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SECURITY COUNCIL

Distribution: GENERAL
A/47/813
S/24991
18 December 1992
ORIGINAL: English

Depositions of Serbian women given to the State Commission for War Crimes

Pages #5,6,7,8 and 9 of the above document...


Deposition made by J.I., a nurse from Brcko [Bosnia], of her own accord on 20 October 1992 at the Gynaecology-Obstetrics Clinic in Belgrade

On 12 January 1992, I was visiting my aunt in Germany, where I was spending the second half of my annual leave. I left Germany on 26 January. On 28 January we were stopped by [Croat] police on the highway, a few kilometres away from Sisak [Croatia]; they checked our passports and six of us, four girls and two men, all young, were forced to step out. The driver was told to drive on. He complained and he was beaten and maltreated and eventually had to leave without us.

We were taken to the police station somewhere near Sisak, where we were split into two groups. One was sent to Slavonska Pozega and the other to Slavonski Brod [all in Croatia]. I was assigned to the group which went to Slavonski Brod.

When we arrived there, it was clear to all of us that it was a camp, that all kinds of atrocities were inflicted upon prisoners, but we were completely powerless. It was no use saying anything or protesting, since things could only get worse for us. We were left alone for two days.

After successful operations on the front, they came to us for rest and pleasure. That day I met many women from Kninska Krajina who were imprisoned, mistreated, tortured and some of them even disfigured. Some among them were very beautiful women. Younger women were put aside. Later on, we realized that they made it their purpose to increase the birth rate of Croatian children.

A group of younger women like myself were used for their pleasure and sometimes were brutalized.

One day, a group of newly arrived women, including myself, had a nightmarish experience. Five or six men on top of me and I blacked out. I could not believe it was happening to me and I could not remember anything until daybreak. After that experience, we were mistreated, abused and invariably raped day in and day out.

Sometimes they let us be for two or three days. When this happened, we were given no water, no food, no nothing. If food was given to us at all, it was so poor that not even animals would eat it.

I will remember a very striking, and very distressing for me, incident which occurred in Slavonski Brod and which is occasionally the cause of my bad dreams when I see their ugly faces.

One night, they came after midnight. They were very angry since they had to withdraw. We were placed in a hangar storing petrol barrels. We took these barrels out as they were empty and had no use. So, we slept in them. Each of us was given only a thin blanket. I had nothing else on me except for the clothes they brought me in. All our belongings were taken away from us earlier.

That night they came to our hangar, they connected a few empty oil barrels and by taking one woman at a time, four of them molested her. My turn came. One tried to cut off my arm by axe. I still have a scar there, while the other was already inside me. A third one stabbed my leg and I fainted. They left me naked on these barrels all night. I was hungry, thirsty and terribly cold.

When they found out that many women were pregnant, myself included, they did not disturb us from time to time for the benefit of Croatian children. They had nothing against Serbian women bearing children by them, since fathers are Croats and therefore the children will be Croats too.

At that time, the oil refinery was on fire and we were also used as fire fighters. In this total chaos, I had been detained in Slavonski Brod since 28 January and was detained in the oil refinery till 22 April.

On the latter date, they transported us in trucks to the Sava river and therefrom to the other bank by boats. They moved us to the Odzak [Bosnia] detention centre guarded by the joint forces of two nations: Croats and Muslims.

They knew that there were many pregnant women among us, so they grouped us in a building which used to be, as I heard, a school. At times, they dragged us to other buildings and used us as a shield against the attacking Serbian military units, i.e. "Krajisnici".

Many of us pregnant women were left alone, since our pregnancy was advanced (four or five months).

I will now tell you what happened once.

After four or five hours of raping and torture in this school, they brought the imprisoned Serbs, young and old alike, ordering them to lick us after the obscene acts.

On last 16 July, the black legionaries or black shirts, whatever they called them, came asking us for any hidden money or gold as ransom which would save our lives. Until the very end we did not know what was going on and what made them act that way.

When I left Germany I had DM 800 on me. I hid DM 500 in the sole of my boot because of the customs and the rest of DM 300 were in my handbag, which was taken from me when I was arrested. They took all my belongings, so that during the whole period of my detention in the camp I was only in a blouse, a bodice, a denim jacket, a pair of blue jeans, one piece underwear, one pair of stockings and boots.

The DM 500 I sewed in my jeans, so I had money to buy out my life.
[NOTE: The person was abducted on the trip home from Germany. It was customary for Yugoslavs coming home from abroad to hide money from the Yugoslav customs].

We were taken out of the school one at a time. There was a man with a box sitting outside. Those who had nothing of value were lined up on one side and those who had some money on the other.

Those who had money actually bailed themselves out and we were later exchanged. We had no idea that life was worth that much money you had in your pocket, or a ring or DM 50 or any other amount you had on you at the moment.

In Odzak we were received by the Krajina corps. That night they let us have a good sleep. We were given food, drink and cigarettes. It was the first time after six months that I drank juice and milk. I was a non-smoker for four years, but I lit a cigarette then. I could not believe my eyes and ears that I was free, that my head was still on my shoulders.

We were then sent to the hospital in Bosanski Samac. Once there, I asked to be sent to my hometown of Brcko, where I arrived on 18 July.

The following month I was treated in the Brcko hospital and I asked the doctors to terminate my five-and-a-half-month pregnancy.

But the doctor in Brcko was not for termination of my pregnancy because of my poor health. I had lost 30 kilos [more than 60 pounds] in five months.

I heard nothing of my parents. I had a father, mother, a brother, sister-in-law and their children.

They all disappeared. I had no news of them. My friends from the "Srpska Biljenska Garda" tried to help me. They tried to trace the whereabouts of my parents, brother, sister-in-law and their children, but with no success. After a month's time, they helped me to visit my house, which was hit by three shells. I found some of my personal effects, which I packed into several bags. I also found out that my 74-year-old aunt was still alive and I called on her. I took over to her place my bare necessities. I also found some money at home and decided to visit my cousin in Belgrade.

She welcomed me and later left for Germany. So, I am presently alone in her apartment.

I went to see a doctor for advice on my health and pregnancy. Two doctors from Zemun [Serbia] recommended the Gynaecology-Obstetrics Clinic, where I was admitted in late August and early September. I previously contacted the Health Centre of Stari Grad Municipality, after which I was hospitalized here to see what could be done for me.

Thanks to Dr. Krstic, I am here today and thanks to all his fellow doctors I managed to find my peace of mind, if this is possible at all.

A baby girl was born and put up for adoption while I myself have to fight for my own life.

I found out that my parents are safe and sound and that they are somewhere around the town of Prijedor. My brother is on the front. So I have calmed down. But I still have no information about my sister-in-law and her children.

I will tell you about some other events.

In Slavonski Brod [Croatia] one man was called "Plavi", they all had nicknames and we had no idea what their real names were or where they came from.

His specialty was to burn down an eyebrow of a beautiful woman or to cut it out along its lines. He also liked to bite off a piece of ear or to gouge out an eye. He did all of these things together or at least one of them.

There was a woman who came to Slavonski Brod camp in the seventh month of her pregnancy. They tore out her belly and took a live baby out of her womb.

Once, I don't know the reason why, something was stolen or someone was falsely accused, one soldier crushed the skull of a 40-year-old Serb by a rifle butt.

In Odzak, two Muslims circumcised all men without exception according to the Muslim ritual.

Many women had their finger cut off for a ring or their ears for ear rings.

Once I saw the lower lip of a very beautiful girl from Kninska Krajina being shredded by a man called "Crni" who previously raped and molested the girl. He enjoyed it.

We seldom saw other imprisoned men. We did not meet them often, and when we did they had visible marks of strangulation by metal wire, knife cuts on their necks, heads; some were with no eyes, or a hand, etc.

One, like an executioner, enjoyed to cut off a leg to the knee by axe, and let the bleeding man die.

There was a warehouse in Odzak where Serbs were imprisoned for 10 days with no water or food and left to urinate and empty there. They were mistreated and tortured day and night. Each night the bodies of two or three victims were removed to cover up the crimes.

Sometimes, they poured petrol on a cloth fixed to a stick and burned the skin of a naked man or woman. The more the victim screamed, the more they enjoyed it.

And another example. An 11-year-old girl, who was daily abused, had to serve them as a waitress completely naked.

This is all I can tell about myself and what happened to me. I find it very difficult to even bring myself to talk about this.

Belgrade, 20 October 1992

Deposition made by J.I. (Signed)
Deposition taken by Milena Vasiljevic
Senior Stenographer at the Federal Assembly.

Remark: Gave birth to a baby girl who was put up for adoption.


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