 
ICRC, but many observers believe the Serbs have secret detention and 
forced labor centers where abuses continue.   
 
Serb authorities released well-known Serbian scholar and poet Vladimir 
Srebrov in November.  The Republika Srpska's most famous political 
prisoner, Srebrov in 1992 went to Serb-controlled Ilidza and publicly 
called on Bosnian Serbs to be loyal to the Bosnian government.  He was 
arrested and sentenced to 10 years in jail for being an "enemy of the 
Serbian nation."  Srebrov said that he was kept in solitary confinement 
much of the time and beaten on a regular basis, "no less than once per 
week, sometimes every day."  Those who beat him said that they would 
"teach him to become a Great Serbian."  His health deteriorated and he 
lost nearly 100 pounds in the course of 1 year.  He said that Kula 
prison, where he was kept, was being used as a "Potemkin village" to 
show Western visitors that prisoners of the Serbs were being treated 
properly, and that probably no killings had occurred there since 1992.  
Srebrov stated that he had heard from other prisoners that killing, 
torture (including skinning alive, putting out of eyes, hacking off of 
limbs), and inhumane conditions had been commonplace at other Serb 
prison camps functioning at various times since 1992, including Manjaca,  
 
Omarska, Keraterm, Tomasica, and Trnopolje.  He also noted that 
prisoners were segregated by ethnic group (Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks) 
with Serbs receiving the best treatment and Bosniaks the worst.  
International humanitarian aid was not distributed to prisoners except 
in token amounts on days when international visitors were present.  When 
not in solitary confinement Srebrov was sometimes kept with Serb common 
criminals, many of whom were eventually sent to work on the front lines.  
Srebrov noted that the greatest acts of brutality came from uneducated 
rural Serbs who were "guzla patriots."  (The guzla is a two-stringed 
instrument used to accompany songs of Serb exploits against the Turks, 
with whom the Bosniaks are identified.)  These people were reportedly 
the most vulnerable targets for Serbian leader Karadzic's hate 
propaganda.   
 
  d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 
 
There are credible reports that military police in Sarajevo sometimes 
arrested civilians, particularly Serbs and Croats, but also Bosniaks.  
The military police told inquiring friends and relatives not to inquire 
about those arrested "if they know what's good for them."  It is illegal 
for military police to arrest civilians. 
 
The authorities continued to detain approximately 150 Bosnian Serbs in 
Tarcin, pending resolution of longstanding disappearances (see Section 
1.b.).  (The detainees were released in January 1996.) 
 
Throughout the war and continuing in 1995 both Federation forces and 
Republika Srpska authorities routinely seized civilians for use in 
exchanges for POW's or commodities such as fuel, food, and alcohol.  
However, the Federation reportedly reduced this practice to a great 
extent in 1995.  According to the Federation Ombudsmen, military-age men 
bring the highest value; there are reports that military-age men have 
been traded for two women or children.  The trades are frequently 
arranged by local military commands without the involvement of the ICRC 
or UNPROFOR. 
 
There are credible reports that people bribe those conducting the 
exchanges to move their relatives who are held by the other side to the 
top of the priority list of captives for whom the exchanges are made.  
Bribes for military-age males reportedly range from $100 to $750.  This 
practice contributed to the process of ethnic cleansing by further 
concentrating the members of the three ethnic groups in their respective 
areas.  There are no reliable statistics on the number of prisoners held 
or exchanged, but there are a number of reports of exchanges of over 100 
people at a time.  Prisoners are being released in accordance with the 
Dayton peace agreement. 
 
Arbitrary arrest was a common experience for non-Serbs in Serb-held 
areas.  Serb authorities in Banja Luka arrested 5 Bosnian Muslim 
community leaders in August 1994 and another 10 in February on charges 
of espionage.  Many local Muslims believe that the arrests were an 
effort to "decapitate" the community as part of ethnic cleansing.  The 
leaders were held in Mali Logor barracks and beaten and tortured.  Three 
were reportedly released in 1995 as part of a prisoner exchange.  There 
is no further word on the welfare of the others.  Bosnian Serbs also 
detained foreign journalists (see Section 2.a.) and nongovernmental 
organization (NGO) employees, including physicians from "Doctors Without 
Borders." 
 
The Government does not have a policy of forced exile, although most 
Serbs have fled government-held territory. 
 
Tens of thousands of Bosnians were seized, detained, and forcibly 
removed to Federation territory in the ethnic cleansing process in 1995, 
including at least 37,000 from Srebrenica and Zepa and at least 26,000 
from northern Bosnia, with more than 10,000 still unaccounted for and 
presumed dead.  As of mid-December, Serb ethnic cleansing had left only 
about 20,000 non-Serbs in Serb-held north Bosnia, from a pre-war 
population of over 500,000.  In Serb-held east Bosnia, after the fall of 
Srebrenica and Zepa (and excluding the Gorazde enclave), fewer than 
1,000 remain, many of whom are members of mixed marriage families.    
 
  e. Denial of Fair Public Trial 
 
The Republic's Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, 
extends the judiciary's independence to the investigative division of 
the criminal justice system, and establishes a judicial police force 
that reports directly to the courts.  However, these provisions have not 
yet been implemented, and the executive appears to exercise authority 
over the judiciary.  For example, on September 9 the Ministry of Finance 
issued a decree ordering government banks not to pay those who had won 
grievances in court against government enterprises.  The legal system is 
designed to guard against discrimination against ethnic minorities by 
ensuring adequate diversity of representation on the bench.  However, 
according to numerous observers, the ruling SDA and HDZ parties are 
"packing" the courts with party loyalists, thus undermining the 
independence of the judiciary.  All court appointments in the Tuzla area 
reportedly must be approved by the local SDA personnel chief.   
 
The Constitution establishes a 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, 
the appointment of judges for terms which end when they reach age 70, 
and internal administration of the judicial branch.  However, the court 
structures outlined in the Federation agreement have yet to be 
implemented. 
 
The Constitution provides for the right to fair criminal proceedings.  
There is a functioning appellate system, and the accused has the right 
to legal counsel. 
 
In 1995 the legal system was essentially the same as that of the former 
Socialist Republic of Bosnia, with modifications for the wartime 
situation which are restrictive of basic rights.  For example, the Law 
on Implementation of the Law on Internal Affairs gives the police the 
discretion to arrest and detain for 5 days anyone they believe may be a 
danger to the State.  Police also have the authority to expel people to 
and from different regions of the country if they deem a suspect to be a 
danger to the State.  The Law on Refugees defines refugees as "victims 
of the aggressor," which is interpreted to be the Bosnian Serbs.  
Therefore people forced out of their homes by the HVO or ABiH are not 
entitled to refugee status.  The Law on Amendments to the Criminal Law 
defines the prevention of refugees from returning to their homes as a 
criminal act.  Under these laws, it is not a criminal act for the ABiH 
to prevent Croats that it expelled--or for the HVO to prevent Bosniaks 
that it expelled--from returning home.  However, under the Dayton 
Agreement, all refugees and displaced persons have the right to return 
to their homes voluntarily.  
 
According to international relief workers based in Pale, the Bosnian 
Serbs also use a modified form of the Yugoslav Republic of Bosnia's 
criminal code.   
  
There have been no credible reports that the Bosnian Government holds 
political prisoners.  In November the Serbian authorities released poet 
Vladimir Srebrov (see Section 1.c.). 
 
  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 1995.  
Authorities nevertheless monitored communications that impinged on 
military or other national security concerns. 
 
The persistence of the Serb policy of ethnic cleansing throughout the 
year in varying degrees constituted sustained arbitrary interference 
with family and home.  In a formal communication to the ICRC on August 
14, Bosnian Serb authorities gave assurances that minorities were free 
to stay or leave territories under their control and that they would not 
be subject to harassment nor would families be separated in the course 
of evacuation or men be seized for labor on the front lines.  All of 
these commitments were violated massively and systematically from August 
through December in the Serb-held areas of northern Bosnia. 
 
More than 26,000 Bosniaks and Croats were forced from their homes during 
this period.  A great many of the refugees reported a similar pattern of 
events.  Serb soldiers or police would forcibly enter their homes 
without notice and threaten the family members with death if they did 
not leave immediately.  Often, no time was allowed for packing and 
valuables, including property titles, were stolen on the spot.  In some 
cases military-age men would be separated and taken away, members of the 
family would be beaten, and sometimes killed or raped in the course of 
the eviction.  One 17-year-old Muslim girl from Sanski Most told U.N. 
officials that she managed to run away with her sisters after her 
parents had been killed in the course of expelling them from their home 
on September 21.  She was later captured by soldiers of paramilitary 
leader Zeliko Raznatovic ("Arkan") and raped. 
 
In some cases these atrocities would take place en route to the Bosnian 
lines.  During the week of September 19-26, according to eyewitness 
reports collected by the U.N., nearly 1,500 Muslim residents of Doboj 
were forced out of their homes on very short notice, gathered in a 
sports stadium, and from there bused to an area near the confrontation 
line and forced to walk some 10 to 15 miles in very difficult 
conditions.  Several elderly people died of exhaustion.  Some of the 
displaced showed clear signs of severe physical abuse. 
 
Families were often told that they could ransom their men for as much as 
$400 to $500, but even when the money was paid, the men were never 
released.  Many refugees reported that they were harassed in the weeks 
prior to their expulsions by the paramilitary forces of "Arkan" and 
Vojislav Seselj, leader of the Radical Party of Serbia.  The harassment 
included threats, beating, murder, rape, and destruction of property. 
 
Local Serbian authorities in Serb-occupied territories continued a 
policy of summarily confiscating the property of mixed-marriage couples 
with sons who had either fled abroad or to Federation territory. 
 
  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.  ABiH forces 
generally respected international human rights standards.  UNPROFOR 
observers reported that ABiH forces shelled a refugee column in Donji 
Zirovac on August 8.  There are credible reports that ABiH soldiers, 
with the cooperation of Croatian forces, harassed and murdered followers 
of renegade Muslim leader Abdic while they were confined to a detention 
camp in Croatia (see Section 1.a.). 
 
Croatian forces also were responsible for indiscriminate killing.  
During HVO offensives in western Bosnia in September and October, HVO 
forces shelled civilian areas in Bosanski Novi, Bosanska Dubica, 
Knezica, Svodna, and Doboj. 
 
International observers agree that Serb forces continued to violate 
international humanitarian law on a massive scale, especially during the 
takeover of Srebrenica and Zepa and the mass expulsions from northern 
Bosnia throughout autumn.  Serb forces used rape as a tool of war, and 
as a means to accelerate ethnic cleansing. 
 
Compiling statistics for 1995 is difficult due to the Serb authorities' 
usual refusal to cooperate with international human rights groups, U.N. 
agencies, and the ICRC, in addition to the sheer number of those killed, 
missing, and displaced by Serb actions.  Thorough documentation may well 
require months and possibly years.  However, the overwhelming number of 
credible eyewitness reports collected by local and international human 
rights observers leaves no doubt that Serb forces committed mass 
killings in the ethnic cleansing of Srebrenica in July and in the Banja 
Luka/Prijedor area in August, September, and October see Section 1.a.). 
 
According to UNHCR reports, the arrival of the paramilitary forces of 
Zeliko Raznatovic, or "Arkan," in Sanski Most on September 21 led to the 
mass expulsion of Bosniaks from the area.  Forced expulsions, as well as 
killings, continued well into December.  According to credible reports 
more than 100 individuals were killed in October at a cement factory in 
Sanski Most.   
 
Some of the distraught survivors of the Srebrenica massacre, upon 
reaching safety in the Tuzla area, forcibly expelled 160 Serb families 
from their homes and killed 4 Serb civilians.  Tuzla authorities 
prevented the further spread of violence against local Serbs.   
 
There are reports that large numbers of non-Serbs were killed in Serb-
run detention camps (see Section 1.c.).     
 
Throughout 1995 the BSA continued to pound Bosnian populations centers 
with mortars and automatic weapons fire, causing the death of thousands 
of civilians.  The BSA continued to target noncombatant and populated 
areas for shelling and sniping to maintain a constant atmosphere of 
terror and vulnerability.  The population centers most affected were 
Srebrenica, Zepa,  
 
Sarajevo, Gorazde, Tuzla.  From January through mid-October, Serbian 
gunners, including snipers, killed over 1,500 Sarajevo civilians and 
wounded more than 7,300.  On October 3, a Serb cluster bomb killed 10 
civilians and injured 34 in Zivinice, a town near Tuzla.  In Sarajevo 
the most deadly results from a single projectile came in a downtown 
Sarajevo marketplace on August 28 when one shell killed 41 people and 
wounded more than 70 others.  In June and July, Serb shelling appeared 
to be deliberately timed for when the greatest number of people would be 
on the street and most vulnerable.  One school was hit twice during that 
period.    
 
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. 
 
Bosnian Serb authorities continued to defy UNSC Resolution 900, which 
specifically provides for the uninterrupted supply of utilities to 
Sarajevo, by cutting off the supply of basic utilities as part of their 
strategy of pressuring and demoralizing the population of Sarajevo.   
 
Additionally, perpetrators of grave violations of international 
humanitarian law could be indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal. 
 
Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 
 
  a. Freedom of Speech and Press 
 
The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press.  The 
Government partially respects this right in the majority of Federation 
territory; authorities in HDZ-controlled Herceg-Bosna do not respect it 
at all.   
 
Continued wartime conditions have limited the development of truly 
independent media in Federation territory.  Although there are some, in 
general the ruling SDA and HDZ political parties exert considerable 
influence over the media.  Many private radio stations broadcast locally 
in Federation territory; a smaller number of private television stations 
serve local markets in Sarajevo, Zenica and Tuzla.  Only state 
television, which is controlled by the ruling SDA party, is broadcast 
throughout Bosniak territory as well as parts of Croat territory and the 
Republika Srpska.     
 
The development of independent media also was constrained by the wartime 
lack of start-up capital, paper, and supplies and the rising world price 
of newsprint.  Few of the media are commercially viable; some survive 
through the sponsorship of private organizations, cultural societies, 
and political parties, others with help from Western aid organizations.  
Western television broadcasts such as Cable News Network and Sky News 
are available to those with satellite receivers.  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. 
 
Some independent media have complained about government intimidation.  
Studio 99's radio and television transmitter mysteriously caught fire 
and burned down following the station's show of support for an SDA rival 
of President Izetbegovic.  The station was off the air for 7 days.  An 
independent magazine complained that it and its sponsors were harassed 
by government financial police.  In Tuzla the editorial staff of the 
radio station Chameleon was drafted for military duty following 
broadcasts critical of the Government. 
 
Foreign journalists in Sarajevo and elsewhere on Federation territory 
generally were able to operate without problems.  However, some said 
that it was difficult to gain access to territory recently taken from 
the Serbs, especially in Croat-controlled areas where the HVO tried to 
maintain tighter control over press activities.   
 
In the Republika Srpska the media are a propaganda tool of the ruling 
SDS party.  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 
Republika Srpska.  The public in Serb territory only has access to two 
choices:  Bosnian Serb media from Pale or Serbian media from Belgrade.   
  
The SDS strictly censors the media in the Serb area.  Sonja Karadzic, 
the "President's" daughter, is in charge of issuing safe-conduct passes 
for foreign journalists.  Foreign journalists must work under 
significant restrictions, and face the possibility of being banned or 
arrested for researching stories that might be unfavorable to the 
Karadzic regime.  Christian Science Monitor reporter David Rohde was 
held for nearly 2 weeks for researching stories of mass killing.  
American reporters Tracy Wilkinson and Kit Roane, and British reporter 
Emma Daily were detained without charges and held incommunicado 
overnight.  Two Turkish journalists, Munira Acim and Alija Kocak, were 
seized on October 7 and 2 weeks later were traded to the ABiH for Serb 
POW's.  In March two journalists, a Bosnian Muslim and a Jordanian-
Bosnian dual national, were arrested and later exchanged for Serb POW's.   
 
Wartime conditions, lack of resources, and difficulty in maintaining 
contact with other academic communities constrained academic freedom.  
Serbs and Croats complained that SDA party favorites were more likely to 
get promoted or obtain senior managerial positions. 
 
In Serb-controlled areas, the authorities general lack of tolerance for 
dissent led to total control of the educational media.  The curriculum 
in Serb-controlled areas has been revamped to teach solely Serb history, 
art, literature, etc.  There has been no evidence of an intellectual 
exchange of ideas in the media or other academic forums 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.  Large gatherings, which 
might have attracted Serb shelling or sniping, were banned until 
September.    
 
While political membership is not forced, membership in the ruling SDA 
and HDZ parties in Federation territory is increasingly viewed as a way 
to obtain housing and high-level jobs in the state-owned sector of the 
economy.   
 
In the Republika Sprska the SDS's control over security and police 
imposes severe limitations on the right to assemble and associate.  
Authorities orchestrated large demonstrations protesting the Dayton 
agreement in November.  Although 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, 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. 
 
The dominant political parties are both based on ethnic and religious 
identification:  SDA--Muslim and HDZ--Croat.  Some members of these 
parties used religion or ethnicity as ideological litmus tests and a 
means of intraparty competition.    
 
The Republika Srpska continued systematically to eradicate the remaining 
traces of Muslim and Catholic presence by demolishing religious and 
cultural sites.  According to government statistics, some 1,424 Muslim 
and 275 Catholic religious sites were destroyed during the war as part 
of ethnic cleansing by Bosnian Serbs, as well as 30 Orthodox and 6 
Jewish sites. 
 
As part of ethnic cleansing in northern Bosnia in May, Father Blaz 
Markovic of Trn and two nuns were severely beaten and their church blown 
up.  A week earlier the burned bodies of a local priest and a nun were 
found in the Catholic church in Presnace.   
 
In northern Bosnia Serb authorities required Muslims to wear white arm 
bands and marked their houses with painted white stripes.  Serb soldiers 
sometimes cut crosses into the heads of Croats with knives (see Section 
1.c.). 
 
  d.   Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, 
Emigration, and Repatriation 
 
In practice, the ongoing hostilities effectively restricted the full 
exercise of these rights.  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 Government declared that any citizen of any of the former Yugoslav 
republics present in Bosnia as of April 6, 1992 was a Bosnian citizen 
and could not leave Bosnia without special permission, especially 
military-age males.  Serbs and Croats in Sarajevo complained that it was 
more difficult for them to obtain permission to leave the city than it 
was for Bosniaks, and that the Government abused Article 33 of the Law 
on Travel Orders, which authorizes restrictions on the movement of 
possible terrorists, to discriminate against them.  Sarajevo Serbs in 
particular complained that government authorities arbitrarily denied 
them permission to cross the "Peace Bridge" into Serb-controlled 
Sarajevo even after they had scheduled a date to cross and paid the 
required fee (30 German marks).  Bosniaks, too, complained about the 
difficulties in obtaining permission to leave, which was virtually 
impossible for military-age men of any ethnic group.   
 
Under the Dayton Agreement, all refugees--however defined--have the 
right of return or just compensation.   
 
Croat authorities so far have been slow to permit the agreed number of 
Muslims to resettle in Jajce and Stolac.  As a clear demonstration of 
the bad faith that exists on both sides, lists of names of refugees 
accepted for return have included the names of people who died before 
the fighting began, and of refugees who have permanently settled abroad.  
The Bosnian Government generally permits Croats to enter and travel in 
Muslim territory more easily than Croat authorities allow Muslims to 
cross into Croat areas.  In addition to official obstacles, many 
refugees on both sides are afraid to return to their former homes, since 
they fear that they would no longer be welcome there. 
 
All sides have been credibly accused of "ethnic engineering," the 
process of resettling refugees of one side's ethnic group into the homes 
of members of other ethnic groups in a given area to prevent the return 
of the other side's people to that area.  On the Federation side, the 
Ombudsmen received numerous cases of Serbs, Croats, or other minorities 
returning to their homes only to find that Bosniak refugees had been 
moved in.  In some cases returning Bosniaks found that their property 
had been taken over by officials of the mostly Bosniak SDA.  A Bosniak 
woman returning to her home in Vrnograc near Velika Kladusa told U.N. 
officials that the Mayor had moved into her house and refused to leave.  
The Government was generally unhelpful to the Ombudsmen in their 
attempts to resolve these cases.  In one case an elderly Jewish woman, 
Viola Drucker, had left Sarajevo in 1992.  When she returned in 1995, 
she found that her home was occupied by a Bosniak from Sarajevo whose 
family already had a house in Sarajevo.  According to the Ombudsmen, the 
Government made an agreement with the Sarajevo Jewish community in 1992 
to protect the homes of its members.  The Rais el-Ulema, head of 
Sarajevo's Muslim community, intervened on Ms. Drucker's behalf but the 
Government still refused to return her property.  In another case, a 
Bosniak woman returned to her house in Sarajevo to find an SDA official 
living there.  The Government was also accused of seizing former JNA 
housing that had been purchased from the JNA under special agreement by 
JNA officers, especially housing owned by minority officers.  President 
Izetbegovic decreed that the legal status of JNA housing be "frozen" 
until the end of the war.  A number of the officers' families have 
already been evicted and the housing given to Bosniak refugees. 
 
A common attitude within the Government and the SDA was summed up by the 
Secretary of the Sarajevo Municipality Committee for Housing Affairs 
when he said, "Those who left the country abandoning their property 
should not be protected."  The assumption is that fleeing the war also 
indicates voluntary abandonment of property.  The property issue is 
expected to take on greater importance in 1996 as the repatriation of 
refugees begins.  Although better documented in the Bosniak side of the 
Federation, potential property claims exist throughout Bosnia.   
 
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.  The next elections are scheduled for the second half of 
1996 and will be held throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, as required by 
the Dayton Agreement.   
 
The delay in establishing the Federation's internal structure was 
compounded by the nature of the Federation as a state of  
 
Bosniaks, Croats, and "others."  Under the Constitution, power is to be 
shared primarily between Bosnians and Croats.  However, it became clear 
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 Bosniak 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," SDS control of the media and security apparatus 
effectively precludes true citizen participation without intimidation.  
In the Republika Srpska 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 general, the Government permits international and NGO investigations 
of alleged human rights violations, Herceg-Bosna authorities permit them 
to a much lesser extent, and the Republika Srpska is least responsive.  
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, 
but cooperation by the Bosnian Croats and the Republika Srpska is far 
more limited.   
 
According to the Federation Agreement, three Ombudsmen, one Bosniak, one 
Croat, and one other were appointed for a 3-year term by the OSCE with 
the approval of the Federation President and Vice President.  Their 
mandate is to protect human rights and liberties as guaranteed by the 
Constitution.  They monitor human rights abuses and seek to reverse the 
consequences of human rights violations, especially ethnic cleansing.  
The Ombudsmen have broad investigative powers and may initiate or 
intervene in court proceedings.  They may also seek redress for 
individual complaints.  In 1995 they received thousands of individual 
complaints, mostly concerning violation of property rights and freedom 
of movement.  The Ombudsmen have done substantial work in collecting and 
cataloging abuses, and have succeeded in resolving some cases.  However, 
their actual power is quite limited, and government agencies usually 
ignore them with impunity, especially on cases involving the ruling SDA 
and HVZ parties.  A Human Rights Commission, provided for in the Dayton 
Agreement, will work closely with the Ombudsman. 
 
The Bosnian Serbs generally refused to cooperate with any sort of 
investigation of alleged human rights abuses and made it clear, as in 
the case of American journalist David Rohde, who was seized because of 
his investigations into the Srebrenica killings (see Section 2.a.), that 
such activity could be dangerous.  However, Federal Republic of 
Yugoslavia President Slobodan Milosevic said he would urge the Bosnian 
Serb authorities to cooperate with the ICRC and other international 
organizations in investigating the fate of some 1,400 persons missing 
from Banja Luka, and to provide access to international investigative 
missions to sites of alleged human rights atrocities.  These diplomatic 
efforts eventually led Serb authorities to grant the ICRC access to 
Bosnian Serb prisons known to the organization.  However, it is widely 
believed that there are other prisons still not known to international 
observers.   
 
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.  As described above, 
however, there were many cases of discrimination.  
 
  Women 
 
Women continue to be subjected to rape and other forms of physical 
abuse.  Rape was one of the most frequently used tools of ethnic 
cleansing by the Bosnian Serbs (see Sections 1.c. and 1.g.).  In 
northern Bosnia a 76-year-old woman was raped in the process of 
expulsion from her home.  In Srebrenica a 91-year-old woman was shot to 
death for not getting into a bus fast enough.   
 
Although accurate statistics are not available because of wartime 
conditions, there appears to be little legal or social discrimination 
against women.  Women hold some of the most responsible positions in 
society, including judges, doctors, and professors.  For example, a 
Muslim woman heads Bosnian radio and television.  Women are entitled to 
12 months' maternity leave and required to work no more than 4 hours per 
day until a child is 3 years old.  A woman with underage children may 
not be forced to do shift work.   
 
  Children 
 
There is no discrimination or societal pattern of abuse against 
children.  It is too early to tell what the long-term effects of the 
privations of war will have on the next generation of Bosnians.  In 
addition to the shortages of food and clothing, closing of schools, and 
an environment constricted by sniping and shelling, the loss of one or 
both parents and other relatives--often brutally before their eyes--will 
likely have a significant long-term effect on Bosnia's children.   
 
In the course of the war, nearly 17,000 children were killed, 35,000 
wounded, and over 1,800 permanently disabled.  In Sarajevo alone over 
1,600 were killed, 15,000 wounded, and over 350 permanently disabled.  
Many of those killed in Sarajevo were killed by snipers, who could 
easily distinguish between children and adults.  In fact, Serb snipers 
deliberately targeted children, and Serb artillery deliberately targeted 
schools and playgrounds for shelling.  The elementary school in 
Alipasina Pale, a suburb of Sarajevo, was shelled twice in the spring; 
the first attack killed four pupils and a teacher and wounded 34, the 
second attack killed 7 and wounded 8.  The small playground above the 
main Sarajevo marketplace was also attacked twice; two children were 
killed in the first attack and 4 killed and 4 wounded in the second.  
None of these places were located near military targets.   
 
  People with Disabilities 
 
By law the Government is required to assist people with disabilities in 
finding employment and protecting them against discrimination.  In the 
current situation there are few jobs available, and approximately 12,000 
newly disabled victims of the war entering the job market.  The 
Government had limited resources to address the special needs of the 
disabled.   
 
  National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities 
 
Ethnic differences--complicated by religious 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 serious human rights violations committed 
in Bosnia and Herzegovina--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.   
 
 
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 1995. 
 
  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 wide-scale use of prisoners for forced labor 
on the front lines by the Bosnian Serbs, and to a much more limited 
extent by the Federation (see Section 1.c.).   
 
According to reliable reports the Serbs maintain a number of forced 
labor camps not yet discovered by the ICRC or other international 
humanitarian organizations.   Non-Serb men and women in northern Bosnia, 
ages 12 to 60, were routinely forced to labor digging trenches, clearing 
mines, tilling fields, cleaning streets, etc.  They received no 
compensation for this work. 
 
  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.  Children 
sometimes assisted their families with farm work and odd jobs.   
 
  e. Acceptable Conditions of Work 
 
The minimum monthly wage is slightly more than $15 (20 German marks, the 
de facto currency), and $13 per month for pensioners.  In principle this 
wage level is guaranteed, but in  
 
reality it is meaningless as the economy is in a state of collapse.  
Workers were often not paid for all the work that they performed.  The 
official wartime workweek is 7 hours per day, Monday through Saturday, 
though many people worked far more hours.  Holidays are generally 
ignored with the exception of New Year's and certain Muslim holidays.   
 
Occupational safety and health regulations were generally sacrificed 
because of the demands and constraints imposed by the war. 

(###)

[end of document]

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