United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

4 August 1995


Fiftieth session
Item 114 (c) of the provisional agenda*


Rape and abuse of women in the areas of armed conflict
in the former Yugoslavia

Report of the Secretary-General


  Paragraphs  Page

I.  INTRODUCTION .........................................  1 - 43


  A.  Commission of Experts ............................  5 - 134

  B.  Commission on Human Rights .......................14 - 206
  C.  Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination
    against Women ....................................  21 - 257

  D.  International Tribunal for the Prosecution of
    Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of
    International Humanitarian Law Committed in the
    Territory of the Former Yugoslavia ...............  26 - 319

    E.  United Nations Children's Fund ...................  32 - 3310


     *    A/50/150.

95-23199 (E)   300895
CONTENTS (continued)

  Paragraphs  Page

  F.  Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
    Refugees .........................................  34 - 3810

  G.  United Nations Educational, Scientific and
    Cultural Organization ............................  39 - 4412

  H.  World Health Organization ........................  45 - 4713


  A.  European Community Task Force ....................  48 - 5014

  B.  International Committee of the Red Cross .........  51 - 5414

  C.  International Federation of Red Cross and Red
    Crescent Societies ...............................  55 - 5615

  D.  Other governmental and non-governmental activities  57 - 6116

IV.  CONCLUDING REMARKS ...................................62 -6817


1.   At its  forty-ninth session,  the General  Assembly adopted  resolution
49/205 dated  23 December  1994 entitled  "Rape and  abuse of  women in  the
areas of armed  conflict in  the former  Yugoslavia", in  which it  strongly
condemned the  continuing abhorrent practice of rape and abuse  of women and
children in the  former Yugoslavia.  It  demanded that those involved  cease
those outrageous acts  and urged all  Member States  to take  action to  end
those practices.

2.   In  that  resolution  the  Assembly  placed  great  importance  on  the
continuing  investigation  and  prosecution  of those  criminal  acts.    It
reaffirmed  that all  persons who  perpetrated or  authorized crimes against
humanity  or  other  violations  of  international  humanitarian  law   were
individually responsible  for those violations  and urged  Member States  to
exert every  effort to  bring such  individuals to  justice; encouraged  the
Special Rapporteur of  the Commission on  Human Rights on  the situation  of
human rights in the  territory of the  former Yugoslavia to continue to  pay
attention   to  the   widespread   occurrence  of   rape;   encouraged   the
International  Tribunal  for the  Prosecution  of  Persons  Responsible  for
Serious  Violations  of International  Humanitarian  Law  Committed  in  the
Territory of the  Former Yugoslavia since 1991 to  give due priority to  the
cases  of  the  victims   of  rape;  urged  the  Chief  Prosecutor  of   the
International Tribunal to consider the appointment  to his office of experts
in crimes of sexual  violence; and called upon States to put such experts at
the  disposal of  the Tribunal,  and to  cooperate in  the investigation and
prosecution of persons accused  of using rape as a  weapon of war and in the
provision of support to victims.

3.   The Assembly  recognized the  extraordinary suffering  of such victims,
and expressed its concern, in particular, for the welfare of those who  were
among the internally displaced or otherwise affected by  the war.  It  urged
all   States   and   relevant    intergovernmental   and    non-governmental
organizations to continue to  provide to the victims of such rape and  abuse
appropriate assistance for their physical and mental rehabilitation.

4.   In conclusion, the Assembly  requested the  Secretary-General to submit
an updated and substantive  report on the  issue of rape and abuse  of women
in  the areas  of  armed  conflict in  Bosnia  and Herzegovina,  and on  the
measures taken
towards implementation of the resolution.   The present report is  submitted

in  accordance with  that  request.   Extensive  efforts have  been  made to
liaise with a variety  of actors in the international community in order  to
ensure the  incorporation in the report  of as  much substantive information
as  possible.   Delays in  the receipt  of such  information from  important
sources,   particularly  from  organizations  operating   at  ground  level,
precluded the  issuing of the present report by the date of 1 March 1995 set
by the Assembly in resolution 49/205.


A.  Commission of Experts

5.   The Commission of Experts was established pursuant to Security  Council
resolution 780  (1992),  to examine  and  analyse  information in  order  to
provide the Secretary-General with its conclusions  on the evidence of grave
breaches  of the Geneva  Conventions and  other violations  of international
humanitarian  law committed in the  territory of the  former Yugoslavia.  It
carried out its work  between November 1992  and April 1994 and during  this
period  held  12  sessions,  conducted  a  series  of  studies  and  on-site
investigations,  established  a  database  of  all  reported  breaches,  and
submitted two  interim reports.   The  final report was  transmitted to  the
Security Council in December  1994.  In it the Commission surveyed its  work
since its  inception, its mandate, structure  and working methods.   It also
gave its  views on selected  legal issues and  made substantive  findings on
alleged crimes of "ethnic cleansing", genocide, rape and sexual assault.

6.   The issue of rape and abuse in the former Yugoslavia was a major  plank
of the Commission's  work and  this is reflected in  the final report.   The
Commission considered the law applicable to such crimes and concluded that:

  "There is  no doubt about the  prohibition of rape  and sexual assault  in
the  Geneva  Conventions  and  other  applicable  sources  of  international
humanitarian  law.   Furthermore,  the  Commission finds  that the  relevant
provisions of  the  statute of  the  International  Tribunal adequately  and
correctly state the applicable law to this crime." 1/

7.    The Commission made  substantive findings on  the subject  of rape and
other  forms  of sexual  assault  after  undertaking extensive  research and
investigation  to ascertain  the facts  concerning these  allegations.   The
Commission particularly sought  to examine the relationship between  "ethnic
cleansing" and rape  and other forms of sexual  assault.  It noted the great
difficulty of making  any general assessment of  the actual numbers of  rape
victims, given  the social stigma attached to that experience, and the added
reluctance of reporting such  crimes in wartime for  fear of reprisals.   It
also drew attention to the hidden plight of male victims of sexual assault.

8.    The three  methods of  investigation used  by the Commission  were the
analysis of information contained in the  Commission database; a pilot study
on  rape; and a  field investigation  involving the  interviewing of victims
and  witnesses.    The  analysis  of  reports  contained  in  the Commission
database provided identification of close to 800  victims by name or  number
and 600  alleged perpetrators  by name.  The  database contained  additional
information on further unidentified victims and  perpetrators.  The ages  of
the  victims ranged from  5 to 81 years, and about  80 per cent of the cases
were reported to have  occurred in custodial settings. The cases reported in
the database occurred  between autumn 1991  and the  end of  1993, with  the
majority occurring between April and November 1992.

9.     The Commission  conducted a  pilot study  on rape  which involved  an
investigative mission  to  Sarajevo  from  29 June  to  9  July 1993.    The
objective of this mission was  to review available information and develop a
methodology for  interviewing witnesses  and victims in  order to  determine
how relevant  evidence could  be obtained  for use  before a tribunal.   The
team obtained relevant information from the  War Crimes Commission of Bosnia
and Herzegovina.   The Commission  of Experts took  the view  that the pilot

study  was relatively generalized.  Although it assessed various information
sources, it had not been able to gather precise information that could  lead
to prima facie cases.

10.   The  Commission undertook  a major field  investigation in  the region
involving teams of female lawyers and  mental health specialists who carried
out  a  series  of  interviews  in  Croatia  and  Slovenia  in  March  1994.
Altogether, 223 interviews  were conducted, with  146 victims  and witnesses
from Bosnia and Herzegovina and 77 from  Croatia.  All information was to be
made  available to  the Prosecutor  of  the  International Tribunal  for the
Prosecution of Persons  Responsible for Serious Violations of  International
Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia.

11.  The Commission was able  to make a preliminary analysis on the basis of
the information gathered.  It identified five patterns in the commission  of
these  crimes:  sexual  assaults committed  in conjunction  with looting and
intimidation  of the target  ethnic group  before widespread  fighting broke
out; sexual  assaults committed  in conjunction  with fighting  in an  area;
sexual assaults on people in detention; sexual  assaults for the purpose  of
instilling  terror, often as part  of the policy of  "ethnic cleansing"; and
the  detention  of  women  purely  for   the  purpose  of  providing  sexual
entertainment for soldiers.

12.   The Commission noted various  common features of  the sexual assaults.
The  rapes  appeared  to  occur  in  conjunction  with  efforts  to displace
targeted ethnic groups from  the region.  It was reported that  perpetrators
would hold their victims in custody  until it was too late  for an abortion,
thus forcing  the victims to bear  children of  the perpetrator's ethnicity.
Large  groups  of  perpetrators  subjected victims  to  multiple  rape; some
victims were abused with foreign objects and  the castration of male victims
was reported.   Rape was reported to have  been committed by all sides,  but
the largest number of reported victims were Bosnian Muslims and the  largest
number of alleged perpetrators were Bosnian Serbs.

13.    In  its  final  report,   the  Commission  of  Experts  presents  its
conclusions  and  recommendations.    On  the  subject  of  rape  and sexual
assaults it concluded the following:

  "The practices  of 'ethnic  cleansing' ...,  sexual assault  and rape  ...
have  been carried out  by some  of the parties so  systematically that they
strongly  appear to be the product  of a policy.  The  consistent failure to
prevent  the  commission  of  such  crimes  and  the  consistent  failure to
prosecute and  punish the  perpetrators of  these crimes,  clearly evidences
the existence of a  policy by omission.  The consequence of this  conclusion
is that command responsibility can be established". 2/

 B.  Commission on Human Rights

1.   Resolutions

14.   The  Commission on  Human Rights  expressed  its profound  concern for
raped and abused women in the former Yugoslavia during its sessions in  1994
and 1995.  At its fiftieth session in 1994, the Commission  referred to this
matter in  its resolutions 1994/72 and 1994/75 on violations of human rights
in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, and in resolution 1994/77 on  the
rape and abuse of women in former Yugoslavia.   At its fifty-first  session,
in 1995, the Commission again expressed  its concern in resolution  1995/89,
by renewing its expression of outrage at the systematic practice of rape  as
a weapon  of war against women and  children and as an instrument of "ethnic
cleansing", and  by  again  recognizing  that rape  in  these  circumstances
constituted a war crime.

2.Special Rapporteur  of the Commission on Human Rights on  the situation of
human rights in the territory of the former Yugoslavia

15.   The  issue of  the rape  and abuse of  women in  the territory  of the
former Yugoslavia remains of serious concern  to the Special Rapporteur, and
information gathering by his  field staff in the  region continues.   In the
course of 1994 and early 1995, sporadic reports  of rape as an instrument of
war continued  to be received by  the Special Rapporteur,  but the scale  of
such incidents has diminished since the peak of  such reporting in 1992  and

16.   In March 1994,  the Special Rapporteur  reported incidents  of rape by
groups of soldiers in  the course of the  Bosnian Serb offensive on Gorazde.
3/  Throughout March  1994,  international sources  reported rape  and other
forms of sexual abuse  on an almost daily  basis in the city  of Banja  Luka
and  outlying towns  such as Vrbanje.   Typical of such reports  is one from
June 1994  describing  how adult  female members  of  a  Muslim family  were
sexually abused by  a number of their  Bosnian Serb neighbours, forcing  the
family to  flee. 4/  In  the course of the  displacement of some 4,700  non-
Serbs from  Bijeljina and Janja  regions to Government-controlled  territory
between mid-June  and 17  September 1994,  many reports  were received  that
Bosnian Serbs supervising  the displacement were committing physical  abuse,
including rape.  5/  The  conclusion reached  by the  Special Rapporteur  on
that  displacement  was  that  Muslims,  Bosnian  Croats  and  Roma  had all
suffered killings, violence, including rape, theft  of property and loss  of
jobs. 6/

17.  In his  reports during 1995,  the Special Rapporteur of the  Commission
on Human  Rights referred  to allegations of  rape and sexual  assault.   In
considering violations on the territory of  Bosnia and Herzegovina by forces
of  the  so-called  "Republic  of  Serb   Krajina"  and  of  the   so-called
"Autonomous Province of  Western Bosnia",  he reported allegations, not  yet
verified,  of the  possible existence  of  detention facilities  near Velika
Kladusa, including  one  that housed  Muslim  women  who were  subjected  to
regular  sexual  abuse. 7/    The  report of  the  SecretaryGeneral  on  the
situation of human rights in Bosnia  and Herzegovina gave due  consideration
to the  final report of the Commission of Experts and presented a summary of
the findings  on the issue of  rape and  sexual assault. 8/   In the Special
Rapporteur's  report on the persecution of non-Serbs in  the region of Banja
Luka, reference is made to the threat of rape by a group of attackers. 9/
  3.   Special Rapporteur on violence against women

18.   At its  fiftieth session  on  4 March  1994, the  Commission on  Human
Rights  adopted resolution 1994/45,  in which it  decided to  appoint, for a
three-year  period,  a  special rapporteur  on  violence  against women  and
invited  the  Special  Rapporteur   to  seek  and  receive  information,  to
recommend measures  and to work closely with other special rapporteurs.  The
mandate included the following:  all violations of human  rights of women in
situations  of armed  conflict, and  in particular murder,  systematic rape,
sexual  slavery  and  forced  pregnancy;  all  forms of  sexual  harassment,
exploitation  and trafficking in  women; the  elimination of  gender bias in
the  administration of justice;  and the  eradication of  harmful effects of
certain   traditional  or   customary  practices,   cultural  prejudice  and
religious extremism.

19.   The Secretary-General sent a  note verbale to  Governments on 29  July
1994 conveying the  Special Rapporteur's request for information.   Slovenia
and the  Federal Republic of Yugoslavia  (Serbia and  Montenegro) were among
those States  which replied  to the  request and  it is  hoped that  replies
received from  Governments will form an  important basis of  the main report
of  the  Special  Rapporteur.    The   preliminary  report  of  the  Special
Rapporteur, 10/ was based  on information from other sources; it was  issued
on 22 November 1994 and focused on the  causes and consequences of  violence
against women  and  the question  of  international  legal standards.    The
report considered  violence in  the  family,  in the  community and  by  the
State.  In the latter context, the  report addressed violence against  women
in situations  of armed conflict, taking the former Yugoslavia  and the work
of the Commission of  Experts and the International Tribunal for the  former
Yugoslavia as an example in this regard.

4.   Other organs of the Commission on Human Rights

20.   The Working Group on Contemporary Forms  of Slavery remains interested
in issues of sexual exploitation and  enforced prostitution in the territory
of  the former Yugoslavia.  General information was submitted by the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia  (Serbia and Montenegro) to  the Working Group at its
twentieth session in April  1995. 11/  A late submission from the Government
of  Bosnia  and Herzegovina  will  be  submitted  for  consideration at  the
twenty-first session of the Working Group, in 1996.   The Special Rapporteur
on  the Sale  of Children,  Child  Prostitution  and Child  Pornography also
welcomes  any information  on the  sexual  exploitation  of children  in the
territory of the former Yugoslavia.

C.  Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

21.  At its  twelfth session, held  at Vienna from 18 January to  5 February
1993,  the Committee  on the  Elimination  of Discrimination  against  Women
(CEDAW) requested the  States of the territory  of the former  Yugoslavia to
submit a  report on an exceptional  basis with respect  to the situation  of
women now  coming under their  jurisdiction.  Both  the Federal Republic  of
Yugoslavia (Serbia  and Montenegro) and  Croatia responded  to this  request
and, as  indicated below, their replies  are particularly  instructive as to
what steps  are being taken  to rehabilitate women  who have  been raped and
abused in the context of the war in that region.
  22.   The Government  of the Federal  Republic of  Yugoslavia (Serbia  and
Montenegro) submitted a report to the  Committee at its thirteenth  session,
from  17  January  to  4  February  1994.  12/   The  report  described  the
Government's approach both  to the  collection of data concerning  incidents
of rape and to the physical and mental  rehabilitation of the victims.   The
State  Commission for  War  Crimes and  Crimes of  Genocide  and  the Inter-
departmental   Group   of  the   Government,   helped  by   non-governmental
organizations (NGOs),  has been  responsible for  collecting information  on
the victims of these crimes.

23.  The Commission for Monitoring the Sexual  Abuse of Women, Children  and
Men in Conditions of  War was set up within  the Federal Ministry of Labour,
Health and Social Policy in order to help to rehabilitate victims of  sexual
abuse from war-torn areas who had found harbour  as refugees in the  Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro).   The Commission is composed
of  experts,  gynaecologists,  psychiatrists  and  psychologists  and  works
closely with some  NGOs.  It has collected evidence on sexual abuse by means
of questionnaires and  the information gathered was  to be presented to  the
Security Council's Commission  of Experts.   The Commission  cooperates with
the S.O.S telephone service,  which exists for women  victims of violence in
general.  In  December 1992 a group for  women raped during  the war was set
up within  this call service  with the help of NGOs  from Switzerland.  This
group  has  also  set up  a  centre  for  raped women  that  assists  in the
rehabilitation of  victims and collects evidence  on women  raped during the
war and in other situations.  

24.   The Government  of Croatia submitted a report  to the Committee at its
fourteenth session held from 16 January  to 3 February 1995. 13/  The report
reiterates general  safeguards protecting the rights  of women as  contained
in the  Constitution.  A  major part of the report then  focuses on the mass
rape  of  women  during   the  conflict  in  the  territory  of  the  former
Yugoslavia.   Various  statistics are  given  and  a commentary  is provided
regarding the types of victims, the nature of  the attacks, the consequences
suffered and the difficulties of obtaining systematic reports. 

25.  The report  states that the  following actions  have been taken by  the
Government in order to address the problem:  the adoption of a programme  of
protection  and  help  for  all  victims  of  torture  and  other  forms  of
maltreatment;  basic action to  provide long-term support and protection for
victims of  rape; and basic principles  for the protection  of and help  for
those women whose  pregnancy is a  result of  rape, with adoption as  one of

those forms of help.  The report states that the  support of victims of rape
is one of the greatest humanitarian problems facing Croatia and the goal  of
the Government  is to  provide medical  and psycho-social  support to  these
victims.   Annexed to the report  are detailed  testimonies and descriptions
of characteristic cases.

            D.  International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons
                Responsible for Serious Violations of International
                Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the
                Former Yugoslavia

26.   The  International Criminal  Tribunal  for  the former  Yugoslavia was
established by  the Security  Council in  its resolution  808 (1993)  and is
governed  by the  Tribunal's statute  set forth  in the  Secretary-General's
report of  May 1993.   It  is mandated  to prosecute  serious violations  of
humanitarian law  occurring in  the  former Yugoslavia  since January  1991.
Sexual  assaults, including rape,  constitute acts  that form  the basis for
criminal prosecution under articles 2 to 5 of the Tribunal's statute.

27.   The Office of the  Prosecutor is  currently undertaking investigations
into  serious  violations  of  humanitarian  law  committed  in  the  former
Yugoslavia,  specifically  sexual  assaults.    Investigations cover  sexual
assaults perpetrated against women, men or minors during military  takeovers
in detention centres, camps and brothels.

28.   As at  May 1995, the  Tribunal has issued  three indictments  alleging
serious  violations  of   international  humanitarian  law.    Two  of   the
indictments  charge sexual  assaults.  Direct perpetrators  and those liable
through  the doctrine of  command responsibility,  have been  named in these

29.   On  the request  of  the Office  of the  Prosecutor, the  Tribunal has
granted  three  applications for  deferral  of  investigations  or  criminal
proceedings instituted in national  courts, in accordance with rule 9 of the
Tribunal's  rules   of  procedure  and  evidence.     The   first  of  these
applications  was for  deferral  of  criminal proceedings  from  the  German
national  court:  the  other two  deferrals were  granted for investigations
undertaken by the Government of Bosnia  and Herzegovina that coincided  with
investigations  of the  Office  of  the  Prosecutor. Allegations  of  sexual
assaults  are among those crimes  which will be  tried or investigated based
upon the deferrals.

30.  The General  Assembly, in resolution 49/205,  in which it requested the
present report,  stressed the need to  protect victims and witnesses in such
cases.  The Office of  the Prosecutor, in accordance with  article 22 of the
Tribunal's statute, is concerned with protecting  the identity of victims of
sexual assault  for reasons  of safety and  privacy.  A  pretrial motion  to
prevent public disclosure of information  that would identify  witnesses had
been filed  by the Office of  the Prosecutor for the  first trial, which  is
currently in session. The Victims and Witnesses Unit is a department of  the
Office of the Registrar  and is mandated to  provide support to  victims and
witnesses.   The  Office  of  the Prosecutor  has conveyed  to the  Unit the
importance which  is to be placed  on ensuring  protection, safety, privacy,
and the counselling  needs of prosecution witnesses, particularly those  who
have been subjected to sexual assaults.

31.   General Assembly resolution 49/205  called upon States  to put experts
in the  prosecution of  crimes of  sexual violence  at the  disposal of  the
Tribunal.    It  should  be noted  that  the  staff  of  the  Office  of the
Prosecutor  comprises  lawyers and  investigators  with  experience  in  the
prosecution and  investigation  of sexual  assault.    A legal  adviser  for
gender-related crimes reports directly to the  Deputy Prosecutor and to  the
Prosecutor.   The recruitment  guidelines of  the Office  of the  Prosecutor
call  for the  employment of  qualified women  candidates at  each  level of
operation and  for the creation of  a gender-balanced  staff. States Members
of the  United Nations  have been  requested to  submit the  names of  women

candidates for secondment to the Office of the Prosecutor.

E.  United Nations Children's Fund

32.  In 1994, in  the territory of the former Yugoslavia, the United Nations
Children's   Fund  (UNICEF)   designed   a  rehabilitation   and   long-term
development  strategy for children,  in addition  to providing  an emergency
response to the crisis.   The goal  of UNICEF  is to decrease the  immediate
effects  of  war  on  children  and   women,  and  to  prevent   longer-term
consequences  on  their  development.    Its  programmes  focus  on  health,
nutrition, basic education, active learning, water supply and  psycho-social
work with children traumatized by war.

33.    UNICEF  psycho-social programmes  are being  implemented  in Croatia,
Bosnia  and Herzegovina,  the  Federal  Republic of  Yugoslavia (Serbia  and
Montenegro) and the  former Yugoslav Republic  of Macedonia.   Psycho-social
assistance in  Bosnia and Herzegovina is  particularly directed towards  the
victims  of rape and  sexual abuse.   UNICEF recognizes that  many girls and
women  have  been sexually  abused  and  its  goal is  to  work  with  local
professionals and institutions to  help to reduce the symptoms of trauma  in
these groups.  This  is one of  the priority  areas in which the  Government
and local authorities have  asked for UNICEF assistance.  UNICEF has focused
on  developing  specialized  training  programmes  and manuals,  such  as  a
training  programme  for  professionals  from  central  Bosnia,  Mostar  and
Sarajevo.  A pilot  project for traumatized women at Tuzla was started  with
the help of NGOs and a  women's centre was opened in  this context, offering
psychological support.   A major obstacle  to project activity in  this area
is the  difficulty that girls  and women  experience in talking  about their

F.  Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

34.    The Office  of  the  United  Nations High  Commissioner  for Refugees
(UNHCR) has  an extensive social  services network in  the territory  of the
former Yugoslavia that is  geared towards meeting the needs of refugees  and
displaced  persons affected  by the conflict.   It has  adopted a community-
based  approach  whereby  UNHCR  financed   projects  are  managed  by  non-
governmental  organizations.  These projects are directed  towards a general
group  of  beneficiaries  and  mainly  provide  for  care,  counselling  and
occupational training.   Raped and abused  women are users  of UNHCR  social
services projects,  but they are  not targeted specifically  so as to  avoid
unsolicited attention.   UNHCR staff have  generally found that the best way
to reach such victims is by adopting a discreet approach.

35.   The main UNHCR community  projects in Bosnia  and Herzegovina in  1994
were   implemented   by   the   following  non-governmental   organizations.
Corridor,  a local NGO, was  active in Sarajevo.  Marie Stopes International
(United  Kingdom)  implemented  projects  at  Bihac,  Mostar,  Sarajevo  and
western Herzegovina  aimed at supporting 30  women's centres.   The projects
encompassed  social and  educational  activities as  well  as  psychological
counselling to  enhance women's self-esteem and  their ability  to cope with
the situation.   Some group-counselling sessions  were also  arranged, a few
of which  were conceived  for special  categories such  as ex-detainees  and
molested women.   UNHCR  projects at Tuzla  and Zenica were  carried out  by
Norwegian People's  Aid.  OXFAM  was also operative  at Tuzla.   Two further
local NGOs,  Zena 21 and Ruhama,  were being funded by  UNHCR in 1995.   The
UNHCR budget for community services in  Bosnia and Herzegovina has  recently
been reduced  from $2.7  to $2.4  million because  of the  shortfall in  the
response to an inter-agency appeal.

36.  In  the Federal Republic of  Yugoslavia (Serbia and  Montenegro), UNHCR
operates  through six  NGOs; the  main  ones  concerned with  refugee mental
health and/or women's  issues are the Institute  of Mental Health and  Japan
Emergency NGOs.   The UNHCR  social services network in  Croatia consists of

19 NGOs.   Of particular note  in the context of  the present  report is the
"Children's House",  a project for mothers,  and a  psycho-social project at
Prvic operated by Care  Canada.  In both projects  the aim is to assist rape
victims, as well as victims of the war  in general.  At the  largest refugee
camp  in Croatia, Gasinci,  UNHCR has  a counselling  project in cooperation
with the  Croatian  Psychiatric Association.   The  UNHCR community  service
budget for 1995 in  Croatia stands at $4 million.  United Nations Volunteers
(UNVs) have  also played  a role in working  with raped and abused  women on
behalf of UNHCR.

37.   Statistics of UNHCR referrals  to third countries for the resettlement
of raped and abused  women are not readily  accessible.  However,  the UNHCR
office at Zagreb agreed to conduct  a mini-study of their resettlement files
for the sole purpose  of the present report.  The information gathered  does
not  constitute a  scientific sample  and it  is  not  possible to  draw any
generalized  conclusions  from  it.    The   data  were  obtained  from  116
resettlement files of female victims of  sexual violence that were submitted
to third countries  between April 1992 and March  1994.  These cases do  not
in  any way  constitute the  totality  as there  may have  been a  number of
reasons why many other cases  did not come to light,  such as the  departure
of  victims  to  third  countries  on  their  own  initiative,  the  general
reluctance of  victims to  report such  experiences, etc.   A survey  of the
files provided  the following  breakdown of resettlement  countries and  the
number of victims:  United States of America,  47; Denmark, 26; Sweden,  20;
Norway,  8;  United  Kingdom  of  Great  Britain  and  Northern  Ireland, 6;
Switzerland,  3;  Germany,  2;  Austria,  1;   France,  1;  Italy,  1;   and
Netherlands, 1.   It  must be  stressed again  that given  the absence  of a
proper  cluster  survey   it  is  not  possible  to  arrive  at  any  global
conclusions as a result of these data.

38.  Another important  initiative that was undertaken by UNHCR in the field
of  sexual violence  is  the publication  in  1995 of  a  document  entitled
"Sexual violence  against refugees - Guidelines on prevention and response".
These  guidelines are a  response to  the global problem  of sexual violence
against refugees and  have been in  the process  of formulation since  1992.
They  are  designed   to  help  the  international  community  and   workers
understand how sexual violence  can be prevented and what  can be done if it
occurs.   They describe  typical situations where rape  and sexual abuse may
take place and then  proceed with an in-depth  analysis of causes  of sexual
violence, ranging  from the  use of  rape  as a  weapon of  war and  "ethnic
cleansing" to practical camp design and  location factors which may increase
the  likelihood  of  rape.    The  guidelines  suggest  numerous  preventive
measures  that  may  be  taken  such   as  practical  improvements  in  camp
organization,  location  and design;  human  resources  management  measures
including  the hiring of  more female  staff; measures  aimed at encouraging
the  host  Government  to  take  effective   legal  and  other  action;  and
preventive  measures  involving education  and  training.    The  guidelines
conclude with  a detailed  list of  medical, psycho-social  and legal  steps
that  must be  taken when responding  to such situations.   These guidelines
were  issued in  early 1995  and  have  been widely  disseminated throughout
UNHCR  field offices and other  organizations.  Given  the relevance of this
issue to  the  territory of  former  Yugoslavia,  it  will be  important  to
observe how the guidelines are implemented there.

G.  United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

39.   At its twenty-seventh  session, the General  Conference of  the United
Nations Educational, Scientific and  Cultural Organization (UNESCO)  adopted
resolution 11.1,  in which  it invited  the Director-General  to continue  a
study initiated by  the Executive  Board under Decision  141 EX/9.3 on  "The
use of  rape as a tool  of war -  its causes and consequences".   It further
requested that, in  view of  the situation  in Bosnia  and Herzegovina,  the
focus  of  the  study  be  on  a  rehabilitation  plan, to  be  prepared  in
cooperation  with  the  World  Health  Organization  (WHO) and  UNICEF,  for
Bosnian women who have been victims  of systematic rape as well as for their


40.  To this end, consultations took place  with authorities responsible for
refugees, UNICEF and representatives  of NGOs.  In June 1994 a working group
was  convened  at UNESCO  headquarters, which  was  attended by  a range  of
experts including  lawyers, psychotherapists, historians and anthropologists
from the former Yugoslavia and  France, as well as  observers from permanent
delegations and NGOs.

41.   The discussions in  the working group  substantially contributed to  a
preliminary report  on the subject  of rape as  a tool  of war.   This wide-
ranging  report began  by considering  pertinent  legal provisions,  it then
focused on the  historical and cultural  roots of  the conflict and  finally
considered   in-depth,  the   psychological  impact   on  the   victim   and
consequences on the family and community.

42.  The main aim of the report  is to identify what action may  be taken by
the  international  community, and  in  particular  by  UNESCO,  to help  to
alleviate  this  problem,  and  several recommendations  are  made  in  this
respect.   The report  notes that  the usual  reaction of  the community  at
large  is to  recoil  from such  incidents  and advocates  that  public  and
official  recognition  be  given  of  the suffering  of  the  victims.    It
recommends  the  creation  of  a  memorial  or  documentation  centre  as  a
testimonial to this suffering.  The  report also upholds the  paramount duty
of the  international community  to ensure  that legal  action  is taken  to
prosecute these crimes.

43.    In terms  of  the mandate  of  UNESCO, the  study  recommends  that a
programme of  action for  peace be undertaken  in the region  with the  main
objective of  restoring community links and  carrying out  pedagogic work on
subjects such as  citizenship, history and  the place of  women in  society,
with  a focus  on crimes  of sexual  violence.   The study  recommends  that
assistance programmes  for such victims  be carefully orchestrated that does
not stigmatize such women;  it also cites cooperation between UNESCO and the
Croatian Ministry for Health concerning the  production of sensitive written
materials.  The report then highlights the need  for training programmes for
professionals in this field  and suggests a role for UNESCO in  facilitating
the  exchange  of  information  and  experience.    It  also  advocates that
educational  programmes  for  children  be   mindful  of  these  issues  and
recommends priority action in the  form of a training  programme for teenage

44.   UNESCO submitted  the report  to the  Committee on the  Elimination of
Discrimination against  Women at  its fourteenth  session  held in  February
1995. 14/   It also intends  to transmit  this report  to the  International
Tribunal and will present it to  the United Nations Fourth  World Conference
for Women in Beijing in September 1995.

H.  World Health Organization

45.  WHO addressed  issues of  rape and sexual abuse  in the context of  its
programme for psycho-social rehabilitation and mental  health in the  former
Yugoslavia.   These activities  were organized under  the Rehabilitation  of
War Victims Project, Mental  Health Unit based at  the WHO office at Zagreb.
The  strategy  of  the  Mental Health  Unit  was  to  work  through  and  in
cooperation  with government  health authorities  and existing  health  care
facilities.  Projects are organized after  local facilities have been  taken
into account.   WHO estimates that in terms of the  most severe cases alone,
more than  1 million people in the territory of the former Yugoslavia are in
need of professional help, and noted  that individuals who have  experienced
primary trauma such as rape were amongst the most vulnerable groups.

46.   One  of  the  main priorities  of  the Rehabilitation  of War  Victims
Project  which directly  affects victims  of rape  and sexual  abuse is  the
provision of support  to sexually violated  men.   In late  1994, WHO  began

funding and supervising a project which offers psycho-social  rehabilitation
to men traumatized through sexual violation,  most of them during periods of
confinement as  detainees.  A telephone  hotline was  established in Croatia
in November 1994,  and through the systematic  collection of data and  group
treatment  a model  for support  to the  group was  developed.   If  further
funding can be  raised, similar programmes could  appropriately be set up in
other regions.

47.  Among other WHO activities related to  problems of sexual violence  was
the  training of  local professionals  to  take care  of victims  of  sexual
violence as part of the WHO Regional Model  for Health.  A regional model is
a coordinated set  of activities in  the mental  health field  in a  certain
geographic  area, each  programme  consists of  training  in  post traumatic
therapy and in assisting  victims of sexual violence.  WHO has also  offered
supervision to professionals working within the  NGO community and a special
advisory  facility has been offered  to the International Tribunal.  WHO has
also been active  in promoting media coverage  regarding these issues and in
producing scientific publications.


A.  European Community Task Force

48.  The European  Community Task Force was  established in October  1992 as
the implementing  arm of the European  Community Humanitarian  Office in its
projects  in the  former Yugoslavia.   The  tasks of the  Task Force  are to
coordinate  food,   medical   and  hygiene   aid;  arrangements   concerning
infrastructure and logistics; and activities in the psycho-social field.

49.    The psycho-social  assistance activities  of  the  Task Force  are of
particular  relevance to raped and  abused women, who are  recognized by the
Task Force as one of  the most vulnerable categories.   As of December 1994,
the  European Community  Humanitarian  Office is  funding  22  international
psycho-social NGOs.   In  Bosnia and  Herzegovina there  are programmes  for
traumatized  children  and  women  in  the  regions  of  Bihac  and  western
Herzegovina and  in the towns  of Sarajevo, Mostar  and Tuzla.   In Croatia,
projects  for  victims of  war  are  being implemented  in  the  regions  of
Slavonia and Zagreb and on the southern Dalmatian coast.

50.   Activities under these projects  include the  establishment of women's
centres,  the organization  of  self-help support  groups,  counselling  and
psychotherapy for individuals,  and a refugee  telephone line.   As part  of
its  coordination activities,  the Task  Force  has  prepared a  database of
psycho-social projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina,  Croatia and Slovenia.  It
has  recently  produced  a publication  entitled  "Theory  and  Practice  of
Psycho-social  Projects  under  War  Conditions  in  Bosnia-Herzegovina  and
Croatia".    This  book  contains  details  of  185  psycho-social  projects
implemented  by  117  organizations.    The  Task  Force  also  organized  a
conference on  the "Psycho-social care of  traumatized women  and children -
Need for new methods and aims?"  The conference was  held at Zagreb in April
1994 and  brought together 80  participants from 40 different organizations.
The objective  of the conference was  to summarize  and exchange experiences
of practitioners in this field.

B.  International Committee of the Red Cross

51.   The International  Committee of  the Red  Cross (ICRC)  activities are
aimed at providing protection and assistance  to people caught in situations
of  armed  conflict.   The  work of  ICRC is  confined  to the  provision of
emergency aid to  ensure that victims survive  the immediate effects of war;
it  does not extend  to rehabilitation,  reconstruction or  development once
the  conflict is over.   In  the context of the  former Yugoslavia, ICRC has
set  up  programmes providing  hospitals with  surgical  supplies and  basic
medicines for  chronic illnesses  but it  is not  involved in  psychological
treatment programmes, whether for rape victims or otherwise.

52.  In addition  to providing protection and assistance to victims of armed
conflicts, ICRC  has a  mandate to  remind  the parties  concerned of  their
obligation to comply with the rules of international  humanitarian law.  The
act  of rape  constitutes an  extremely serious  violation  of international
humanitarian law, and  breaches several articles of the Geneva  Conventions.
However, ICRC has pointed  out that it can  in no circumstances  be regarded
as  a commission  of  inquiry  as it  wishes to  safeguard direct  access to
victims in order to continue its work in their favour.

53.  Since the beginning of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, ICRC  has
repeatedly called on  all parties to  comply with international humanitarian
law, particularly those provisions pertaining  to the treatment of prisoners
and  civilians.  The main priority  of ICRC is to ensure greater respect for
human  rights for  the  entire population  and  to  guarantee  the right  to
humanitarian  assistance.    With  regard  to  the  conflict  in  Bosnia and
Herzegovina, an agreement was  reached at Geneva  on 22 May 1992 under  ICRC
auspices, whereby  the parties undertook to  comply with  some provisions of
the Fourth  Geneva  Convention.   In  particular,  the parties  undertook  a
commitment to comply with common article 3  of the four Geneva  Conventions,
which prohibits,  among other  things, violence  to life  and person,  cruel
treatment and torture and outrages upon  personal dignity. This provision is
understood to cover acts of rape and sexual abuse.

54.   In terms  of the  incidence of  rape in  Bosnia and Herzegovina,  ICRC
staff  have expressed  their  great distress  at  accounts  of  rape in  the
international  media although  very few  such  cases  were reported  to ICRC
staff  directly.  This may reflect the general underreporting of such crimes
owing to the stigma attached to them and possibly also to  fear of reprisals
whilst the victims remain in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

                C.  International Federation of Red Cross and Red
                    Crescent Societies

55.  At the present time the  International Federation of Red Cross  and Red
Crescent Societies  reaches some 835,000 beneficiaries  in the territory  of
the  former Yugoslavia through  its relief and social assistance activities.
These activities  encompass a comprehensive  social welfare programme  which
is  carried out  by local  Red Cross  societies  in  the republics  with the
support  of   the  International  Federation.     This  programme   provides
psychological  and  social  assistance  to  victims  of  war  and   includes
counselling support to victims or witnesses  of rape, torture, violence  and
the general  traumatic effects of  war. Provision of  support for raped  and
abused women  falls  within the  general  framework  of the  social  welfare
programme  and, although  statistics are  not  available, they  are  clearly
beneficiaries of the International Federation's activities.

56.  By March  1995 the social  welfare programme  was operative in all  the
republics  except Bosnia and Herzegovina.   By far the largest programme was
in Croatia where  some 53,000  beneficiaries were catered  for by 130  local
staff and  3 delegates.   The appeal for  the 1995  social welfare programme
was for over 4.5 million Swiss francs.   The International Federation  plans
to end  the social welfare  programme in  Croatia in  November 1995,  whilst
continuing the programmes in the other republics.

 D.  Other governmental and non-governmental activities

57.   This  section contains  a  brief review  of the  extensive  activities
undertaken by NGOs, both local and  international, usually with the  support
of government funding.   Mention has already been  made of many NGOS working
under  the auspices  of  UNHCR  and  with UNHCR  funding  (see paras.  34-38

58.   Amica, an  NGO, is active  in Bosnia  on women's issues  at Tuzla  and
Zenica. Medika, a  German NGO, is  engaged in  tracing victims  of rape  and

providing  housing  and specialized  care, particularly  to  those who  have
borne  children  and  suffered  rejection  by  their  families.    Norwegian
People's Aid,  noted in paragraph  35 with respect  to projects  carried out
under  the  direction of  UNHCR,  supports  at  least  eight local  projects
concerned with raped and abused women, such as the Women's Centre at  Zagreb
and  the Medical  Centre for  Human  Rights,  which provides  mobile psycho-
social health teams to  work in Croatia and  Bosnia and Herzegovina aimed at
assisting  victims of  sexual violence.   Other  NGOs  continue the  work of
documenting and  investigating cases such as the Centre for  Human Rights (a
member of the International Society for Human Rights) at Medugorje.

59.   The  following information  concerns  projects specifically  funded by
Governments  and  is  by  no  means  exhaustive.    Because  of severe  time
constraints  it was  not possible  to  contact  all States  concerning their
support of programmes  to assist raped and  abused women and the  references
made here are merely an indicator of the type of work being undertaken.

60.   The  contribution of  the Government  of  Denmark  to projects  in the
region includes  the financial  support of  social programmes  at Tuzla  and
Zenica that are  implemented by the  Danish Refugee Council  and the  Danish
branch of Save the  Children Fund.  These projects include activity  centres
for female  refugees where they may  learn skills  and receive psycho-social
support.    Denmark  has  provided  the  necessary  finance  for  two Danish
psychologists to  be attached to the  European Community  Task Force psycho-
social  project  concerning women  and  victims  of  torture,  and has  also
financed psycho-social projects at Jablanica.

61.  The Government of Sweden  has funded projects in this  area such as one
organized by a  non-governmental organization known  as "Kvinna Till Kvinna"
(Women to  Women) which  operated at  Mostar and  Zagreb.   This caters  for
women  suffering from traumatic war experiences in  general, including raped
and  abused women.    The Government  of  the United  Kingdom  has  provided
considerable  financial support  to Marie  Stopes International  (see  para.
35).   The Government of the Netherlands has also helped finance the work of
this organization, as well as other  initiatives such as the  Medical Centre
for Human Rights at  Zagreb.  The Government  of Germany supported  a series
of projects,  mainly at Tuzla, Zenica  and Mostar,  that provided assistance
to raped and abused women, amongst other activities.


62.    Reports  of  rape  and  sexual  violence  constituting  violations of
international  humanitarian  law continue  to  be  received,  although to  a
lesser extent  than earlier  in the  conflict.   However, the  international
community  needs  to  remain  ever  vigilant   to  ensure  that  the  sexual
atrocities against  women, children  and men  do not  reoccur  on the  scale
reported in 1992 and 1993.

63.   It  is  difficult to  assess the  actual  numbers of  individuals  who
suffered  rape or sexual abuse;  victims are often  reluctant to report such
experiences  owing  to social  stigma  and  fear  of  reprisals.   Available
information  indicates that  rape has  been committed  by all  sides  to the
conflict.    However, the  largest  number  of  reported  victims have  been
Bosnian Muslims,  and the largest number  of alleged  perpetrators have been
Bosnian Serbs.   There  are few  reports of  rape and  sexual assault  among
members of the same ethnic group.

64.   The many initiatives being  undertaken by  the international community
to  address this problem indicate the degree of seriousness and concern with
which these abuses are viewed.

65.  The  international community has responded  to the need  to investigate
these  acts  through  the  activities  of  the  Special  Rapporteur  of  the
Commission  on  Human  Rights on  the  situation  of  human  rights  in  the
territory of  the former Yugoslavia,  the Commission  of Experts established

pursuant  to Security  Council resolution 780 (1992),  and the International
Tribunal for  the former  Yugoslavia. The  activities of  these bodies  have
been assisted by the work of many NGOS.

66.   Equally, the  international community has sought  to meet the physical
and  psychological rehabilitation  needs of  victims through  the  extensive
action being  undertaken  by  the  European Community  Task  Force,  UNESCO,
UNHCR, UNICEF and WHO, as well as many local and international NGOs.

67.  Whilst there  are many  initiatives under way in  this area, it is  not
possible to assess their effectiveness in  reaching and assisting victims of
rape  and sexual abuse.  First, it is not  possible to establish the overall
number  of victims.   Secondly, it is not possible  to estimate how many are
being assisted by rehabilitation projects, since  many of the programmes  do
not   explicitly   target   such  caseloads   or,   in   the  interests   of
confidentiality  do  not keep  records on  them,  in view  of the  sensitive
nature of  the problem.   Finally,  even in  cases where  victims are  being
assisted, it is not possible to assess how  much they are being helped  at a
personal level.

68.  The activities  being undertaken by the international community are  to
be welcomed but caution must be exercised  in assuming that the needs of the
victims  are  being  adequately  met.    It  is  therefore  hoped  that  the
international community will continue to devote attention to this problem.


  1/  S/1994/674, annex, sect. II J, para. 109.

  2/  S/1994/674, annex, sect. IV F, para. 313.

  3/  E/CN.4/1994/4, para. 7.

  4/  A/49/641-S/1994/1252, para. 11.

  5/  A/49/641-S/1994/1252, para. 11.

  5/  A/49/641-S/1994/1252, paras. 21, 4.

  6/  A/49/641-S/1994/1252, para. 79.

  7/  E/CN.4/1995/57, para. 19.

  8/  E/CN.4/1995/62, para. 15.

  9/  E/CN.4/1995/3, para. 8.

  10/  E/CN.4/1995/42.

  11/  E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.2/1995/4 and E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.2/1995/5.

  12/  CEDAW/C/YUG/SP.1.

  13/  CEDAW/C/CRO/SP.1.

  14/  CEDAW/C/1995/3/Add.3.



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