SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS CONTINUED GRAVE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, CROATIA
SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS CONTINUED GRAVE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, CROATIA19951109 By Resolution 1019 (1995), Demands Bosnian Serbs Allow Immediate Access by UNHCR, ICRC, Other Agencies
The Security Council this evening, concerned by continued reports of grave human rights violations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, condemned in the strongest possible terms all such violations.
In unanimously adopting resolution 1019 (1995), the Council also indicated its deep concern that despite its repeated calls, the Bosnian Serb party had not complied with the demands contained in Council resolutions and statements of the past four months. The Council reaffirmed its demand that the Bosnian Serb party give immediate and unimpeded access to the representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other international agencies to persons displaced and to persons detained or reported missing from Srebrenica, Zepa and the regions of Banja Luka and Sanski Most, who are within the area of Bosnia and Herzegovina under the control of Bosnian Serb forces.
The Council also demanded that all States, in particular those in the region of the former Yugoslavia, and all parties to the conflict, cooperate fully with the investigations of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. That cooperation includes providing access to individuals and sites important to the investigations and by complying with requests for assistance or orders issued by a trial chamber of the Tribunal. It also called on the States and parties to allow the establishment of offices of the Tribunal.
The International Tribunal was established pursuant to Security Council resolution 827 (1993) for the purpose of prosecuting persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia between 1 January 1991 and a date to be determined by the Council upon the restoration of peace.
___________________ * Reissued to correct the penultimate paragraph on page 4.
Security Council - 1a - Press Release SC/6122/Rev.1 3591st Meeting (Night) 9 November 1995
In addition this evening the Council requested the Secretary-General to submit as soon as possible a report concerning recent violations of international humanitarian law in the areas of Srebrenica, Zepa, Banja Luka and Sanski Most. It also requested that he continue to inform the Council on a regular basis of measures taken by the Government of Croatia to implement resolution 1009 (1995) and the present resolution.
By resolution 1009 (1995), adopted on 10 August, the Security Council demanded that the Government of Croatia cease immediately all military actions, fully respect the rights of the local Serb population, allow access to that population by humanitarian organizations and create conditions conducive to the return of those persons who have left their homes.
Statements were made by the representatives of Germany, Nigeria, China, United Kingdom, Botswana, Honduras, Indonesia, Russian Federation, Italy, France, United States, Czech Republic, Argentina and Oman.
The meeting, which began at 6:25 p.m., was adjourned at 7:47 p.m.
On the situation in the former Yugoslavia, the Council has before it a draft resolution (S/1995/940), sponsored by Argentina, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States, the text of which reads as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling all its earlier resolutions on the situation in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and reaffirming its resolutions 1004 (1995) of 12 July 1995, and 1010 (1995) of 10 August 1995, and the statements of its President of 7 September 1995 (S/PRST/1995/43) and 12 October 1995 (S/PRST/1995/52), and deeply concerned that despite repeated calls that it should do so, the Bosnian Serb party has not complied with the demands contained therein,
"Gravely concerned at reports, including by the representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, of grave violations of international humanitarian law and of human rights in and around Srebrenica, and in the areas of Banja Luka and Sanski Most, including reports of mass murder, unlawful detention and forced labour, rape and deportation of civilians,
"Recalling also all its earlier relevant resolutions on the situation in the Republic of Croatia, and reaffirming its resolution 1009 (1995) of 10 August 1995, and the statements of its President of 7 September 1995 (S/PRST/1995/44), and of 3 October 1995 (S/PRST/1995/49),
"Deeply concerned at reports, including by UNCRO and United Nations humanitarian agencies, of serious violations of international humanitarian law and of human rights in the former sectors West, North and South, in the Republic of Croatia, including burning of houses, looting of property and killings of civilians,
"Reiterating its strong support for the efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in seeking access to displaced persons and to persons detained or reported missing and condemning in the strongest possible terms the failure of the Bosnian Serb party to comply with their commitments in respect of such access,
"Commending the efforts of the United Nations peace forces and other United Nations personnel in the former Yugoslavia, in particular in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, despite extreme difficulties,
"Taking note of the letter to the President of the Security Council from the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia of 31 October 1995 (S/1995/910),
Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6122/Rev.1 3591st Meeting (Night) 9 November 1995
"Expressing its strong support for the work of the International Tribunal established pursuant to its resolution 827 (1993) of 25 May 1993,
"1. Condemns in the strongest possible terms all violations of international humanitarian law and of human rights in the territory of the former Yugoslavia and demands that all concerned comply fully with their obligations in this regard;
"2. Reaffirms its demand that the Bosnian Serb party give immediate and unimpeded access to representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the ICRC and other international agencies to persons displaced and to persons detained or reported missing from Srebrenica, Zepa and the regions of Banja Luka and Sanski Most who are within the areas of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina under the control of Bosnian Serb forces and that the Bosnian Serb party permit representatives of the ICRC (i) to visit and register any persons detained against their will, whether civilians or members of the forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and (ii) to have access to any site it may deem important;
"3. Reaffirms also its demand that the Bosnian Serb party respect fully the rights of all such persons, ensure their safety and release them immediately;
"4. Reaffirms further the obligation on all the parties to ensure the complete freedom of movement of personnel of the United Nations and other relevant international organizations throughout the territory of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina at all times;
"5. Demands that all detention camps throughout the territory of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina should be immediately closed;
"6. Reaffirms its demand that the Government of the Republic of Croatia take urgent measures to put an end to violations of international humanitarian law and of human rights, and investigate all reports of such violations so that those responsible in respect of such acts be judged and punished;
"7. Reiterates its demand that the Government of the Republic of Croatia respect fully the rights of the local Serb population including their right to remain or return in safety and reiterates also its call upon the Government of the Republic of Croatia to lift any time-limits placed on the return of refugees to Croatia to reclaim their property;
"8. Demands that all States, in particular those in the region of the former Yugoslavia, and all parties to the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, comply fully and in good faith with the obligations contained in paragraph 4 of resolution 827 (1993) to cooperate fully with the International Tribunal
Security Council - 4 - Press Release SC/6122/Rev.1 3591st Meeting (Night) 9 November 1995
established pursuant to that resolution including by providing access to individuals and sites the Tribunal deems important for its investigations, and by complying with requests for assistance or orders issued by a trial chamber under article 29 of the Statute of the Tribunal, and calls upon them to allow the establishment of offices of the Tribunal;
"9. Demands that all parties, and in particular the Bosnian Serb party, refrain from any action intended to destroy, alter, conceal or damage any evidence of violations of international humanitarian law and that they preserve such evidence;
"10. Reaffirms its support for the actions of the United Nations peace forces, and other United Nations personnel, including the great importance of their contribution in the humanitarian field, and demands that all parties fully ensure their safety and cooperate fully with them;
"11. Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Council as soon as possible a written report based on all information available to the United Nations concerning recent violations of international humanitarian law in the areas of Srebrenica, Zepa, Banja Luka and Sanski Most;
"12. Requests also the Secretary-General to continue to inform the Council on a regular basis of measures taken by the Government of the Republic of Croatia to implement resolution 1009 (1995) and the present resolution;
"13. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
The President of the Council, SALIM BIN MOHAMMED AL-KHUSSAIBY (Oman), informed the Council that he had received a letter from the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia requesting permission to participate in the discussion of the item before the Council. There being no objection, and in accordance with rule 37 of the Council's provisional rules of procedure, he invited those representatives to take seats at the Council table.
The PRESIDENT said he had also received a request from Mr. Jovanovich. There being no objection, he invited him to take a seat at the side of the Council table.
He also called attention to the draft resolution prepared in the course of the Council's prior consultations (document S/1995/940). He also drew attention to a letter dated 31 October from the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia addressed to the President of the Council (document S/1995/910).
Security Council - 5 - Press Release SC/6122/Rev.1 3591st Meeting (Night) 9 November 1995
TONIO EITEL (Germany) expressed alarm and deep concern at the increasing number of reports to the effect that large numbers of missing men from Srebrenica, Zepa and the Banja Luka area had probably been killed or led away to unknown destinations. He was particularly worried that no significant progress had been made in the search for the missing displaced persons, even though the Council had already adopted three formal decisions on the matter. He insisted that immediate access to all detainees from the three areas must be granted, in particular to the ICRC.
He said that while his Government was deeply worried about the situation in Croatia, it was fully aware of the different quantitative and qualitative dimension of the violations of international law and the human rights violations committed by Bosnian Serbs in Srebrenica, Zepa and the wider Banja Luka area. The Croatian side had consistently granted access for the Krajina region to human rights observers, whereas the Bosnian Serbs had systematically blocked all access to the Bosnian Serb sites in question. The probable summary execution of thousands of Bosnian men by Bosnian Serbs was a war crime without parallel in the former Yugoslavia.
Warning against any attempt to equate the war crimes committed by the Bosnian Serbs with human rights violations in Croatia, he nevertheless expressed deep concern at reports of killings and mistreatment of mostly elderly civilians, as well as deliberate arson and looting, in the Krajina region.
He said Germany had consistently argued that the Council had to follow up on those matters. It, therefore, welcomed the fact that the draft resolution took up the German proposal by requesting that a written report be submitted by the Secretary-General, based on all information available to the United Nations concerning recent violations of international humanitarian law in Srebrenica, Zepa and the wider Banja Luka area.
ISSAC E. AYEWAH (Nigeria) said it was unfortunate that the International Tribunal had experienced operational difficulties. He called on the parties concerned, as well as the States of the region, to cooperate with the Tribunal to enable it to fully discharge its duties. He expressed regret that the Bosnian Serb authorities, as well as the Government of Croatia, had not heeded the Council's calls to strictly comply with its resolutions and to respect the rights of the persons in their areas of control irrespective of ethnic, cultural or religious affiliation. The events in Zepa and Srebrenica, and recently in Banja Luka and Sanski Most, represented only the latest in a long series of condemnable acts by the Bosnian Serbs.
He said the treatment by Croatian authorities of ethnic Serbs living in Croatia was contrary to their repeated claim of belief in a multi-religious and multi-ethnic society. To date, the conditions did not exist that would demonstrate to the outside world and convince the minority Serbs that their
Security Council - 6 - Press Release SC/6122/Rev.1 3591st Meeting (Night) 9 November 1995
rights would be protected by the rulers in Zagreb. Some of the legislation that had been enacted did not facilitate the voluntary return of the many Serb refugees that had fled or were being forced to flee their homes.
He said that his delegation rejected any attempt to strike a balance or compare the atrocities of one side to that of the other. All violations of international humanitarian law stood condemned and should be judged individually. The passion of war, the fear of defeat or loss of territory could not justify the violation of the basic rights and freedoms of non- combatants.
QIN HASAUN (China) welcomed the recent positive changes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had led to the peace talks currently taking place in Ohio. He urged all parties to seize the opportunity to facilitate a comprehensive political settlement in the former Yugoslavia. China had all along been concerned at violations of international humanitarian law in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and urged all parties to strive to create a favourable atmosphere for the ongoing peace talks.
The draft before the Council called for an early settlement of the question of the disappearance of civilians in the former Yugoslavia, and he would therefore support the draft resolution before the Council. However, the various United Nations bodies should not stray beyond their mandates. The Security Council should not involve itself in human rights questions, nor in the activities of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. China was concerned at such a possibility, and wished to place that concern on record.
Sir JOHN WESTON (United Kingdom) said that the draft resolution underlined the importance that the Security Council attached to the highest respect for human rights and international humanitarian law in the former Yugoslavia. The resolution made clear that there were no exceptions to that. All concerned must comply fully with their obligations.
He said that against that background, it was right that the Council should address in particular three recent and deeply disturbing developments: the disappearance of large numbers of civilians following the fall of Srebrenica and Zepa to Bosnian Serb forces; the brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing in the Banja Luka region; and systematic violations of the rights of Croatian Serbs in the Krajina.
The resolution before the Council was, therefore, a timely reminder to the parties to the conflict that they could not expect to talk peace while promoting or condoning such activities as murder or ethnic cleansing, he said. Over two years ago, the Council had decided to establish an International Tribunal to investigate violations of international humanitarian law throughout the former Yugoslavia. He reminded the parties of their obligation
Security Council - 7 - Press Release SC/6122/Rev.1 3591st Meeting (Night) 9 November 1995
to cooperate fully with the work of the Tribunal. In particular, he called on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) to facilitate establishment without delay of an office of that Tribunal in the country, and called on the Bosnian Serbs to comply with the orders and decisions of the Trial Chamber of the Tribunal.
LEGWAILA LEGWAILA (Botswana) said that three months after the fall of Srebrenica the fate of thousands of men and boys of draft age was still unknown because the Bosnian Serbs had denied access to representatives of the ICRC and other international humanitarian agencies to the town. Reports that captives were shot in cold blood continued. If those reports could be categorically confirmed, the action of the Bosnian Serb party would constitute the most blatant and flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and the accepted norms of international morality.
The Secretariat had recently informed the Security Council of similar Serb atrocities in the regions of Banja Luka and Sanski Most, he continued. Draft-age men were reported to have been rounded-up and some of them summarily executed. There were also corroborating reports which confirmed that 120 civilians were killed by the Serbs before the fall of Sanski Most. In addition, there was evidence that some of those detained had been maltreated or used in degrading forced labour. He expressed strong disquiet at those incidents of human rights violations, and insisted that the Serbs should abide by the Council resolutions and cooperate fully with the ICRC and other international humanitarian organizations.
It was against that background that Botswana would vote in favour of the draft resolution, he said. However, it would do so under no illusion that its adoption would have any significant effect on the behaviour of those being addressed. Equally, it was important that the Security Council guard against the possibility of infringing on the responsibility of the competent organs of the United Nations, especially the International Tribunal. That could be damaging to what prestige and credibility the Council could still claim on the question of the former Yugoslavia.
GERARDO MARTINEZ BLANCO (Honduras) said that despite the many statements and resolutions adopted by the Council condemning the violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and its reminders to all of the parties of their obligations for the protection of victims of war under the 1949 Geneva Convention, the Bosnian Serb party continued to violate humanitarian law.
He expressed concern over the reports of serious violations of human rights in Srebrenica and in the areas of Banja Luka and Sanski Most. He was equally concerned by reports on the situation in other sectors of Croatia. He condemned the actions of the Croatian Government against United Nations personnel and demanded that they respect the rights of the local Serbs,
Security Council - 8 - Press Release SC/6122/Rev.1 3591st Meeting (Night) 9 November 1995
including their right to remain or return in safe conditions. The Croatian Government must determine who was responsible for the violations of human rights and lift the deadline it had imposed for the return of refugees to Croatia.
He regretted that the Bosnian Serbs had not fulfilled their commitment to permit access by representatives of the UNHCR and the ICRC to displaced persons and refugees in the regions of Srebrenica, Zepa, Banja Luka and Sanski Most. That access by the humanitarian groups was vital to determining the validity of the charges of human rights violations. He would vote in favour of the draft.
NUGROHO WISNUMURTI (Indonesia) said he shared the deep concern over the continuing violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, as well as the potential consequences for the peace process if that situation was not expeditiously dealt with. In particular, the Bosnian Serb party must provide immediate access to representatives of humanitarian organizations and other international agencies to persons displaced and to persons detained or reported missing from Srebrenica, Zepa and the regions of Banja Luka and Sanski Most.
Such action was imperative in light of the continuing reports of daily atrocities, including the mass murder of civilians, he continued. He emphasized the demand that all States fully cooperate with the International Tribunal as it performed its investigative functions. He said he would vote for the draft resolution, which would send a message to the parties concerned regarding the Council's resolve to put an immediate end to the tragic crisis.
VASILIY SIDOROV (Russian Federation) said his delegation had been an initiator of the draft resolution before the Council. The civil wars in the former Yugoslavia had become a real human tragedy, not only as a result of hostilities, but from consistent and gross violations of human rights throughout the area. Russia was seriously concerned at reports of violations of international humanitarian law in Srebrenica, Zepa, and the Banja Luka area, as well as the denial of access to those areas to such international humanitarian bodies as the ICRC.
However, he continued, the draft resolution before the Council made clear that there must be no differentiation between the parties involved. His Government remained deeply concerned over the sufferings of the inhabitants of the Krajina. The resolution contained clear demands in that respect. It also lent support to Russia's consistent refusal to allow any infringement upon the activities of the International Tribunal, as well as its rejection of any attempt to demonize any parties concerned in the conflict. An unprecedented humanitarian crisis was taking place, a situation aggravated by the onset of a cold and snowy winter. The persistence of sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia threatened to further complicate the matter.
Security Council - 9 - Press Release SC/6122/Rev.1 3591st Meeting (Night) 9 November 1995
Action on Draft
The Council then unanimously adopted the draft resolution as resolution 1019 (1995).
Statements after Vote
F. PAOLO FULCI (Italy) welcomed the Council's adoption of the resolution. Italy had consistently maintained that any and all violations of human rights in the former Yugoslavia must be firmly condemned. Today's resolution moved in that direction. In that context, it believed that the main focus must be on the extremely serious case of persons unaccounted for from Srebrenica, Zepa and more recently, Sanski Most, and the denial of access by Bosnian Serb authorities to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), ICRC and other international humanitarian agencies.
Another point addressed by the resolution was the cooperation of the parties with the International Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia, he continued. In that regard, he recalled that while representatives of the Tribunal were already operating in Zagreb and Sarajevo, the representative assigned to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) had not yet received the necessary authorization from the Belgrade authorities. He hoped that the Government of the Republic of Yugoslavia issued that authorization as soon as possible.
The resolution also dealt with the problem of human rights violations in Croatia's former United Nations Protected Area (UNPA), he said. The resolution was also to be seen in the general framework of the peace process, whose latest developments in Dayton were being followed by Italy with great hope.
ALAIN DEJAMMET (France) said that at the moment when the peace process had finally begun, the recrudescence of intolerance, violence and ethnic cleansing reported from certain areas of the former Yugoslavia must be vigorously condemned. Failure to react would compromise progress towards a just and durable peace, which was the common goal of the Contact Group overseeing the current talks in Dayton. That was the interpretation that his country brought to the resolution just adopted. It condemned all acts of violence and all violations not only of international humanitarian law, but also of human rights throughout the territory of the former Yugoslavia, wherever they occurred and whoever perpetrated them.
The resolution, by recalling the importance of the International Tribunal, faithfully reflected France's unwavering position, he said. The drafters of the resolution had deemed it necessary to recall the demands addressed by the Council to the Croat authorities about the security and the right of return of Serb populations, driven by war from the former Sectors
Security Council - 10 - Press Release SC/6122/Rev.1 3591st Meeting (Night) 9 November 1995
West, North and South of the Republic of Croatia. For that reason, France wholeheartedly supported the peaceful process of negotiations currently under way in Croatia. France also hailed and supported the action of the United Nations Peace-keeping Forces and other United Nations personnel in the former Yugoslavia.
KAREL KOVANDA (Czech Republic) expressed exasperation at the fact that the resolution should even be needed. After three or four years of constantly criticizing, ostracizing and condemning people involved in ethnic cleansing, after the formation of an International Tribunal to deal with those crimes, one would have hoped that no one could possibly be deaf. Yet, an epidemic of deafness seemed to have affected whole groups of people, even important people, in Croatia and in particular in Serb-controlled Bosnia.
The Council had heard the argument that the Serbian slaughter of Moslem and Croat innocents in Banja Luka and Sanski Most was caused by or perhaps provoked by Croat and Bosnian Government advances along the nearby line of fighting, he continued. It must declare most resolutely that efforts to establish that type of linkage were repugnant and absolutely unacceptable. There was a fundamental difference between the struggle of armed men on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the one-sided expulsions, rape and butchery of unarmed civilians, isolated in their individual homes, defenceless before the untrammelled brutality of their tormentors. Ethnic cleansing was reprehensible no matter who conducted it and no matter what methods were used, he said. With that in mind his Government was concerned by ethnic cleansing not only in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also in Croatia, even though the killings in Croatia might have been smaller in number. The man whose throat was being slashed did not care whether he was one of hundreds or merely of thousands, or whether the knife was authorized or not. The international community was on the side of the victims.
EMILIO J. CARDENAS (Argentina) said his Government condemned those violations of human rights which implied acts of depravity that were almost always committed by deviant minorities. The Serbian authorities must isolate those deviants. The reluctance to allow access to displaced persons and refugees by humanitarian organizations raised a presumption of guilt. The climate of suspicion surrounding the failure to allow access constituted a major difficulty in the peace talks. The common theme was ethnic cleansing. The violations of human rights by one party did not justify such violations by another party. Moreover, the alleged violations were of such magnitude that their political implications could not be ignored.
EDWARD W. GNEHM (United States) said it was a time of hope for the former Yugoslavia. The presidents of the three republics in the region had begun their proximity talks in Dayton, and he congratulated the parties for that major step towards peace. He hoped the talks would lead to a true peace,
Security Council - 11 - Press Release SC/6122/Rev.1 3591st Meeting (Night) 9 November 1995
which would allow all the States in the region the opportunity to concentrate on providing a better life for their people.
He said the resolution was one which his Government regretted was necessary, but proud to co-sponsor. It reaffirmed why an international tribunal was so necessary to bring to justice the criminals responsible for committing crimes against humanity.
As the resolution just adopted clearly stated, available evidence demonstrated that Bosnian Serb forces had committed mass murder, he continued. What happened in Srebrenica was a war crime of historic proportions, reminding the world of events in Europe of 50 years ago.
The resolution also rightfully addressed the incidents which occurred in the Krajina after the Croatian offensive of September, he said. The United States strongly believed that the Croatian Government must take steps to ensure that the rights of all its citizens were respected, whether Croats or Serbs. However, the differences in circumstances and the magnitude of the crimes must be recognized. The murder of large numbers of civilians by Bosnian Serb forces had not been the act of a few individuals acting alone. The world owed the dead and missing of Bosnia everything it could do to ensure that the guilty were brought to justice. By uncovering the truth, the international community could restore the faith of the people of the former Yugoslavia in justice.
The President of the Council, Mr. AL-KHUSSAIBY (Oman), speaking in his capacity as a representative of his country, said he supported the resolution just adopted because it reiterated the Council's demands on the Bosnian Serbs to immediately withdraw from the safe areas of Srebrenica and Zepa, to refrain from any act that might run counter to international humanitarian law and to stop their systematic programme of ethnic cleansing. The Bosnian Serbs had not heeded the Council's demands. They still refused to allow humanitarian agencies to have access to areas under their control, where atrocities were thought to have taken place.
The Council stood united in its demand that that party comply fully with its demands, he said. The Council also stood united against ethnic cleansing and all other types of social and religious hatred in any part of the territory of the former Yugoslavia. Those responsible for such acts should bear personal responsibility and be brought to justice.
His country supported the work of the International Tribunal and hoped that all States, in particular those in the region and all parties to the conflict, would comply fully with their obligation to cooperate with the Tribunal, he said. He hoped that all parties would fully understand the demands of the present resolution, take them seriously and refrain from any acts that might jeopardize the peace process.
* *** *