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J. The situation in the United Nations Protected Areas


144. In areas under the control of the so-called "Republic of Serbian Krajina", the organized and massive "ethnic cleansing" of Croats and other non-Serbs is largely a fait accompli. Nevertheless, a climate of hostility and abuse against the remaining ethnic minorities exists and they continue to leave the UNPAs.

145. The prevailing lawlessness, as well as economic pressures, encourages acts of violence and harassment by individual criminal elements or small criminal groups who take advantage of the hostility against Croats for personal gain. The Knin authorities have not demonstrated a serious willingness to repress such acts. In particular, members of paramilitary groups, such as the Territorial Defence Forces, appear to enjoy a considerable degree of impunity. As a general rule, the level of violence and harassment against Croats increases during periods of active hostility. They have frequently been the victims of retaliations for actions of the Croatian armed forces.

146. The Special Rapporteur has received several reports concerning intimidation and harassment by the Knin authorities of those Serbs considered as "spies" and "traitors" because of their involvement in reconciliation with Croats.

UNPA Sector South

147. According to information received by the Special Rapporteur, at present there are 1,161 ethnic Croats resident in Sector South and the Pink Zones; 44,000 ethnic Croats inhabited the area in 1991. The largest Croatian community within the Sector is the village of Podlapaca in the area of Korenica. The village of eight hamlets has 116 ethnic Croats. They have been subjected to abuses including killings, looting and the confiscation of farm equipment. It is reported that only eight inhabitants wish to remain in the area. For reasons of security many inhabitants spend the night in the homes of those who live close to the UNPROFOR base. The Knin authorities, however, have reacted to some complaints and have arrested and detained suspects in the murder of four Croats from Podlapaca. They have not as yet however identified suspects, allegedly wearing the uniform of the Territorial Defence Forces, implicated in the murder of Croats on 12 July and 6 September 1993 in Podlapaca.

148. Another area of concern is Drnis and Vrlika where, in particular after the Medak pocket incident, the mainly elderly ethnic Croat population has been subjected to abuse and harassment. In this area, the Knin authorities have either been unable or unwilling to provide adequate protection against such incidents and have denied access to United Nations Civilian Police (UNCIVPOL). Conditions are better in areas such as Bruska within the municipality of Benkovac, where the authorities provide some degree of protection against human rights abuses. There are 18 imprisoned ethnic Croats in Laskovica and 30 in Sonkovic. In the area of Knin and Korenica, several religious sites have been extensively damaged.

149. According to the local Red Cross, as of 29 June 1993 there were a total of 34,636 displaced persons and refugees in Sector South and the "Pink Zones". It is reported that 11,491 were displaced as a result of the hostilities on 22 January 1993. Of the total population of displaced persons and refugees, all are ethnic Serbs with the exception of 136 Croats and 66 others.

UNPA Sector North

150. There have been several reports of harassment and intimidation of the estimated 1,500 to 2,000 Croats remaining in this area, which has a total population of approximately 70,000. During a visit to the area in May 1993, the field staff were informed by reliable sources that there were at least 35 non-Serb detainees at a detention centre in Vojnic. The grounds for detention are usually "disciplinary measures" and "illegal border crossing". Reports were also received that two persons who had disappeared from the Croatian village of Maja, near Glina, had been found dead.

151. The Special Rapporteur has also received reports of the killing of Serbs. On 23 May 1993, the bodies of three Serb civilians who had apparently been killed in an ambush were discovered near the village of Gora, in the vicinity of Petrinja. They had been shot at close range. On 26 May, during a visit of the field staff to the Sector, another four bodies were discovered in the same area. They were uniformed and appeared to have been killed by bullets in the head while lying face down on the ground. In another incident, on 14 July 1993, 4 civilians were killed and 27 injured when a passenger train hit an anti-tank mine while crossing a bridge west of the town of Glina. Although the specific identity of the perpetrators has not been determined in any of these cases, it is alleged that all of these acts were committed by "Croatian infiltrators" from outside the UNPAs.

152. During a visit to Sector North in August 1993, the Special Rapporteur held meetings with UNPROFOR officials and discussed the issue of repatriation of displaced Croats. It was clear, however, that such repatriation could not be secured in view of the prevailing climate of hostility and militarization. The Special Rapporteur himself was witness to the destruction of a Croatian home during his visit.

UNPA Sector West

153. Approximately 15,000 Croats, as well as 1,300 Serbs who have fled Sector West, are presently registered as displaced persons in the Republic of Croatia. In addition, it is estimated that there are 15,000 Serbian displaced persons who have fled to Sector East. In Sector West itself, there were 12,301 displaced persons as of 30 April 1993, of whom 4,946 were in the areas of Sector West under Croatian control and 7,355 in areas under the control of the Knin authorities.

154. In areas of Sector West under Croatian control, there have been reports of continuing discrimination and harassment against Serbs. In one case of discrimination in April 1993, the Daruvar local authorities adopted a decision to prevent Serbian displaced persons who had allegedly participated in the 1990 Referendum on the Cultural Autonomy of Serbs to benefit from assistance provided by the Daruvar Social Welfare Office. Through the coordinated actions of UNPROFOR and UNHCR, this decision was revoked by the Croatian Government Commissioner for Daruvar.

155. In the areas of Sector West under the control of the Knin authorities, there are approximately 35,000 to 40,000 inhabitants, of whom 500 are ethnic Croats. According to the Knin authorities, approximately 30 per cent of the population are displaced persons. During a meeting with the field staff, the Knin authorities complained that UNPROFOR had not allowed them to realize the resettlement of 6,000 displaced Serbs in "empty" Croatian villages.

156. Because of their participation in confidence-building measures with the Croatian Government, some Serbs in Sector West have been stigmatized as "traitors". On 21 September 1993, two former high-ranking members of the Knin authorities were accused of cooperation with Croats and arrested because of their participation in a social reconstruction project co-sponsored by UNOV/UNDP and a non-governmental organization. A Serb who was the manager of the project was also arrested.

UNPA Sector East

157. According to figures in the 1991 census and a 1993 UNCIVPOL census, the Croat population of the Sector has dropped from 46 per cent of the total to approximately 6 per cent, whereas the Serb population has increased from 34 per cent to approximately 73 per cent. During the same period the census figures indicate a drop of approximately 44 per cent in the Hungarian population, from 10,131 to 5,765.

158. There continues to be a flow of displaced persons out of the Sector because of intimidation, family reunification and economic pressures. Offences against minorities include unlawful killings, arson, armed robbery and looting. Out of 53 known cases of unlawful killing of Croats committed in the period between May and December 1992, only five have been investigated and brought to court. There are reports of brutal beatings by the local militia, as well as the forcible recruitment of non-Serbs into the armed forces. In several reported cases, those who have refused recruitment have been beaten, imprisoned and even killed.

159. Another area of concern is the discriminatory treatment of Croats in regard to medical care and food. At the Vukovar hospital, it was reported that several Croatian patients were denied adequate amounts of bandages and even anaesthetics. One elderly Croatian woman, who was in a critical condition after a suicide attempt was refused a blood transfusion by the medical staff of the hospital and died the following day. It is also reported that the local Red Cross in Baranja has openly discriminated against minorities in the distribution of food.

160. Seven Catholic churches have been destroyed in Sector East and during July 1993 the church building in Ilok was attacked on three occasions.


K. Shelling of civilian areas by the parties to the conflict


161. The armed forces of the so-called "Republic of Serbian Krajina" have engaged in the deliberate and systematic shelling of civilian objects in Croatian towns and villages. According to Croatian sources, between April 1992 and July 1993, Serbian shelling resulted in a total of 187 civilian deaths and 628 civilian injuries. These sources also allege that during the period between 1991 and April 1993, an estimated total of 210,000 buildings outside of the UNPAs were either seriously damaged or destroyed, primarily as a result of shelling.

162. In the Dalmatian coast area, Zadar, Sibenik, Biograd, Tribunj, Filipjakov and the surrounding area have sustained particularly heavy damage. In other areas, Gospic, Karlovac, Ogulin and surrounding areas have been heavily affected. On certain days, some areas have sustained several hundred impacts. There have been numerous civilian deaths and injuries and extensive damage to civilian objects including schools, hospitals and refugee camps, as well as houses and apartments.

163. On 14 September 1993, the field staff of the Special Rapporteur visited Karlovac to investigate damage from shelling. They observed that civilian objects, including a hospital and a refugee camp which were apparently not situated in the proximity of a military object, had been deliberately shelled from Serbian positions within visual range of the targets. In the case of the "Gaza" refugee camp, at least three civilians were killed as a result of such attacks. The field staff also inspected the damage caused by a 500 kilogram "Frog-7" missile, which on 11 September had hit a residential area in Lucko, in the immediate vicinity of Zagreb.

164. The Special Rapporteur has received reports that Croatian forces have also engaged in the deliberate shelling of civilian areas including the villages of the Medak pocket, the village of Baljci near Drnis, the village of Vrlika near Sinj, the village of Biljane Gornje near Benkovac, Ravni Kotari and Knin.


III. THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA


A. Introduction

165. In the absence of a field office in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Special Rapporteur has relied on information collected through the Centre for Human Rights at Geneva and during a visit by two staff members to Serbia and Montenegro between 13 and 26 October 1993. They visited Belgrade, Pristina, Novi Pazar, Novi Sad and Podgorica, meeting officials of the Federal, Serbian and Montenegran Governments, private individuals and representatives of national non-governmental organizations and of international organizations.


B. Serbia

Security of the person

166. The use of brutal and excessive force by the police has been reported to the Special Rapporteur throughout the Republic of Serbia. These reports come from lawyers, victims, human rights organizations in Belgrade, Kosovo and Novi Pazar and the independent Yugoslav press (notably Vreme and Borba). Abuses occur in both political and criminal cases where individuals are held in custody and involve both the regular police and security officials. Further, it appears that police use excessive force both in searches and in random encounters with the public.

167. The Special Rapporteur's staff interviewed seven Albanians in Kosovo who had been released from custody within the last two months, took testimony which described beating and torture and saw physical marks consistent with these facts. They considered reports of police use of excessive force during a political demonstration in Belgrade on 1 June, interviewed one person who had been severely beaten on that date and saw a medical certificate. In Novi Pazar they were informed that police used excessive force during the investigation of political cases and that the majority of those who passed through police hands in other cases were beaten.

168. In the middle of October, the issue of police brutality was publicly discussed in Belgrade through the case of an actress, Nadeza Bulatovic, whose upper arm and nose were broken when she was taken from a food queue and beaten by police after she had questioned the manner of flour distribution. The decision to prosecute the responsible police officers is seen as an exceptional measure, taken because of the publicity given to Ms Bulatovic's case, while Borba described the behaviour of the police as reflecting a trend to "intimidate the public" which had begun with the police reaction to the June 1993 demonstration (see below). A Belgrade lawyer told the Special Rapporteur's staff that it was common for criminal suspects to undergo brutal physical treatment which verged on torture.

169. The Criminal Procedure Code of SFRY, which still applies, provides that a person suspected of committing a criminal offence may be held in custody for no longer than 72 hours. The Prosecutor must be informed at the outset, but there is no access to a lawyer during this period. After 72 hours, the suspected person must be brought before an examining judge, who decides on the investigation and whether there are grounds for maintaining detention. At this point legal access is allowed. These two decisions must be taken within 24 hours; and the detained individual and the defence lawyer must be informed of the decisions. The Law on Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia of 17 July 1991 allows detention for an initial 24 hours - for identification purposes - of a person who is suspected of a security or public order offence; during this time the family of the detained person should be informed "promptly" (art. ll). There is no right to see a lawyer. The Ministry of Justice of the FRY told the Special Rapporteur's staff that the Constitution sets higher standards than the Criminal Procedure Code and that changes would be made to bring the Code into conformity with the Constitution by the end of 1994.

170. This procedure is not invariably observed where individuals are under investigation for political reasons. The Special Rapporteur's staff were told that it is common for detainees to be ill-treated during the 72-hour period and that the decision on arrest is not always taken by an investigating judge within the required time. In Kosovo, investigation of political cases is by the security services, without a defence lawyer being present when the detained person is questioned by the security services. It is during this interrogation period that ill-treatment takes place. In one case, no decision by the examining judge was taken for 20 days. In several cases, the decisions on detention and on investigation were not delivered to the defence lawyer within the time limit for lodging an appeal. Furthermore, in one case where the investigating judge had mandated the security service to conduct an investigation, a complaint was made to the District Court in Pristina about brutal methods of investigation. The Deputy President of the Court rejected the complaint, on the grounds that it had no jurisdiction over the security services.

171. An administrative procedure exists for minor offences which allows detention for a maximum of 60 days and fines, to be imposed. These minor offences include offences against public order and public peace and are used by municipal authorities to deal with, inter alia, political demonstrations. The procedure does not provide for a full investigation and defence rights are diminished.

Freedom of assembly and association

172. The Serbian Prosecutor General has asked the Serbian Constitutional Court to ban the Serbian Renewal Movement (Srpski Pokret Obnove (SPO)). This is the second application to ban a political party. The Court is already considering an application to declare the Sandzak Democratic Party an illegal organization under article 42 of the Serbian Constitution. The President of the Constitutional Court informed the Special Rapporteur's staff that the Court would "proceed very cautiously" in considering this first exercise of its power to ban a political party.

173. The initiative to ban the follows a demonstration on l June 1993 in Belgrade. The Serbian authorities' response illustrates the difficult position of opposition parties in Serbia. During a debate in the Serbian Assembly on Yugoslavia's international position, a deputy of the opposition Serbian Renewal Party called on President Milosevic to resign. When the deputy left the Chamber he was assaulted and knocked unconscious by a Radical Party deputy. This incident sparked a demonstration in which - according to official figures - 121 persons were detained, one policeman died and 32 persons were injured. Police raided the SPO office, arresting some 40 deputies, officials, members and journalists, including the SPO President, Vuk Draskovic. Non-governmental sources recorded that the police used "indiscriminate force" during and after the demonstration. After breaking up the rally by force, the police beat up more than 250 demonstrators as they attempted to flee, continued to beat those who had fallen and attacked a large number of passers-by.

174. Medical reports received indicate that after his arrest, Mr. Draskovic had signs of severe beating. The Special Rapporteur appealed to the Yugoslav authorities to release him pending trial and allow him to obtain proper medical treatment. Mr. Draskovic was later charged with murder, criminal injury and criminal damage and with assaulting a police officer. On 9 July 1993, the first charge was dropped. In October, the assault charge was also dropped.

175. Gatherings in Kraljevo and Nis, called to protest the arrest of Draskovic and the use of police violence, were banned; the police also questioned SPO members about their political activities. Up to 400 arrests were made in connection with the 1 June and subsequent demonstrations.

Freedom of expression and the media

176. In January 1993, 1,000 employees of Radio-TV Serbia were sent on "enforced holiday". While this practice is increasingly used in response to economic pressures on employers, new staff were later hired and it appears that Radio-TV Serbia used political selection criteria in deciding who should be sent on enforced vacations. The dismissed journalists and technicians included well qualified professionals and those who had publicly condemned "the war-mongering policies" of the State-owned company and its "instigation of national and religious intolerance"; many were also members of an independent trade union. The Special Rapporteur's staff interviewed two former employees, one journalist (a Muslim) and the other a technical specialist (a trade union activist). Both had been professionally recognized by their superiors and both were among media staff criticized on television as "spies", "collaborators" or "betrayers of Serbia" by V. Seselj, the leader of the ultra nationalist Serbian Radical Party.

177. The Yugoslav Constitution (art. 37) and the Law on Public Information (art. 31) establish the right to correct false information, but Radio-TV Serbia frequently refuses to publish corrections from opposition politicians and the independent press. Specific cases where the right of reply has been refused include requests from TV journalists named by Seselj, (see above) and from Vuk Draskovic, the SPO leader.

178. The Anti-War Centre in Belgrade, a non-governmental organization, has analysed the Yugoslav press to identify the incidence of "hate speech" (writing which incites hatred). The Centre believes that publicly expressed intolerance, insults and threats often lead to physical violence. In a report on Vecernje Novosti, the largest circulation daily, the Centre describes the paper's attitude in these terms:


The Special Rapporteur's staff noted that Radio-TV Serbia includes in its broadcasts material which denigrates ethnic groups and is explicitly discriminatory.

179. Prosecutions are not normally brought against the authors of writings and speeches which incite national or racial hatred. Nonetheless, an investigation is now taking place in the case of Haroun Hadzic, former President of the Sandzak Committee for the Defence of Human Rights. This arises out of a special issue of the Sandzak magazine, which was guest edited by Mr. Hadzic and dealt with human rights violations. The offence alleged is the publication of false information.

180. On 21 September 1993, Dusan Reylic, Foreign Editor of Vreme was abducted from the street in which he lived and detained by unidentified persons for interrogation. This was immediately reported in the press and Mr. Reylic was released. The Special Rapporteur urges the Serbian authorities to take effective steps to investigate and to prosecute those responsible.

181. The impact of hyperinflation on newspaper circulation and hence on public access to information, is demonstrated by figures issued by the Association of Newspaper Publishers. At the end of August 1993, the overall circulation of all daily papers in Serbia and Montenegro was 250,000. Prices were then frozen and sales immediately rose to 400,000. In late October 1993, prices were unfrozen; on 22 October, the price of Borba rose from 2,000 to 15,000 dinars. Circulation dropped sharply.

Discrimination and citizenship

182. Non-governmental sources report that after the December 1992 presidential elections, institutional and non-institutional pressures increased against members of different national communities and confessional organizations in Belgrade.

183. The legal uncertainty surrounding citizenship of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia encourages discrimination against those who cannot prove that they are citizens, (for discussion of Croatian citizenship law, see para. 115). In principle, the former federal and republican citizenship laws continue to apply (1976 Citizenship Act of SFRY and Socialist Republic of Serbia Citizenship Act 1979, amended in 1983). Under those laws citizens of the former Yugoslavia all held dual citizenship: they were both Yugoslav nationals (citizens of the federal State) and republican nationals (citizens of one of the constituent republics). Those who did not hold Serbian or Montenegran citizenship and who have not since acquired citizenship of Slovenia, Croatia or Macedonia, have become, de facto, stateless persons. In practice, applications for the acquisition or confirmation of citizenship of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia are not being dealt with. Those residents of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia who cannot prove their Serbian citizenship face discrimination in such areas as employment, housing and education, where access may be restricted to citizens. This situation affects two distinct groups: those who, whatever their ethnic origin, are long-term residents of Serbia or Montenegro, but have never taken the formal step of acquiring either citizenship and those displaced persons who have come from another territory of the former Yugoslavia, but do not hold its citizenship. The problem is caused largely by the failure of the authorities to comply with the existing law and the absence of a new citizenship law which would regulate the acquisition and loss of Yugoslav citizenship. See para. 115183.

The situation of refugees

184. There are some 530,000 refugees in Serbia from other territories of the former Yugoslavia (84.2 per cent Serbs, 6.2 per cent Moslems and 1.6 per cent Croats); despite the difficult economic situation, all have equal access with citizens to social security and educational provision. Under the 1992 refugee law, refugee status may be revoked if a refugee, inter alia, refuses to perform military or other assigned duties, which include work assigned by the Refugee Commissariat. Loss of status carries with it loss of humanitarian aid, education and health care.

185. Under new instructions, issued by the Serbian Commissioner for Refugees in May 1993, certain regions of Bosnia and Croatia are designated as "safe municipalities" and applicants from these areas are normally refused refugee status. The "safe municipalities" correspond to the Serb-controlled areas of Bosnia and Croatia. The instructions are consistent with a policy of discouraging the departure of Serbs from these areas, particularly those of military age. The Serb Commissioner for Refugees told the Special Rapporteur's staff that Serbs from areas of Croatia and Bosnia which were "not affected by the war" (for example Knin) while refused refugee status, were not required to leave Serbia. However, the Special Rapporteur notes that in these circumstances they are without any legal basis on which to remain in Serbia. UNHCR has repeatedly expressed its concern about the instructions and stressed that, as a minimum, the authorities should consider all applications on a case-by-case basis.

186. In February 1993, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) mission in Vojvodina received reports of the unlawful recruiting of Serb refugees from the so-called Republic of Serbian Krajina by "armed gangs", who took them from the streets and sent loaded trucks of "volunteers" directly to the front. The Special Rapporteur's staff was informed that after a group of 500 Bosnian Serb refugees arrived in a refugee centre in Sremska Mitrovica in March 1993, the men were taken from the camp and sent to the front, certainly with the knowledge of the camp authorities. As a result of these and similar incidents, refugees of military age are reluctant to apply for refugee status, fearing this will simply serve to bring them to official attention.

187. The Yugoslav Government told the Human Rights Committee in November 1992 that an amnesty would be granted to those who had deserted from the federal army, or who had failed to heed military call up orders, or had participated in mutinies or had failed to obey the orders of the military authorities. However, no amnesty has been granted.

C. The situation in Kosovo

188. The polarization of the Albanian and Serb populations in Kosovo continues. One area affected by this polarization is the judicial system. Albanians lack confidence in the will and ability of the courts to provide an independent and effective remedy and point to the small number of Albanian judges. The CSCE monitors investigated this issue and commented:


However, the situation is in reality more complex and is illustrated by the experience of the Prizren District Court. Three Albanian judges have refused to serve as judges, but in June 1993, two others, both well qualified, were rejected by the Serbian Assembly in June 1993 after being described as "separatist murderers".

Ill-treatment and torture

189. The Special Rapporteur has continued to receive reports that the Serbian police and state security services act in excess of their powers and in breach of the law in their dealings with the Albanian population in Kosovo. These reports have increased significantly since July 1993.

190. In May 1993, some 30 Albanian prisoners were serving sentences for offences involving illegal political activities; this figure does not include those given administrative sentences of up to 60 days. New trials have since taken place and are continuing; most frequently the defendants are charged under article 116 of the Serbian Criminal Code with acts against the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia. In October 1993 Albanian sources reported that 93 people had been detained since July and were in custody; they included former officers of the Yugoslav National Army, as well as members of the Democratic League of Kosovo.

191. Two former detainees told the Special Rapporteur's staff that in August 1993 they had been systematically beaten to induce them to confess to membership of illegal Albanian separatist movements and to provide information about armaments. In each case, the individual was asked whether he had arms himself. When this was denied, he was told to obtain gun(s) and produce them to the police.

192. Albanian human rights organizations have reported deaths following detention and ill-treatment by the police. One such case, that of Adem Zeqiraj from Dakovica, was investigated by the CSCE monitors. Mr. Zeqiraj was arrested on 17 December 1992 during a search for firearms at his father's house. The next day he was admitted to the Dakovica hospital and then transferred to Pristina hospital, where he died on 19 December. A medical report from Dakovica hospital recorded that he had been admitted with traumatic shock, internal bleeding and a serious kidney condition.

193. The Special Rapporteur's staff were told by the Serbian Ministry of the Interior that 52 attacks against the police had taken place between l January and 30 September 1993. Two police had been killed and 15 wounded. The Deputy Minister denied that Albanians who had been in contact with CSCE monitors had been arrested. However, this denial is inconsistent with statements made to the Special Rapporteur's staff by four people who were questioned by police after the departure of the CSCE monitors.

194. The Special Rapporteur has also received reports of police abuse in the course of searches for illegal arms. Such searches are frequent. There is frequently damage to property, including the destruction of national flags, symbols and teaching materials and removal of money and valuables.

Housing evictions

195. The Special Rapporteur's staff have received information about the eviction of Albanians from apartments in which they were lawfully resident, often without legal proceedings, in order to accommodate Serb families. In one case, a worker from the JP Elektropower enterprise of Kosovo, was evicted from the apartment of which he was the legal tenant, by two police on 7 December 1992. He remains employed, has held his job for 20 years and occupied the apartment as a member of his workers' association. The apartment was then occupied by a Serb family. Legal proceedings have commenced in the Pristina court.

Use of language

196. Albanians are a "national minority" under the federal Constitution and have a constitutional right to use their language in the areas in which they live and in court proceedings. The 1991 Serbian Law on the Official Use of Language and Alphabets gives municipalities the discretion to decide which languages shall be in official use. Given the use of Albanian before 1990 and the fact that Albanians represent around 90 per cent of the Kosovo population, the Special Rapporteur believes the use of Albanian in all official matters should be normal practice, regardless of Albanian representation on municipal bodies. In practice, there has been a decline in the official use of the Albanian language.

197. The Special Rapporteur notes the issue of identity cards, birth and marriage certificates and other public documents in the Serbian language. The Special Rapporteur's staff took copies of identity cards issued in Pristina: in 1984 the cards were in three languages (Albanian, Serbo-Croat and Turkish); in 1990 in two languages (Serbo-Croat and Albanian) and in 1993 in Serbian only.

198. In the Prizren District Court proceedings are now held only in Serbian, although 95 per cent of criminal defendants are Albanian. Before 1990, Albanian and Serbo-Croat were of equal status, the criterion being the language of the defendant. While in principle a complaint may be made in Albanian, in practice it will not be dealt with because there is only one translator. A complaint made by an Albanian to the Prosecutor of the Pristina District Court, alleging ill-treatment at the hands of the police, with a medical certificate attached, was returned the same day (27 August 1993) by the Deputy Prosecutor, with a note saying: "We return your complaint ... so it may be translated into the Serbo-Croat language".

199. Throughout the territories of the former Yugoslavia, street names continued to be changed in 1993 to reflect recent political changes. While in many areas this is not controversial, the Special Rapporteur's staff were told of changes in Pristina and Prizren which had the effect of giving a Serbian character to areas in which the overwhelming majority of the population is Albanian. In Prizren, he is informed that 90 per cent of names have been changed since 1991. For example: "Bayran Curri" (an Albanian leader) to "27 March" (the date of the 1992 Serbian constitution); "League of Prizren" (Liohja e Prizreni) to "Car Dushani" (a Serb king). Similar changes have been made in the Hungarian areas of Vojvodina.

Education

200. The Special Rapporteur has received reports of continuing harassment and use of force by the police against teachers and pupils working in the "parallel" education system.

201. According to the President of the Association of Albanian Teachers, during the 1992-1993 school year, 274,280 pupils attended primary "parallel" schools. This figure contrasts with official statistics showing that in 1990, more than 295,000 Albanian pupils were enrolled in state primary, secondary and tertiary education. It will be recalled that the "parallel" schools started after August 1990, when teachers refused to accept a new curriculum drawn up by the Ministry of Education in Belgrade and some 18,000 of them lost their jobs. The new curriculum is compulsory throughout Serbia and replaces, inter alia, curricula prepared by the educational councils of Kosovo and Vojvojdina. The councils were abolished as part of a broad centralisation process and with the aim of creating a common teaching system for all schools in Serbia. The "parallel" system functions at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Teaching is in Albanian, according to a curriculum which is not recognized by the Serbian Ministry of Education. The schools issue their own diplomas, which are, in turn, not recognized by the Serbian educational authorities. Though teachers receive no official salary, teaching at the primary level (which is compulsory under Serbian law) largely continues to take place in school buildings, the expenses of which are paid by the education authorities. Secondary and tertiary education takes place in private houses and premises.

202. The Serbian Minister of Education told the Special Rapporteur's staff that teaching in the Albanian language is available in the state system and both the Serbian Constitution and Serbian education laws give national minorities a right to education in their own languages. The Minister said that the teachers had refused to accept curricula decided in Belgrade. In June 1990 all national minorities had been invited to propose their own teaching programmes in certain culturally specific subjects to be included in a "core" Serbian curriculum: literature, history, applied arts and music. The minorities in, for example, Vojvodina had done so, but the Albanians had not.

203. In March 1993, the former Rector of the University of Pristina, Professor Ejup Statovci, was arrested to serve a sentence imposed in 1992, when he was convicted on a public order charge after writing a letter to the current Rector asking for the university buildings "which were taken by force" to be returned to Albanian teaching staff and students. The Special Rapporteur notes with concern that the conflict surrounding the University of Pristina continues and is contributing to the prevailing climate of tension.

204. Views expressed recently by the Minister of Education and by the current Rector of the University of Pristina illustrate the intellectual climate. The Minister described education as the "sphere in which a country manifests its identity" and criticized the University of Pristina and the former Kosovo Academy of Sciences before 1990 as "centres of actual and theoretical separatism". The Rector of the University, Professor Radivoje Popovic, speaking in May 1993, referred to changes in the university since 1990 in these terms:

205. Throughout 1993 the police have entered "parallel" schools, questioned teachers and students and in some instances threatened or used violence. On 21 June, the CSCE monitoring team in Pec reported a "campaign" against the parallel schools to coincide with the end of the school year. Eight schools were searched for graduation certificates issued in the name of the Republic of Kosovo. In Klina, the police searched the school and then went to the local Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) office where a meeting was in progress which included a number of teachers. The 12 people present were arrested; 8 were beaten on the head and arms and 2 were beaten more severely, while being questioned about the school system. Similar police actions marked the start of the new school year in September 1993.


D. Sandzak


206. In his February 1993 report, the Special Rapporteur expressed concern about the position of the Muslim community in the Sandzak region of Serbia and Montenegro and noted the particular difficulties of those living on the frontier with Bosnia: in Pljevlja, Prijepole, Priboj, Bjelo Polje and the Bukovice region.

207. Non-governmental sources recorded the exodus of more than 3,000 Muslim citizens from the municipality of Priboj between June 1992 and February 1993 and noted as a cause the "uncontrolled presence of military and paramilitary Serbian groups from Bosnia" and their links to local militant groups. Serbian irregular formations from Bosnia continued to cross the territory of Serbia and, in the presence of the Yugoslav army, maltreat, steal and destroy the property of Muslim citizens.

Abductions

208. The Special Rapporteur in his February 1993 report, noted the abduction in October 1992 of 16 Muslims from Sjeverin, taken from the bus on which they were travelling to work in Priboj, at a point where the road passes through Bosnian territory. The abduction was connected to a planned exchange with Serbs held by Bosnian forces. The exchange did not take place. It is now feared that all 16 were killed in Visegradska Banja.

209. On 16 February 1993, Bosnian-Serb soldiers abducted 12 members of one family from their homes in Seliste village, in Bukovice. Six, all aged over 70, were later released from the town of Cajnice and six remained in captivity, including two children under five. Latif Bungur, aged over 90, had died; his body was left unburied outside his house.

210. On 19 February 1993, 19 Muslims and a Croat were taken from the Belgrade-Bar train (No. 671) at Strpci station, which is on Bosnian territory controlled by the Bosnian Serb army. A group of armed men, in camouflage uniforms with chetnik insignia, checked the identities of passengers and the Muslims were taken to a military truck and driven away. It is not known where they were taken and they are reported to have "disappeared". A government commission was established in Belgrade, but has not reported. Milan Lukic, reported to be a Serb paramilitary commander in Bosnia, was briefly arrested in connection with the kidnapping. On 19 October 1993, a commission of investigation was established by the Montenegro Parliament.

211. More than 800 Muslims have been forced to leave their homes in the Bukovica area because of violent behaviour by members of the Yugoslav army and by the army of Bosnian Serbs in the Montenegran border area.

212. In May 1993 the Humanitarian Law Fund, a non-governmental organization reported some continuing incidents of violence and harassment against the Muslim population, but said that the general situation in Sandzak had become calmer.


E. Vojvodina


213. Involuntary migration has decreased, but harassment of members of minority groups in Vojvodina by radical Serbs continued. Since 1991 more than 145,000 refugees and displaced persons have entered the region, including Serbs from Bosnia, Krajina and Slavonia. Many of those who are now leaving Vojvodina do so under the terms of the September 1992 agreement between the Yugoslav and Croat Governments, which included provisions for "voluntary and humanitarian resettlement" of the Croat population.

214. In March 1993, the CSCE mission to Vojvodina reported continuing threats and intimidation against the non-Serb population by Serb extremists, with the aim of "replacing" them with Serbian refugees from Bosnia and Croatia. There had been telephone threats, attempts to blow up houses and other forms of intimidation, encouraged by radical Serb political groups.

215. However, non-governmental sources report that some action has been taken by the local police to protect members of minorities against radical Serb groups. They point to the case of Hrtkovci, a village whose population dropped from 2,899 (1,100 Croats, 550 Serbs, 500 Hungarians and 450 Yugoslavs) to 2000 after 1991. By 1993, 350 Croat families had left, taking with them their Serb and Hungarian family members and been replaced by Serb refugees, from Croatia and Bosnia. Only 600 Croats and Hungarians remained in the village. Intimidation, at gunpoint and by telephone threats, had come from Serb extremist groups connected to the Serbian Radical Party. The homes of 168 Croats who had left were forcibly entered by Serb groups, who then installed Serb refugees in the houses. Efforts were made by the local police to regulate the illegal occupation of property, but they were forcibly resisted by radical Serb groups. Police did prevent an attempt to change the name of Hrtkovci to "Srbislavci". To reduce tension, some extremist Serbs have been resettled by the authorities in other areas.


F. Montenegro


216. Montenegran officials criticized previous reports by the Special Rapporteur because they had not distinguished between the situation in Montenegro and Serbia and the impression was given that the same violations were taking place in both republics.

217. The Constitution of the Republic of Montenegro provides that "the citizens of Montenegro have the right to address themselves to international institutions in order to protect their freedoms and rights guaranteed by the present Constitution" (art. 44). Furthermore, article 74(2) provides the same right for the "members of national and ethnic groups". Nevertheless, a suggestion by an opposition party that Montenegro should ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was rejected by the Parliament, reportedly because the Republic of Montenegro is a federal entity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and, therefore, does not have the competence to ratify such a treaty. However, article 7 of the Yugoslav Federal Constitution provides that "within its competence, a member republic may conclude international agreements, but not to the detriment of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia or any of its member republics".

218. Protection of the Montenegran historical and cultural identity is a major issue among the Montenegran population. Accordingly, on the occasion of the commemoration of the birth of the poet Njegos that took place first in Belgrade and then in Cetinje in October 1993, parts of the audience reacted when it was declared that he was a Serbian poet, and allegedly insulted the President of Montenegro who was attending the Cetinje celebration. This was followed by a massive police reaction. Cafes and apartments were searched. Twenty-four people were arrested and four were detained. Criminal proceedings were introduced against 24 individuals. According to a defence lawyer, criminal procedure had been violated several times: one person was detained for two days illegally without a decision on detention. Furthermore, the investigating judge did not inform the defence lawyers of the date and time of the hearing of the accused after the charges had been brought, or of the date and time of the hearings of the witnesses. Finally, the decision to bring charges was taken before the decision on beginning an investigation became effective.

219. The Special Rapporteur's staff were told of an unsuccessful attempt to establish an independent television channel and radio station, which failed in September 1993 after the withdrawal of the licence which had previously been granted by the competent federal authorities.

220. The Montenegran Republic continues to maintain open borders for refugees. There are 60,000 registered refugees, largely Muslims and Serbs. The refugees, termed "displaced persons", have equal access to health care and social security provisions. Unlike in Serbia, there is no requirement that refugees work.

221. At the beginning of October 1993, the local press reported that a mosque had been damaged near Bar. The perpetrators have not been found.

The humanitarian situation

222. By September 1993, inflation had reached an official monthly rate of 1860 per cent, with an annual rate estimated by the London Economist at 363 quadrillion (363,000,000,000,000,000 per cent). In August and September, the value of the Yugoslav dinar depreciated on an hourly basis. While inflation at these levels affects all parts of society, its gravest impact is on the elderly, the sick, children and all those without access to material help or external financial support ("hard" currency).

223. The World Health Organization (WHO) office in Belgrade describes the health situation as "a catastrophe". There is a serious shortage of essential pharmaceutical products in Serbia and Montenegro. The extensive black market and a growing and flourishing private sector do not assist vulnerable sectors of the society. Overall mortality rates have risen by 10 to 20 per cent in the last two years. Suicides among the elderly are up by a factor of four. Tubercolosis, which is accepted as an indicator of low levels of hygiene malnutrition and overcrowding, has also increased fourfold. A reactivation of old cases and new infections, particularly among the refugee population, has been observed. Deaths among mental and neurological patients have increased -from suicide, exposure to cold and disease. Disinfectant is not available for hospitals, with a consequent increase in disease. The public health system is bankrupt. Patients must therefore bring their own medical supplies, bandages as well as drugs. For many, this is impossible. The situation is expected to worsen dramatically during winter, particularly for the most vulnerable - the old and the very young. Much of Belgrade housing is connected to centralized municipal heating systems and many apartments have no separate means of heating; the stated official policy in October 1993 was to keep municipal heating at 5_C during the winter months.

224. Taking this situation into account, it is obvious that international humanitarian assistance for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is essential. Medicines, food and essential humanitarian supplies are exempted from the sanctions which were imposed on Yugoslavia by the Security Council in May 1992. In their discussions with international humanitarian agencies in Belgrade, as well as with Yugoslav officials and medical personnel, the Special Rapporteur's staff were informed about the difficulties which international agencies and non-governmental organizations are encountering in transporting medicines and food.

225. Under the April 1993 Guidelines of the Sanctions Committee (S/AC.27/1993/CRP.3/Rev.2), the Committee may consider communications from intergovernmental humanitarian agencies and Member States. Where Yugoslav institutions wish to import humanitarian supplies, the overseas manufacturer must approach the Sanctions Committee through its own Government. The Committee receives large numbers of communications, perhaps 1,000 a week. Delays occur both at the national level and after a communication has been received by the Committee. Both UNHCR and WHO informed the Special Rapporteur that their work has been adversely affected by the procedural delays of the Sanctions Committee. Even for those established agencies, which are both familiar with the procedure and known to the Sanctions Committee, delays of two months have been normal. In the case of some intergovernmental agencies and their partner non-governmental organizations, steps have recently been taken to resolve the problem. But for individual NGOs the delays are normally longer and may result in, for example, donated drugs approaching their "use by" date and having to be sent elsewhere. The Special Rapporteur's staff were told that significant non-governmental aid is lost because the procedure deters smaller donors.

226. All medicines and humanitarian supplies destined for the Muslim areas of east Bosnia must also be cleared by the Sanctions Committee because they transit Yugoslavia. Both UNHCR and WHO gave as an example of extreme delay a shipment containing equipment required by surgeons operating in the Srebrenica hospital, which is under fire; it included bullet proof vests for the doctors. The application, which had been made in June 1993 was queried by the Sanctions Committee, returned to the submitting State and by mid October, four months later, had not been cleared.


IV. CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS

Bosnia and Herzegovina

227. The onset of winter presages a humanitarian disaster of immense proportions. There are no peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina who can remain unaffected by such a tragedy - hunger and cold recognize no differences of ethnic origin or social role. The Special Rapporteur accordingly strongly condemns all actions which block, interfere with or in any way delay the distribution of all forms of humanitarian aid. He also urges the international community to respond generously and speedily to the needs of Bosnia and Herzegovina by providing humanitarian aid to the extent and in the forms required. The Special Rapporteur cannot over-emphasize that people will die without international humanitarian assistance.

228. The Special Rapporteur has already warned that a prolongation of the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina would lead to the commission of atrocities by all sides and the persecution of peoples of every ethnic origin. He is greatly saddened that this situation has now come to pass and unequivocally condemns every violation of international human rights and humanitarian law. Moreover, while fully acknowledging the suffering of all peoples, he must again draw particular attention to the appalling extent of persecution by "ethnic cleansing" against those of Muslim ethnic origin. He reminds the world that the Muslim community in Bosnia and Herzegovina is threatened with extermination.

229. The Special Rapporteur condemns the continuing commission of the crime of rape and of all other forms of sexual abuse.

230. The Special Rapporteur reiterates his conviction that the perpetrators of violations of human rights and humanitarian law must be held accountable in law and punished. He expects that the international community will do all that is required of it in order to ensure that the International Tribunal to prosecute violations of humanitarian law in the former Yugoslavia can achieve its goals speedily and effectively.

Croatia

231. Further to his letter dated 1 October 1993, the Special Rapporteur once again requests the Croatian authorities to ensure that those responsible for the contravention of human rights and international humanitarian standards in the Medak pocket operation be punished and that steps be taken to prevent such incidents in the future.

232. The Special Rapporteur notes with concern the continuing discriminatory practices against ethnic Serbs in Croatia, in particular with regard to arbitrary detention, the right to a fair trial, citizenship, illegal evictions and the destruction of property.

233. The Special Rapporteur is also deeply concerned at the increasing hostility and discrimination against Muslims in Croatia and hopes in this respect that the responsible Government organs will take all the necessary measures in order to observe international human rights standards.

234. The Special Rapporteur is concerned about the contribution of the media to the prevailing climate of inter-ethnic hostility through misinformation and indoctrination and requests that the Government take the necessary measures for ameliorating the situation.

235. The Special Rapporteur requests that in the conduct of hostilities the parties to the conflict in the UNPAs refrain from all further shelling of civilian objects.

236. In areas under the control of the so-called "Republic of Serbian Krajina", the Special Rapporteur is deeply concerned by the militarization of the population, the collapse of the rule of law and the absence of conditions for the repatriation of displaced persons.

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

237. The Special Rapporteur notes with concern the articulation of ethnic hatred in public life and in the media. This creates a climate in which acts of discrimination are encouraged and condoned. While Yugoslav law forbids incitement to racial or national hatred, the law is not enforced and, in any event, other and more effective means are required to prevent the promotion of discrimination by public authorities and institutions. In this context special attention should be given to the development of independent, democratically-oriented communications media and in particular the electronic media.

238. The Special Rapporteur regrets the decision of the federal authorities to refuse to extend the mandate of the CSCE human rights missions in Sandzak, Kosovo and Vojvodina. The missions played an important and constructive stabilizing role in situations of tension and potential conflict, especially in Kosovo. They were also an important source of objective and accurate information on the human rights situation.

239. Abuse of power and the use of excessive force by the Serbian police has been noted in this report. The Special Rapporteur believes the Yugoslav and Serbian authorities should amend the law to allow immediate access to a lawyer of persons after arrest, should investigate impartially and effectively all cases in which there is reason to believe power has been abused or excessive force used and should prosecute those responsible.

240. While noting the large numbers of refugees within Yugoslavia and the fact that they have full access to social and health provisions, the Special Rapporteur believes the Serbian authorities should review a major weakness in these procedures. They should thus rescind their May 1993 instruction not to register as refugees, men of military age from those areas of Bosnia and Croatia regarded by the authorities as "safe municipalities": without registration they may not benefit from the Welfare provisions of the State.

241. The Special Rapporteur notes reports of the deaths of Albanians as a result of injuries sustained while in police detention in Kosovo. He draws the attention of the Serbian authorities are to their duty under international law to carry out exhaustive and impartial investigations with a view to identifying and punishing those responsible. The Special Rapporteur concludes that the police in Kosovo routinely illtreat those arrested for political reasons. In other areas of activity, for example during searches for illegally held arms, the police use excessive force.

242. There also is a serious abuse of power by the police in the harassment and even physical assault, of Albanians engaged in the exercise of the rights in the educational, political and trade union fields.

243. The Special Rapporteur has considered the present situation in which Albanian children and students attend "parallel" schools and colleges outside the Serbian state system and whose examinations are not recognized by the Serbian Ministry of Education. The Special Rapporteur believes the Serbian authorities should recognize years of education acquired in these institutions, thus avoiding the marginalization of a generation of Albanian students.

244. The Special Rapporteur notes the need for medicines and humanitarian assistance for vulnerable groups within Yugoslavia. Ways and means must be found to ensure that medicines and other items exempted from sanctions reach vulnerable groups before the heights of winter. The Special Rapporteur urges that procedures within the Sanctions Committee be reviewed without delay.





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