US embassy cable - 94ZAGREB1217

THE NEST OF EVIL: SERBS INTENSIFY ATROCITIES IN BANJA LUKA

Identifier: 94ZAGREB1217
Wikileaks: View 94ZAGREB1217 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Zagreb
Created: 1994-03-25 18:03:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: PHUM MOPS PINS PREL PREF BK MOPS PINS PREL PREF BK HR War Crimes
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLASSIFIED SECTION 01 OF 02 ZAGREB 01217 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 

CINCUSNAVEUR LONDON UK//N2/N22// 
 
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ZAGREB 001217 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
E.O. 12356:  N/A 
TAGS: PHUM, MOPS, PINS, PREL, PREF, BK, MOPS, PINS, PREL, PREF, BK, HR, War Crimes 
SUBJECT:  THE NEST OF EVIL:  SERBS INTENSIFY ATROCITIES IN 
          BANJA LUKA 
 
REF:  ZAGREB 0572 
 
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SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1. THE USE OF EXTREME VIOLENCE AGAINST NON-SERBS REMAINING 
IN THE BANJA LUKA AREA OF BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA HAS 
ACCELERATED IN RECENT WEEKS.  RECENT ARRIVALS FROM THE 
REGION HAVE PROVIDED NUMEROUS EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS OF 
EGREGIOUS EXAMPLES OF ETHNIC CLEANSING OF THE NON-SERBIAN 
POPULATION.  THESE INCLUDE WIDESPREAD KILLINGS, RAPES, 
BEATINGS, DESTRUCTION OF HOMES, ROBBERIES, HARASSMENT, AND 
FORCED FIRINGS DESIGNED TO EXPEL ALL NON-SERBS FROM THE 
AREA.  END SUMMARY. 
- 
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BACKGROUND 
---------- 
 
2.  REFCOORD AND POLOFF VISITED GASINCI REFUGEE COLLECTIVE 
CENTER IN EASTERN CROATIA ON MARCH 23 TO INTERVIEW RECENT 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 03        ZAGREB  01217  01 OF 02  251809Z 
ARRIVALS FROM BANJA LUKA, A CITY IN NORTH-CENTRAL BOSNIA 
THAT HAS SEEN TWO YEARS OF SYSTEMATIC ATROCITIES DIRECTED 
AT NON-SERBS.  BY ALL ACCOUNTS, THIS HARASSMENT HAS 
INTENSIFIED SUBSTANTIALLY DURING THE PAST FEW MONTHS. 
 
3.  AT GASINCI ALONE, REFUGEES FROM BANJA LUKA ARRIVE AT 
THE RATE OF APPROXIMATELY 50 PER WEEK VIA CONVOYS UNDER 
THE AUSPICES OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED 
CROSS.  MANY ARRIVE IN TATTERED CLOTHING AND CLEARLY 
SHOWING EVIDENCE OF EXTREME STRESS.  DESPITE THE SEVERITY 
AND RECENCY OF THEIR TRAUMA, MOST WERE WILLING OPENLY TO 
DESCRIBE THE HORRORS THEY HAD EXPERIENCED OR WITNESSED. 
THE EXCEPTION WAS ONE MAN WHO CAREFULLY LIMITED HIS 
REMARKS AS HE FEARED RETRIBUTION BY THE "SERBIAN MAFIA," 
EVEN IF HE WERE RESETTLED OVERSEAS. 
 
------------------ 
A LITANY OF CRIMES 
------------------ 
 
4. REFUGEES RECOUNTED THE FOLLOWING EYEWITNESS EXAMPLES OF 
ABUSE: 
 
     A)  TWO MUSLIM BROTHERS WERE MERCILESSLY BEATEN BY 
UNIFORMED SOLDIERS WITH BATS FASHIONED FROM WOODEN PLANKS. 
THEIR ASSAILANTS WERE KNOWN TO THEM; THEY HAD FORMERLY 
LIFTED WEIGHTS AND PLAYED SOCCER TOGETHER. 
 
     B)  A GYPSY WAS BEATEN WITH RIFLE BUTTS FOLLOWING AN 
ID CARD CHECK WHICH REVEALED THAT HE WAS NOT A SERB. 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 04        ZAGREB  01217  01 OF 02  251809Z 
     C)  AN ELDERLY WOMAN FROM THE VILLAGE OF SEHER 
RECOUNTED THREE CONSECUTIVE NIGHTS OF HORROR.  THE FIRST 
NIGHT A GRENADE WAS THROWN IN FRONT OF A HOUSE.  THE NEXT 
NIGHT FIVE MEN IN MILITARY UNIFORMS TORTURED A NEIGHBOR IN 
HIS HOUSE FOR FOUR HOURS, CUTTING OFF BOTH HIS EARS.  THE 
THIRD NIGHT APPROXIMATELY TEN SOLDIERS CAME TO ANOTHER 
FAMILY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, RAPED AND TORTURED THE THREE 
DAUGHTERS, AND BEAT THE FATHER TO DEATH.  THE THREE 
DAUGHTERS ARE REPORTED TO HAVE DIED LATER IN THE HOSPITAL. 
 
- 
     D)  TEENAGE GIRLS WERE ADVISED BY SERBIAN FRIENDS 
THAT THEIR NAMES WERE ON LISTS OF THOSE TO BE RAPED. 
THESE FRIENDS THEN SHELTERED THEM IN THEIR HOMES FOR A FEW 
DAYS TO PROTECT THEM. 
 
     E)  IN ONE SECTION OF BANJA LUKA, CROATIAN HOUSES 
WERE BLOWN UP EVERY EVENING AT THE SAME HOUR OVER A PERIOD 
OF SEVERAL MONTHS.  THIS WAS SO RELIABLE A PRACTICE THAT 
SOME WENT OUTSIDE AT THIS HOUR TO SEE WHOSE HOUSE WOULD BE 
DESTROYED THAT EVENING. 
 
 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
NNNN 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 01        ZAGREB  01217  02 OF 02  251809Z 
ACTION EUR-01 
 
INFO  LOG-00   AID-01   AMAD-01  CIAE-00  C-01     OASY-00  DOEE-00 
      EB-01    OIGO-01  HA-09    H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-16 
      L-01     ADS-00   NSAE-00  OIC-02   OMB-01   PA-02    PM-01 
      PRS-01   P-01     RP-10    RPCS-01  SB-00    SCT-03   SNP-00 
      SP-00    SR-00    SSO-00   SS-00    STR-01   TRSE-00  T-00 
      USIE-00  RPE-01   SNIS-00  NISC-02  PMB-00     /059W 
                  ------------------347B9A  251823Z /38 
P 251803Z MAR 94 
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1342 
INFO CINCUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE//J3/J4/J5/POLAD// 
CINCUSAFE RAMSTEIN AB GE//DO/LG/XP/IN/POLAD// 
JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-5PMA/J21// 
SECDEF WASHDC//ISA/ISP// 
AMCONSUL MUNICH 
AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 
AMCONSUL FRANKFURT 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
USMISSION GENEVA 
AMEMBASSY LJUBLJANA 
AMEMBASSY BUDAPEST 
AMEMBASSY BELGRADE 
NATO EC COLLECTIVE 
WHITE HOUSE WASHDC 
HQ JTF PP NAPLES IT//CA/POLAD// 
COMSIXTHFLT NAPLES IT//N2// 
USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ3/ECJ4/ECJ5/ECPOLAD// 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 02        ZAGREB  01217  02 OF 02  251809Z 
CINCUSNAVEUR LONDON UK//N2/N22// 
 
UNCLAS SECTION 02 OF 02 ZAGREB 001217 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
E.O. 12356:  N/A 
TAGS:  PHUM, MOPS, PINS, PREL, PREF, BK, HR 
SUBJECT:  THE NEST OF EVIL:  SERBS INTENSIFY ATROCITIES IN 
          BANJA LUKA 
 
     F)  NON-SERBS WERE ROUTINELY INTIMIDATED INTO 
COMPLETING DOCUMENTS REQUESTING THAT THE GOVERNMENT ASSUME 
OWNERSHIP OF THEIR PROPERTIES.  THESE DOCUMENTS, USUALLY 
ISSUED ONLY AFTER PAYING SUBSTANTIAL FEES, APPEARED TO 
HAVE BEEN REQUIRED FOR "PERMISSION" TO LEAVE BANJA LUKA. 
 
     G)  T 
HE SERBIAN HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATOR ANNOUNCED VIA 
TELEVISION, RADIO, AND PUBLICATIONS THAT NO MUSLIM OR 
CROATIAN BABIES WOULD BE BORN IN THE HOSPITAL WHILE HE WAS 
IN CHARGE. 
 
     H)  ONE WOMAN HAD BEEN BEATEN NINE TIMES DURING THE 
PAST TWO YEARS BY MASKED SERBS TRYING TO FORCE HER TO 
RELINQUISH HER APARTMENT.  SHE HAD LOST TEETH, AND HAD 
SCARS UNDER ONE EYE AND ON HER UPPER LIP FROM THESE 
VICIOUS ASSAULTS.  THESE BEATINGS ALSO OCCURRED FOLLOWING 
THE DISCOVERY THAT SHE HAD HELPED ONE SON TO FLEE TO 
SWEDEN.  HER ASSAILANTS WERE, THEY SAID, INCENSED THAT 
THEY HAD BEEN DENIED AN OPPORTUNITY TO TORTURE OR KILL HIM 
FIRST. 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 03        ZAGREB  01217  02 OF 02  251809Z 
     I)  TWO MEN, ONE OF WHOM HAD A SERB SON-IN-LAW, WERE 
TAKEN AWAY BY A SQUAD OF SERBIAN SOLDIERS.  THE NEXT DAY 
THEIR BODIES WERE FOUND NEAR BANJA LUKA.  ONE WAS SHOT, 
THE OTHER CHARRED. 
 
---- 
NOTE 
---- 
 
5.  THESE ACCOUNTS CONSTITUTE ONLY A HANDFUL OF THE MANY 
ATROCITIES REPORTEDLY WITNESSED BY RECENT ARRIVALS FROM 
BANJA LUKA.  INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS WILL BE REPORTED IN 
SEPTELS. 
 
GALBRAITH 
 
 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
NNNN 

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