Excerpt From: E/CN.4/1993/50

 

 

Annex II

REPORT OF THE TEAM OF EXPERTS ON THEIR MISSION TO INVESTIGATE
ALLEGATIONS OF RAPE IN THE TERRITORY OF THE FORMER
YUGOSLAVIA FROM 12 TO 23 JANUARY 1991

I. INTRODUCTION



1. Pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolutions 1992/S-1/1 and 1992/S-2/1, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the territory of the former Yugoslavia requested a team of medical experts to investigate reports concerning the widespread occurrence of rape and, in particular, allegations received that rape was being used in a “systematic” way, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

2. The team was composed of the following four experts: Dr. Greta Forster (genito-urinary specialist, United Kingdom), Dr. Perran Möröy (obstetrician/gynaecologist, Turkey), Dr. Elizabeth Murphy (psychiatrist, United States of America) and Dr. Shana Swiss (women’s health and human rights, United States of America). Mrs. Chafika Meslem, Director of the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, accompanied the team during the mission which was carried out from 12 to 23 January 1993. The team spent four days in Croatia (Zagreb and surrounding areas, including Karlovac). Half of the team then went to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Belgrade and surrounding areas, including Loznica) and the other half spent two more days in Zagreb and four days in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo and Zenica). The report was finalized over a three-day period in Geneva.

3. The purpose of the mission was to investigate allegations of the widespread use of rape, that is, non-consenting sexual relations with another person obtained through physical force, threat or intimidation, 1/ in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.


II. INFORMATION/EVIDENCE OBTAINED



4. In carrying out the mandate entrusted to them, the team of experts applied a variety of methods to obtain evidence, as detailed below.


A. General information



5. General information regarding the subject was obtained in meetings with representatives of the Governments concerned, international organizations with representation in the locations that were visited, non-governmental organizations concerned with women’s issues, local women’s groups, religious leaders of Muslim communities, and other sources including UNPROFOR officials, relatives of detained or disappeared persons as well as relatives of victims of rape.

6. According to some of these sources, rape has been used since the beginning of the conflict on a large scale, as a means of implementing the strategy of ethnic cleansing and to increase inter-ethnic hatred. Paramilitary groups are said to be responsible in most cases. The victims are said to be mainly Muslim but also Serb and Croat women. Most reports relate to the months of May and June 1992. Attempts made to locate specific places where women were allegedly detained and raped have proved unsuccessful to date. Information provided was often too imprecise. In several cases, alleged rape camps were found to be empty when visited by ICRC delegates.


B. Statistical data



7. Statistical data including rates of birth, abortions, sexually transmitted diseases (STD) including HIV infection, as well as the numbers of pregnancies reportedly due to rape were requested from the hospitals visited in Zagreb, Sarajevo, Zenica and Belgrade.

8. A number of pregnancies resulting from rape were documented among women who received abortions or pre-natal care at several hospitals. The women were known to be victims of rape through disclosure to their physician or, after denial of abortion, through the appeals procedure before ethics committees. Some were so distressed that they received a psychiatric consultation during which they admitted to having been raped.


1. Known pregnancies resulting from rape in 1992


9. Through interviews with physicians and a review of medical records from six major medical centres in Zagreb, Sarajevo, Zenica and Belgrade, the team of experts was able to identify 119 pregnancies resulting from rape during 1992.



Croatia

10. In one major hospital in Zagreb, 28 pregnant women refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina (6 from Prijedor, one of them 15-years-old) personally stated that they had been raped; 25 of them were admitted to the hospital for early abortions. 2/ One late abortion was performed. Two victims delivered babies. In the second hospital visited by the team of experts in Zagreb, there were seven known pregnancies resulting from rape. Two women delivered babies; four are expected to give birth in early 1993, one had had an abortion (term unknown).



Bosnia and Herzegovina

11. In Zagreb, medical information was obtained regarding a hospital in Tuzla, where, in 1992, 45 pregnancies were known to have resulted from rape. In 41 cases, abortions were performed up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Four women were more than 20 weeks pregnant due to rape and did not receive abortions.

12. In the largest gynaecological clinic in Sarajevo, the number of known pregnancies due to rape in 1992 was 15; 14 of these were terminated through late abortions, while one resulted in delivery.

13. At the gynaecology clinic in Zenica, 19 pregnancies were known to be the result of rapes; 16 women, all between 17 and 22 years old, were seen at the clinic in October and November 1992. All were more than 20 weeks pregnant as a result of rape and could not receive abortions. Abortions were performed on three other women who had been raped in front of their parents and had come to Zenica in early pregnancy. Most of these women came from villages occupied by ethnic Serbs such as Vogosca, Hanpijesak, Foca, Rogatica, Banja Luka and Kotor Varos.

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

14. At one specialist maternity hospital in Belgrade, there were five recorded cases of pregnancy due to rape. Medical records were obtained regarding these cases, which included three late terminations of pregnancy and two deliveries (see details below).


2. General abortion and delivery data





Croatia

15. According to data obtained in one of the two major hospitals visited in Zagreb, 6,521 infants were delivered and 4,615 abortions performed in 1992. In the second hospital, 4,039 infants were delivered and 4,100 abortions performed in 1992 (as compared to 3,103 deliveries and 3,000 abortions in 1991). In both hospitals, the total number of abortions and deliveries increased in 1992. However, the ratio of abortions to deliveries remained approximately the same as in 1991, according to the physicians in charge of both hospitals’ gynaecology departments.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

16. In 1992, the number of abortions performed at the clinic visited by the team of experts in Sarajevo had doubled in September, October and November (400-500/month) compared to pre-war rates (approximately 200/month). 3/ At the same time, the number of patient visits decreased by half. This means that there were effectively four times the number of abortions in those months compared to pre-war rates. Doctors noted an increase in late terminations of pregnancy beginning in September 1992.

17. Spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) also increased in Sarajevo. This was thought to be due both to lack of availability of food as well as to psychological trauma. 4/

18. Abortions were performed at three health centres and several emergency centres in Sarajevo. However, some of these centres have been destroyed, along with all of their medical records.

19. In the clinic visited in Zenica, 1,489 early abortions were performed in 1991, 2,106 in 1992. There were 632 abortions performed in the first half of 1992 and more than twice as many abortions in the second half of the year, 1,474, with 712 abortions performed in December 1992.

20. In Zenica, there were 4,300 deliveries in 1991. In 1992, there were 3,900 deliveries. In the former Yugoslavia women historically deliver in hospitals, and Zenica is a referral hospital for a large area in Bosnia and Herzegovina that includes 2.5 million people, from Doboj and Knojic to Bugojno and Kupres. Zenica, which had a population of approximately 145,000 people according to the 1991 census, has received an influx of 230,000 refugees since the war began.

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

21. Despite a decline in live births, numbers of early and late abortions remained relatively stable from 1984 to 1992 at one of two specialist maternity hospitals in Belgrade. The ratio of abortions to deliveries ranged between 0.5 and 0.7 between 1984 and 1992. A total of 4,200 early, and 438 late abortions were performed at this hospital in 1992. During the same year, 238 applications for late abortions were received by the Appeals Commission for the entire city.


C. Analysis of statistical data and medical records



1. Under-reporting

22. Rape is among the most under-reported crimes in peacetime throughout the world. Because of the stigma attached to rape, shame and secrecy often silence the victims. According to many physicians and psychologists whom the team of experts met in the former Yugoslavia, even in peacetime women rarely disclosed that they had been raped, whether Croatian, Muslim or Serbian. This was so even though early abortions were readily available and accessible. This clinical observation is supported by the very low rate of charges brought for rape or attempted rape in the former Yugoslavia. 5/

23. Rape continues to be under-reported during wartime. Women who are raped by soldiers see it as useless to press charges or demand justice. “There is no one to complain to,” one woman who had been raped by a soldier told a member of the team of experts. Soldiers who have licence to rape because of their military association is a form of institutionalized violence that leaves victims with little recourse. Rape by soldiers is increasingly used as a weapon of war against women and girls.

24. Many women will not talk about their experience of rape for fear of reprisals. Many women interviewed by the team of experts personally knew, or knew the names of, the men who had raped them. Some were reluctant to tell the experts the names of the perpetrators because of fear for their own and their family’s safety.


2. Data collection


25. Clinical care of victims takes precedence over data collection in times of war. The team encountered difficulties in its ability to collect data. These include limitations on the number of hospitals that could be visited, unanticipated inaccessibility of certain locations for security reasons, destruction of data during conflict, and the need for collecting data from individual hospitals rather than any central reporting agency.


3. Evaluation of findings


26. The team of experts collected data on pregnancy rates, birth rates, abortion rates, STD including HIV infection as well as the number of pregnancies reportedly due to rape. The experts were looking for data that might indicate large-scale sexual abuse of women.

27. In Zagreb and Belgrade, cities not directly involved in the hostilities but which have accepted large refugee populations, the ratio of abortions to deliveries has remained relatively stable since the conflict began compared with other areas directly affected. In the city of Zenica, for example, the number of all pregnancies ending in abortion increased in December 1992. In Sarajevo, abortions doubled while the number of patient visits decreased by half in the last four months of 1992. While this increase could reflect a rise in pregnancies due to rape, it could also reflect a more general response to economic and social instability created by war.

28. Through interviews with physicians and a review of medical records from six major medical centres serving large refugee and Bosnian populations, the team of experts was able to identify 119 pregnancies resulting from rape during 1992. The vast majority of these were specifically identified by the physicians or the victims as being the result of rape by paramilitary soldiers. The women were known to have been victims of rape through their disclosure to their physicians or in justifying a request for a second trimester abortion. For some women, the history of rape was elicited during psychiatric consultation for severe distress.

29. Virtually all interviewed physicians and health workers felt that the reporting of rape resulting in pregnancy would be far lower than its actual occurrence due to the profound emotional pain and stigma associated with rape. Indeed, it had become express policy for some medical personnel not to inquire of women requesting abortions whether they had been raped. The 119 cases documented to have been associated with rape, therefore, should be viewed as the minimum number of pregnancies due to rape in the populations served by the hospitals visited.

30. It is not possible to know precisely the actual number of rapes or the number of pregnancies due to rape that have occurred. However, estimates can be made based on the 119 documented cases of pregnancy resulting from rape. Medical studies suggest that of every 100 incidents of rape, one will result in pregnancy. 6/ This suggests that the 119 documented cases were likely to have been the result of approximately 12,000 incidents of rape. Since it is clear that women experienced multiple and/or repeated rape, this figure should not be construed as a direct indication of the number of women who were raped in the populations using the medical facilities visited by the team of experts but may only serve as a guide to the general scale of the problem. 7/

31. Nevertheless, because the under-reporting of rape is so profound and the source of documented cases was only six hospitals, the 119 documented cases suggest that the incidence of rape in the conflict in the former Yugoslavia has been widespread.


D. Testimonies


1. First-hand testimonies

32. Interviews were conducted with victims of and eye-witnesses to rape. These interviews took place in hospitals and refugee camps in and around Zagreb, Sarajevo, Zenica, Belgrade and Loznica. Interviewees were selected through contacts with relevant physicians and by random sampling in refugee camps.

33. Though the interviews with victims and eye-witnesses provided essential information, the team of experts decided to present these testimonies in summarized form to preserve confidentiality and protect the safety of the women interviewed, as well as that of their families. Complete documentation concerning the interviews conducted by the experts is in the possession of the United Nations Centre for Human Rights.


Testimonies obtained by the team of experts in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia


34. Of 35 ethnic Serb refugees (11 males, 24 females) from Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Croatia who were interviewed by the team in different locations in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, five women reported multiple rapes. In five other cases, the experts strongly suspected that the women had been raped. The following are extracts from some of the testimonies received.

35. One Serb woman reported that after the conflict had reached her village, all ex-neighbours wore uniforms of the Croatian army. She reported being taken, together with other women and children, to Novi Grad (north-east Bosnia and Herzegovina) where they were confined to private houses and many of the women were raped. She told the experts that she knew a lot of them. “Some helped, but some did things that could not be forgotten. I had to pay for everything with myself.”

36. One elderly Serb woman, who the experts suspected was raped herself, reported witnessing the repeated rape of numerous women in a detention camp controlled by Muslim forces. Guards would come at night to the room where women and girls were sleeping and select them using a flashlight. She told the experts that she would “prefer to jump into the river Drina than to go through it again.” Two other Serb women reported abuses of close female relatives who were detained and subjected to threats of rape, but did not admit to being raped themselves.

37. Two men who were detained witnessed women being raped repeatedly. In one Croat-run military detention centre near Split, women of all ages were kept in a separate building, apart from the male prisoners. They were taken out at night and raped.

38. Most of the rapes reported by ethnic Serb refugees occurred in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while others took place in Croatia. A number of these rapes reportedly took place in detention camps, where ethnic Serb women reported having been held and repeatedly raped by Croat or Muslim forces. Those said to be the perpetrators were Croat soldiers and police as well as ethnic Croat and Muslim forces. Eight of those who had either experienced or witnessed rape had been interviewed by one or more journalists and missions investigating human rights violations. One woman who had given numerous interviews complained that she had not yet received a gynaecological examination, despite having symptoms, since being raped. She expressed anger and felt manipulated and used.


Testimonies obtained by the team of experts in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina


39. A total of 16 women were interviewed in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Three of them were ethnic Croats and 13 of them were Muslims. Physicians helped locate many of these women, which may explain why there was a large number of women who had become pregnant as a result of rape among those interviewed by the experts.

40. Six Muslim and two ethnic Croat women reported having been raped. One 43-year-old Muslim woman reported being repeatedly raped in her apartment in a Serb-occupied area for seven months until she managed to escape. The perpetrators, who came to the apartment regularly two or three times a week, were two ethnic Serbian neighbours in paramilitary uniforms. Another Muslim woman reported how some of the ethnic Serbs in her village rounded up the Muslims and took them to a primary school where she was detained with 12 other women and about 400 men. “The soldiers would come every evening around midnight, drunk and dirty. This went on for about two months. Some of them were my neighbours, and some of them I did not know, from Serbia. There was a room with five or six men in it. They would all rape one woman and then take her away and bring in another woman. All 13 of us were taken there; the youngest girl was ten years old.”

41. One ethnic Croat woman was detained in a Serb-controlled camp with 34 other women and a large number of men. She reported that all 34 women in the camp were raped: “There were so many killings, torture. Death became very familiar. All of the women were begging to be killed, to be shot, not to be tortured ...”. Another ethnic Croat woman was detained in a “special house” where she was raped by several men every night for approximately two months. Every night she could hear screams and cries of other women. She reported that, while raping her, the men were shouting: “you will have a Serbian child”. She also reported being told that, if she were pregnant, she would be “forced to stay there until six months of pregnancy”.

42. Two other women reported having witnessed rapes: one ethnic Croat woman reported being detained for two months in a camp where she witnessed three Muslim women being repeatedly beaten and tortured. One older Muslim woman reported that two 12-year-old girls had been raped.

43. All of the above-described rapes of Croatian and Muslim women occurred in Bosnia and Herzegovina between May and December 1992, near Prijedor, Banja Luka, Kljuc, Mahale and Sarajevo. In all cases, the perpetrators were said to be local ethnic Serb paramilitary or paramilitary from Serbia. Two women personally knew the men who raped them. Five were pregnant as a result of rape. Two had given birth to children. One child has been adopted and the other has been rejected by the mother and is being kept in the hospital. Three women have had abortions. Two of the women had been interviewed by journalists investigating human rights violations. One of these, because of coming forward in public, was verbally attacked by another refugee woman. “Maybe it would have been better if I hadn’t spoken about it,” she told the team of experts.


2. Other testimonies and reports


44. In addition to direct interviews, the team of experts carefully examined testimonies of victims and/or witnesses of rape obtained by physicians, government representatives and independent agencies. Information regarding a number of clinical cases was also obtained through the study of medical records in these hospitals.

45. The experts reviewed five medical records, obtained at a major maternity hospital in Belgrade. These medical cases, which included, where appropriate, birth records or official approvals for abortions, concerned five Serb refugee women from Bosnia and Herzegovina, between 20 and 38 years of age, pregnant as a result of multiple rape over periods of three weeks to five and a half months by Muslim and Croat irregular soldiers. Four of the five women had been denied abortions elsewhere on one or more occasions. Three obtained late abortions at 20 to 23 weeks’ gestation. All women exhibited psychological trauma and three required psychiatric interventions. Given allegations that HIV-antibody positive men were deliberately raping Serb women, all five women were tested but proved HIV-antibody negative. The five women were not available for interviews with the experts. Three had moved from the area. Two had made themselves inaccessible, due to a desire for anonymity after extensive interviews and media exposure.

46. The team also received three reports prepared by governmental agencies of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which documented multiple rapes carried out by Croat and Muslim soldiers against Serbian women, formerly resident in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, during the conflict. For the purpose of this mission, the only governmental reports used were those substantiated by evidence collected by the team of experts.

47. The team of experts received more than 30 reports prepared by governmental and non-governmental organizations in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. All of these reports documented victims of or eye-witnesses’ accounts of rapes or multiple rapes of Croat and Muslim women. The team also reviewed 16 interviews conducted by physicians with victims of and eye-witnesses to rape in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. While the team relied primarily on the information that was gathered from interviews with victims and eye-witnesses and from interviews with physicians and medical data collected, the experts found these reports useful in understanding the scope of the problem.

48. From a review of the information contained in the documents and testimonies received, as well as from meetings held by the team of experts with some of these physicians, several patterns became apparent. Although the team interviewed a small number of women, the information acquired from these personal interviews was consistent with some of the information found in these additional testimonies and reports.


(a) Rape has been used as one method to terrorize civilian populations in villages and forcing ethnic groups to leave. One example of this was described by a physician who interviewed several women from the region of Vukovar (Croatia). There, Serb paramilitary units would enter a village. Several women would be raped in the presence of others so that word spread throughout the village and a climate of fear was created. Several days later, Yugoslav Popular Army (JNA) officers would arrive at the village offering permission to the non-Serb population to leave the village. Those male villagers who had wanted to stay then decided to leave with their women and children in order to protect them from being raped;

(b) In one pattern that was reported in several Serb-controlled areas, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, local Serb forces in conjunction with Serb forces from outside the area would occupy a village and restrict the movement of the local population. Often, men were deported or fled. Women were then often raped in their own homes or taken from their homes to another location and raped, often by neighbours or people known to them. Reports of similar abuses were obtained from a Serb refugee who came from north-eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, regarding a number of villages occupied by Croat forces, particularly in the region of Novi Grad;

(c) Although the team of experts heard stories about individuals, Croats, Muslims and Serbs, who risked their own safety to try and help their threatened neighbours, they heard of no attempts made by anyone in a position of authority to try and stop the raping of women and girls. In fact, some of those in power actively participated in it. One example for this was given by a Muslim woman living in a Serb-occupied town. She reported being taken by an ethnic Serb policeman to a private home where she was presented with the words: “Here she is, Commander. I brought her!” She recognized the “Commander” as one of the strongest political figures in the region before the war. He told her to go into his office, which was his bedroom, where he raped her. Serb women also reported that women were raped by Croat and Muslim policemen and men in positions of authority;

(d) Rape was also commonplace in detention camps on all sides. There, women were kept together in rooms in a separate part of the camp. Women were taken individually to other rooms, where they would be repeatedly raped.



III. OBSERVATIONS, CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS



A. Observations

49. Rape is an abuse of power and control in which the rapist seeks to humiliate, shame, embarrass, degrade and terrify the victim. The primary objective is to exercise power and control over another person.

50. Rape of females has encompassed the entire age spectrum, from children to elderly women, in all areas of the conflict.

51. Many women are reluctant to speak about their experiences for a variety of reasons: because of severe traumatization, feelings of shame, lack of trust, fear of awakening bad memories. Fear of reprisals against themselves and their families, some of whom may still be in the areas affected by the conflict, also makes victims unwilling to speak.

52. Repeated interviewing of victims by a number of missions and some media representatives has further decreased their readiness to testify. Some of the women met by the team of experts felt exploited by the media and the many missions “studying” rape in the former Yugoslavia. Furthermore, health care providers were concerned about the effects on women of repeatedly recounting their experiences without adequate psychological and social support systems in place.

53. Some governmental and non-governmental organizations in the former Yugoslavia are exploiting the issue of rape for their own political aims.

54. Women are not being provided with the necessary gynaecological and STD screening that should be part of their overall care following rape. In some circumstances, this is due to lack of reporting of the abuse, sometimes caused by inability to disclose the experience of rape to others. However, the geographical locations of some refugee centres limit access to appropriate health care, as do economic and logistic constraints.

55. Establishing health services that are designed specifically for rape victims will lead to further stigmatization. Therefore, programmes should be created for all women and children who have been traumatized by war. These considerations should be taken into account by the international community when awarding aid for specific programmes.

56. The experts were informed that 65-70 per cent of refugees in Croatia are in private homes, while 96 per cent of refugees in Belgrade are in private homes. Economic aid for those housing refugees in their own homes is needed.

57. The team of experts has observed that children have been and are continuing to be exposed to war trauma directly, as well as through the media and through listening to parents’ and other adults’ graphic discussions of traumatic events, including rape, in their presence.

58. Women’s experience of rape can be intensified by cultural and religious views which often blame the victim. Modifying societal beliefs through community education may be helpful in ensuring that victims of rape can participate fully in family and community life.

B. Conclusions

59. Rape of women including minors has occurred on a large scale. While the team of experts has found victims among all ethnic groups involved in the conflict, the majority of the rapes that they have documented had been committed by Serb forces against Muslim women from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

60. The team of experts is not aware of any attempts by those in positions of power, either military or political, to stop the rapes.

61. There is clear evidence that Croat, Muslim and Serb women have been detained for extended periods of time and repeatedly raped.

62. In Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Croatia, rape has been used as an instrument of ethnic cleansing.

63. In these circumstances, rape is a war crime according to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols of 1977 and should be treated as such by the international community.

64. While the media have been helpful in bringing the issue of rape to international attention, some women have been revictimized through repeated interviewing without consideration of the psychological consequences or social support being available to them.

65. More than half a dozen missions to investigate human rights violations against women have visited the former Yugoslavia within the past two months. Lack of coordination has led to duplication of effort and has contributed to “mission fatigue” among victims, care-givers and personnel involved in delivery of services and assistance to refugees.

66. Wide-ranging estimates of numbers of rape victims have recently been publicized. The team of experts was not able to discern a reliable method for the calculation of these figures. While the data collected by this mission support the finding that rape has occurred on a large scale, the team feels that it is not in a position to make an estimate of the total number of rape victims in this conflict.


C. Recommendations


67. Refugee and displaced women, regardless of whether they report having been raped, should be offered basic primary health care including gynaecological and STD screening. Psychological and social rehabilitation must occur at the community level with the input of those who have been traumatized. It should focus on outcomes and not exposures, i.e. on the current problems at hand rather than on the traumatic events that have occurred, including rape. The team of experts would like to recommend non-stigmatizing programmes that focus on healing social damage rather than on rapes. Supporting women’s self-help groups within existing community structures may be helpful in this regard. The specific needs of children must also be taken into consideration.

68. For the smaller number of individuals who have serious psychological sequelae, psychiatric services should be available.

69. Training on the effects of chronic violence and trauma should be available to health workers and other relevant service providers.

70. The team of experts wishes to emphasize the importance of international human rights monitoring in the field to collect and analyse first-hand information without delays and to coordinate collection and documentation of data concerning human rights violations in the former Yugoslavia. They should also strengthen and assist local human rights groups to systematize and coordinate data collection of all human rights abuses including rape. It should be noted that the presence of female human rights monitors would be essential to obtain first-hand evidence with regard to rape. These monitors should receive special training on interviewing women who have been victims of rape. Their work should be coordinated with those providing assistance to women and children.

71. All places where detainees are subjected to human rights violations should be closed and the release of those detained carefully monitored so as to ensure their safety.

72. Those responsible for human rights abuses should be held accountable. In the present situation there is no recourse to justice for victims of human rights violations inside the country. An international tribunal should be established to bring to justice the perpetrators of all war crimes and crimes against humanity, including rape. Those who committed rape, those who ordered it, or those in positions of authority who failed to prevent it should be brought to justice.

73. Victims of rape should be accorded refugee status if the terms of article 1 of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees are satisfied, namely that a person, “... owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country ...”.

74. All other pertinent international human rights instruments should also be taken into account, in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the international standards relating to the treatment of detainees, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women as well as the draft declaration on violence against women.

75. Rape in this conflict is occurring in the context of complete disregard for the rights of the individual human being. It is only one of a number of unspeakable abuses, cruelties, degradations and losses being visited upon the civilian population in the course of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. If peace negotiations fail atrocities will continue. The team of experts strongly appeals to those in power to make every effort to stop these violations by all means available to them.