UN Condemns Belgrade over War Crimes

Article excerpt

BY ROBERT BLOCK

Serbs across the former Yugoslavia have come under renewed condemnation by Washington and the United Nations for their leading role in the commission of war crimes and human rights abuses in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.

In a 14-page resolution - the longest in its 50-year history - the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva late on Wednesday blamed Serbs for "the systematic policy of ethnic cleansing and genocidal acts" in Serb-held areas of Bosnia and Croatia. These included mass killing, torture, disappearances, rape, arbitrary executions and the use of civilians as human shields and sources of forced labour on front lines.

The resolution did not limit its criticism to Serbs from Bosnia and Croatia but also attacked the Belgrade authorities for their support of policies discriminating against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, against Muslims in the Sandzak region of Serbia and Montenegro, and against ethnic Hungarians in northern Serbia.

The adoption of the resolution coincided with a leak to the New York Times of a US intelligence report which concluded 90 per cent of the acts of "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia were by Serbs, almost certainly supported by leading Serb politicians.

The leaked report was allegedly compiled by the Central Intelligence Agency and based on aerial photographs and "precise technical analysis". It said while war crimes were by no means committed exclusively by the Serbs, "they were the only party involved in a systematic attempt to eliminate all traces of other ethnic groups from their territory". …