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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/Yugoslavia: 3-21-00 NETHERLANDS: SERBS `ENSLAVED MUSLIM WOMEN AT RAPE CAMPS'.
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Tue Oct 17 2000 - 09:57:19 EDT

>By Ian Black, The Hague.
>A trial at the Hague and a new report show that women were abused as a
>method of war across Yugoslavia hears how soldiers brutalised girls as
>young as 12 during the Bosnian war
>The international war crimes tribunal at the Hague heard yesterday that
>`unimaginable horrors' including gang rape, torture and sexual enslavement
>were perpetrated against Muslim women and girls by Serb troops in the early
>days of the Bosnian conflict.
>Opening a landmark case against three former Bosnian Serb soldiers, UN
>prosecutors charged that they were the men whose individual brutality in
>their home town had made possible the wider project of ethnic cleansing.
>Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac and Zoran Vukovic are accused on 33 counts
>of crimes against humanity and crimes against the laws and customs of war.
>`'This is a case about the women and girls - some as young as 12 or 15
>years old - who endured unimaginable horrors as their worlds collapsed
>around them,' prosecutor Dirk Ryneveld said in his opening statement.
>Mr Kunarac, 39, is further accused of `command responsibility" for crimes
>committed by his subordinates. The three, who face life imprisonment, deny
>all charges.
>It is the first case in which sexual crimes alone have come before the war
>crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
>In Bosnia's war, the accused were not `particularly major players', Mr
>Ryneveld, a Canadian, told the panel of three judges.
>`But make no mistake: there would have been no ethnic cleansing if there
>were not individuals willing to turn on their neighbours, to unleash terror
>and hatred and to leave scarred victims.
>`Unlike the policymakers who dealt in theories and plans, these were the
>individuals who rounded up innocent women and girls, then raped them or
>sexually assaulted them, tortured them, enslaved them and then ...
>exchanged, sold or transferred them to other soldiers.'
>As the case began, an adjacent court continued hearing evidence against the
>Bosnian Serb General, Radislav Kirstic, accused of genocide in the 1995
>Srebrenica massacre - the most senior officer to face the tribunal.
>Mr Kunarac, Mr Kovac and Mr Vukovic were at the other end of the Serb chain
>of command when war came to the Muslim majority town of Foca, in the Drina
>valley close to the border with Montenegro.
>Videos showed Foca as it was before spring 1992, a sleepy town of
>red-roofed buildings including the Partizan sports Hall, the high school
>and the Hotel Zelengora - all later used for rapes.
>`This is not just a rape case like those in national jurisdictions," Mr
>Ryneveld said. `'These crimes were committed during an armed conflict and
>were widespread and systematic. What happened to the Muslim women of Foca
>occurred purely because of their ethnicity or religion, and because they
>were women."
>Mr Kunarac had his headquarters in a `rape house' to which he transported
>captive women, the prosecutor said.
>Several women scheduled to appear as witnesses were warned that they and/or
>their children would be killed if they resisted sexual assault.
>Mr Vukovic, 44, a waiter and driver before the war, repeatedly led gang
>rapes. Witness 48 was told she would have her throat slashed if she
>resisted. Mr Vukovic `'bit her nipples until they bled and pinched her
>breasts until she fainted from pain'.
>Four of the 72 women held in the Partizan sports hall were raped almost
>nightly for a month. Witness 186 was raped for six months.
>Another victim, described as AB, was just 12 when she was sold by Mr Kovac,
>38, to a soldier for 200 Deutschmarks ( #66). She is still missing.
>Witness 50 was raped on the night of August 2, 1992 - the night the town's
>mosque was destroyed - after being taken away by Mr Kunarac. She was raped
>by a Montenegrin soldier who threatened to cut off her arms and legs and
>take her to a church to baptise her.
>`'Women and children, some as young as 12 years old, were detained and
>raped, vaginally, anally and orally; subjected to gang rapes, forced to
>dance nude with weapons pointed at them, and even enslaved,' the court
>`Unlike many domestic rapes, the offences in this case were often done in
>the full view of others or in a room were several women were being raped
>simultaneously," the prosecutor said. `It will be difficult to fathom the
>depths of despair and the horror that these victims went through."
>Up to 10 rape victims are expected to testify at the trial from behind
>screens or with voice scrambled to protect their identities.
>GUARDIAN 21/03/2000 P13

Melanie Orhant
Stop-Traffic Moderator

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