This official U.N. document contains description of some graphic torture.
Only sick Croat minds could do these kinds of things... Their behavior could only be explained by the fact that the historical rooths of bestiality in the Croat nation are deep.
How to obtain this document: This is a PUBLIC document. You can obtain it by calling U.N. Public Inquiry Office at (212) 963-4475. You should know the document numbers (here: A/47/813 and S/24991) as well as the document title ("Deposition of Serbian women...").
You can also stop by room GA57, basement of the U.N. Building, New York, corner of 46th Street and 1st Ave., and ask for the document.
18 December 1992
Depositions of Serbian women given to the State Commission for War Crimes
The exchanged women confirmed rumours of the abuse of women and children who were ethnic hostages in Novi Grad. "Eight men came one night around 11 p.m.", said one of the exchanged women. "They were half drunk and they beat us all. They took out two girls, L.D. (15) and S.D. (21), and raped them both.
"It was a group of some 10 boys from Posavska Mahala and the surrounding villages who called themselves 'horses of fire'. I knew most of them personally. In particular, Marijan Brnic. I implored, I begged him to let me go, reminding him of his past neighbourly relations with my family. He told me to be glad that he was alone since the procedure was different with others. Five or six on one girl. They pulled my friend B.N. (19) by the hair, beat her and put a knife to her throat when she tried to break free. She was raped by two of the group. The rest were dispersed by police to prevent them from molesting us again, all of Posavska Mahala was on its feet. They threatened to come and set fire to all of us and Novi Grad if the boys were not released. Police let them go. The rapings continued", says Z.M.(22), one of the raped girls.
They came at night, half intoxicated, some of them even drugged. They put women onto trucks and took them away, returning them at sunrise, naked and tormented. They also took women who had small children. Some of the women who could not muster courage to get out of the forest in which they were raped" describe their pain, women who wanted by stay anonymous but who are ready to witness in a court of law. A 10-year-old girl, M.L., was raped in Novi Grad. This grave crime was committed by Mate Burugdzic from the village of Pecnik. "I was taken away half an hour past midnight. There were six of them. I was abused and treated foully by all of them.. They told me: 'You have to give birth to a little Ustasha!'. For days thereafter I roamed around like mad hiding in the forest", says ...P. from Novi Grad.
In an article published in the Slobodno Nevesinje newspaper (No. 6 of 20. September 1992), a witness to the Bretelj hell confirmed rumours about the raping of Serb women and girls. "Women who were not so many in the camp as men were subjected to brutal torture and humiliated. I can say that they were raped in front of their other inmates, even their detained relatives. That was awful."
Physical torture to which Serbs from this area have been subjected by Muslims is particularly brutal. Serb women are charged with possession of radio stations and keeping war journals. They are arrested on these charges and physically and mentally abused and humiliated. A woman from the village of Ferhatlije, near Pazaric, committed suicide after such torture. Particularly notorious are Nijaz Lihovac called Tera, Mirsad Sabic called Mirso and Muhamed Turcinovic called Zeko, former police officer of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Analysis of the medical-psychological examinations of one group of people released through the exchange of prisoners
A team of experts from the Institute for Mental Health and Military Psychology at the Military Medical Academy, made up of two physicians- neuropsychiatrists and two psychologists, examined the whole group of people released through the exchange of prisoners. The group of 380 members of the Croatian paramilitary formations was returned in exchange for this group of 41 prisoners. The exchange took place on 27 March 1992, and the medical- psychological examinations were made on 28 March 1992.
Our purpose was both to establish their actual psycho-physical conditions and determine all the forms of brutal physical and mental treatment and violence on the basis of general medical examinations, semi-standardized psychological-psychiatric interviews and verbal statements of the prisoners examined.
II. BASIC DEMOGRAPHIC AND OTHER IMPORTANT DATA
All the prisoners from the group exchanged were of the average age of 48. The youngest was 24 and the oldest 73. There were 5 women with an average age of 44, out of which 4 were housewives and 1 an unqualified worker. Among the male members of the group, most of them were farmers, workers, pensioners, two technicians and one professor, among which 9 were members of the Armed Forces - 4 Territorial Defence members, 2 volunteers (aged 37 and 62), 2 reservists and 1 JNA Junior Officer. They were arrested between 6 November 1991 and 13 March 1992.
The circumstances under which these people were deprived of their liberty were different, ranging from those most common - in their houses while watching television, or in the streets - to even more unusual, on the highway on their return from a wedding (R.P., aged 42) or on their way back to the village from the medical examination (B.C., aged 73 suffering from an ulcer). Some of them were abused by the Croatian Ministry of the Interior (B.B., aged 66) or captured in the field while gathering corn (K.T., aged 57) or plums (I.S., aged 56). The only JNA [Yugoslav Federal Army] member, a junior officer (Z.S., aged 49), a Serb, married to a Croatian woman, was arrested on his leave, while sleeping.
Almost all the prisoners, after being interrogated for 3 to 10 days in Vinkovci, Sisak, Slavonska Orahovica, Slavonska Pozega, Podravska Slatina, Djakovo, Novska, Nasice, etc. [all in Croatia], were taken to prisoner camps in Osijek or Zagreb (in Zagreb to Kerestinac and Gaj). The most brutal and cruel physical and mental treatment by depriving them even of their basic physiological needs (water, food, sleep, movement) was committed during the "inquiry". Throughout their captivity, they were exposed to some more mild forms of physical, mental and social torture. Torturing continued even on the buses, on the way from the prison in Osijek to the determined point of exchange. That was testified by the case of T.R., aged 32, and J.M., aged 55, who got fresh bloody swellings in the region of the right cheek-bone, i.e. lower jaw.
III. MOST FREQUENT FORMS OF PHYSICAL TREATMENT
Classification into physical and psychological, i.e. psycho-social, forms of treatment is of a relative character, because these forms cannot be easily distinguished, one from the others. Some of the most often forms of physical torture registered are:
- deprivation of basic physiological needs, for instance, leaving prisoners five days without water and food or forbidding them to relieve themselves while being tied to hot radiators (I.S., aged 56);
- hitting the heads of the prisoners against the wall until they faint (B.B., aged 66);
- beating with truncheons, wire ropes, butts of guns, broomsticks till the loss of consciousness;
- electrocution with electro shocks, electric wires tied to the wrists in the region of the neck, heavy thigh and even to the genitals;
- "coming to life" of fainted prisoners by brutal physical torture, for instance by pouring vinegar, brandy or even urine into the mouth;
- kicking prisoners with boots while lying on the concrete, blindfolded as not to see faces of their torturers;
- "demonstration" of gouging the eyes of Serbs by sticking fingers into the eye sockets;
- permanent jumping from a bench or a table onto the stomachs of the victims lied on their back on the concrete, until they get hernia (K.T., aged 53, with a hernia large as a human head; C.M., aged 42, with a bit smaller hernia);
- tying men with spread legs and beating them with truncheons on the genitals;
- raping of women with their arms and legs tied in a so-called "black room" for days (M.R., aged 38, lost 25 kg for three months);
- stripping them naked and beating them with boots, truncheons until they faint;
- extinguishing butts of cigarettes into the mouth of victims, forcing them to swallow them;
- swallowing extinguished butts previously plunged into urine;
- chaining the left arm to the left leg (Z.M., aged 43);
- trampling with both legs, fixing the neck with one leg and kicking in the region of the heart with the other one;
- plucking hair and forcing prisoners to eat it (J.N., aged 38);
- extracting teeth, mostly with a barrel of a revolver (two teeth: M.G., aged 42);
- nailing handcuffed prisoners to a fixed hook on a wall, then beating till the loss of consciousness and leaving them in a such position;
- trampling with boots upon the surgical scar from the operation for gastric ulcer (operated on 10 November, arrested on 30 December 1991, D.N., aged 38);
- putting bags over the head, roping around the neck, knocking down to the concrete and then savagely kicking with boots, truncheons, etc.;
- striking on the head with a big metal ladle of 1 m until they faint;
- striking with a "hammer" made of 1-2 kg salt folded in a sheet, knotted and plunged into water so as to gain in weight;
- tying to a tree, in winter at -15 degrees C [+4 degrees F] and watering prisoners in order to hasten their freezing;
- carrying bags full of sand from one side of the camp to the other without any reason under threats: "Who told you to do that, take it back!", without any end to it;
- forcing to relieve themselves in the room where they sleep, on the floor because there are no buckets;
- forcing to take shower with cold and hot water alternately so as to suffer burns;
- tying prisoners to a tree for two days and nights in snow in winter, depriving them of water and food and beating them (N.G., aged 35, permanently relieved from military duty because of illness);
- cutting ears with a knife and forcing prisoners to lick knives under threats of being slaughtered;
- carving the skin on the back with a knife and pouring salt in a wound;
- beating with steel cable on the bare feet;
- there is a case when torturers started to slaughter a prisoner (D.N., aged 42) when, by accident, he was saved by the Commander of the Ministry of the Interior, his school friend from the elementary school.
IV. MOST FREQUENT FORMS OF MENTAL ILL-TREATMENT
The forms of mental ill-treatment ranged from bullying, threats, blackmail, recruitment and humiliation to brutal maltreatment, homosexual and heterosexual abuse. We present herewith the most frequent forms of mental ill-treatment:
- putting the pistol barrel into the prisoner's mouth and a knife under his neck threatening him that he would be "killed as all members of his family had already been"'
- prisoners were told that their children had been already slaughtered; that it was their turn; that that was the way of "solving the Chetniks problem"; - the prisoners were forced to cross themselves and to bow down with curses before the photo of S. Milosevic;
- the prisoners were forced to masturbate before Tito's picture;
- "night dances" - the prisoners were forced to dance with the music turned on loudly and in the presence of drunken Ustashes. During the dance the male and female prisoners were half naked so to be "stimulated". Afterwards they went to the dark room where the torturers raped the young female prisoners, whose arms and legs were tied and stretched;
- the group of male prisoners was forced to masturbate in front of the half-naked older female prisoners. This was followed by the brutal verbal humiliation and music which add to the physical and psychological ill-treatment;
- the young female prisoners were forced to swallow the sperm of 10 to 12 Ustashes [Nazi Croats];
- the young male prisoner was requested to make oral sex on an older male person;
- anal heterosexual intercourse with a victim who was then forced to make oral sex and to swallow the sperm;
- group masturbation; then a wife of one prisoner was forced to make oral sex on a prisoner while her husband was watching;
- "special dance" - naked male and female prisoners were forced to dance permanently for 4 to 5 hours until completely exhausted and then they underwent the "process of reanimation";
- "games without frontiers" - the prisoners were carrying plates with hot water on their heads and then forced to run so that the water could splash out and cause the burns;
- the prisoner was requested to write a statement, several pages long and then to eat it (C.M., 44 years old);
- a prisoner was made to move on his hands and elbows while another one was riding him. While doing this they had to repeat permanently: "Zivjela vjecna Hrvatska" (Long live the everlasting Croatia!) but if they pronounced the word "zivjela" in a different way (like "zivila" or"zivela") they underwent additional ill-treatment;
- the prisoners were questioned: "Who is the Croat?" The answer was: "Sir". "Who is the Serb?" - "The gypsy";
- the prisoners were shown the tapes with the massacred wounded persons and corpses in order to see "what Chetniks do to the Croats";
- the prisoners were made to sing some new songs like "Milan Martic, the son of a bitch";
- the prisoners were requested to say the evening prayer: "Mother of Lord, the Serbian vagina wishes you good night ...";
- "riddles": How can you hold your ears with one hand? The answer: "This can be done if an Ustasha cut one of your ears and put it in your hand";
- deliberate exposure to death (P.N., 36 years old, together with other prisoners, was sent into the streets of Osijek to collect the garbage while vigorous combat was in course. The Ustashas with snipers watched them in order to prevent them from finding shelter);
- the prisoners were put in chains and taken from one restaurant to another presented as "Milosevic's Chetniks";
- while grinding the bullet in front of the prisoner (J.N., 51 years old) the torturer explained that the death would be easier for him;
- the prisoner (M.C., 38 years old) was forced to sing "Lily Marlene".
V. PHYSICAL AND MENTAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE ILL-TREATMENT
By the medical check-up we found the following: fresh blood bruises on lower jaw, cheek-bones, hand, wrists where there were also scars made by hanging the victims with handcuffs on their hands on hooks fixed in the wall, scars on the hand, wrists, necks and legs made by electric devices.
Difficulties in opening the mouth were also registered as the prisoner's broken jaw was not treated medically (T.M., 38 years old). In fact, this prisoner refused the surgery intervention in Zagreb for fear of being killed. Two large hernias were found caused by the ill-treatment as described in the above text. The patients suffer from pains in the chest, they expectorate lymph, there are traces of blood in their urine and stool. There are visible scars on the forehead and other parts of the prisoners' heads which are obviously the result of cuts made by a sharp object. The patients complained of pains in the back, chest, breasts and wrists.
The most prominent mental discomforts were: insomnia, increased sweating, emotional disturbance, anxiety, fear, nightmares with permanent reminiscences of experience and seen trauma scenes, apathy, crying mood, lack of appetite, arrhythmia, psycho-motoric disturbance, headaches, feeling that it was impossible to breathe, anxious and depressive reactions with all female patients.
The persons that underwent the medical check-up expressed, although they had been exposed to prolonged strong stress situations and humiliation, mature consideration for their own state and unexpected mental resistance to intensity and duration of stress events. Some of them expressed even some sort of pride that they "did not knuckle under pressure". Some of the patients were given the necessary medicaments and it was suggested that they undergo other necessary medical treatment. We must point out that the medical check-ups were completed in the morning hours some 15 hours after the exchange. Owing to this fact it is possible to expect some delayed reactions to stress as post-trauma stress disturbance. Because of this it is necessary to continue with following the psychological adaptability of the patients as well as to undertake available mental-hygiene and medical measures.
The analysis of the medical and psychological check-ups of one group of prisoners released by exchange exposed the fact that those individuals had been exposed to severe physical torture, ill-treatment and criminal activities.
The psychological ill-treatment was directed at destroying the motivation regarding safety, self-confidence and affiliation. At the same time the torturers tried to develop with the prisoners the feeling of uncertainty, helplessness, fear, anxiety and even the feeling of losing one's own identity.
Social pressure was directed at degradation of personality by destroying basic human dignity. The characteristics of the psycho-social ill-treatment were animal hatred against the victim, sadism up to bestiality and extreme cruelty.
We consider such treatment of prisoners as a crime against humanity and that it is necessary to inform the domestic and international public of this fact so as to observe all this in the light of international war law and conventions regarding prisoners of war and victims of war in general.
We suggest that a medical check-up of other groups of released prisoners bedone, especially of the Armed Forces personnel, by the team of doctors - forensic specialists, neuro-psychiatrists and psychologists.
Head of the Institute for Mental Health and Military Psychology,
Colonel, Professor Bratislav Petrovic, Ph.D