Serbs have moved beaten and starved prisoners out of the notorious camps before media visits.
The Milwaukee Journal, p.A6
19 August 1992.
From Journal wire services
Washington, D.C. — The campaign mounted by Serbian militias to drive Muslims [Bosniaks] from large areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina has been so brutal that it probably has caused more deaths than the bombing and shelling of Bosnian cities, according to a Senate staff report.
“Ethnic cleansing has been carried out with widespread atrocities,” said the report prepared for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and released Tuesday.
“Random and selective killings are a routine part of the process…. In some villages and towns, there were organized massacres of the Muslim population.”
The term “ethnic cleansing” is one that Serbian leaders have used to explain their reshuffling of the region’s ethnic groups.
The Senate report was prepared by two committee staffers who visited the strife-torn former Yugoslav federation to investigate allegations of Serbian-run death camps in Bosnia.
The dissolution of Yugoslavia has triggered civil war among its former constituent republics, with Serbia allegedly aiding Serbian minorities in neighboring regions to break away and join a successor federation under Belgrade’s leadership.
One 44-year-old mother from the town of Kozarac [near Prijedor] told the investigators of taking food to her parents in a nearby village, only to find a young Serbian neighbor outside their house.
Dressed in a camouflage uniform, he ordered them out, and the couple emerged hand in hand.
“Please don’t. We are not guilty,” the father pleaded, according to her account. The neighbor, the 21-year-old son of a local Serbian militant, slit both parents’ throats.
The woman escaped, but never learned the fate of her brother and son, both of whom lived with the elderly couple.
Others told of being arrested, often by Serbian neighbors, and sent to detention centers where women and children were separated from men. Younger men with military-style haircuts often were executed on the spot. At some places young men were randomly selected at night and taken away, never to be seen again.
The report added that the campaign by “the self-styled Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina has substantially achieved its goals” of forcibly expelling the Muslims who had been the “overwhelming numerical majority” in those parts of Bosnia closest to Serbia. Now, the report said, an exclusively Serbian-inhabited region occupying 70% of Bosnia’s territory has been created in territory contiguous to Serbia.
That was the finding of the two staff members, Peter Galbraith and Michelle Maynard, who visited the region Aug. 7-14. They interviewed residents, refugees and local government officials, as well as United Nations and Red Cross personnel.
Galbraight, a senior aide to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is an expert who investigated defections by officials in the Iraqi army during the Persian Gulf War.
The report charged that despite promises of openness, Bosnian Serbians have tried to keep the news media and international organizations from these camps. It said the Serbians have denied that some camps exist, sought to convince journalists that other camps were unsafe to visit, and have moved beaten and starved prisoners out of the camps before media visits.