Human Rights Report 21-22 March 97

Protection Of Minorities

More Churches Damaged in Central Bosnia International organisations are investigating an explosion that damaged the belfry and several windows of a Catholic church near Travnik (Fed) in the village of Puticevo in the early morning hours of 21 March, and are also following up on a similar incident at a Catholic church in the village of Humac near Bugojno (Fed) that occurred earlier that night. International organisations also reported that building materials intended for the reconstruction of 10 Bosniak houses near Kiseljak (Fed) were stolen on 20 March and that lumber for the houses was set on fire.

Phone Threats Increase Tensions in Stipanjic Two Bosniak residents in the village of Stipanjic, the village near Tomislavgrad (Fed) where a mosque was damaged by an explosive device last week, complained to UN IPTF that they received threatening phone calls on 18 March from a man who said that the mosque “was not the last bombing” and that Bosniak homes would be targeted next. On the same night, three Croat women in Stipanjic complained to UN IPTF that an anonymous caller threatened to bomb their homes in retaliation for the explosion at the mosque.

Serb Gravestones, Property Vandalized in Zavidovici Local police in Zavidovici (Fed) informed UN IPTF that a number of gravestones at Orthodox cemeteries in Borova Glava and Brusnica were vandalised on the night of 21 March, and that Serb property owners in the village of Donji Rakovac also reported that unknown persons vandalised trees on their property on the same night. UN IPTF is monitoring the local police’s investigations into the incidents.

Harassment of Bosniaks in Western RS Continues UN IPTF received a complaint from a Bosniak woman in Gradiska (RS) who said that she was forcibly evicted from her house on 17 March and that local police have refused to take action in the case. A Bosniak woman living in Banja Luka (RS) told UN IPTF on 18 March that two Serb displaced persons living in her house without authorisation have threatened her on several occasions in the past few weeks. She also told UN IPTF that when she went to lodge a complaint against them earlier in the month, local police accused her of mistreating the two men and refused to help her. UN IPTF will follow up with the local police.

Threats To Liberty And Security

Police Abuses Reported in Una-Sana Towns UN IPTF received a complaint from a man living in Cazin (Fed) who said that he was assaulted in his home by five policemen on 16 March. The complainant’s daughter told UN IPTF that one of the policemen is a neighbour and that there have been problems between her father and the man for some time. International human rights monitors in Velika Kladusa (Fed) also report a rise in the number of complaints about violent behaviour on the part of local police there, and have also expressed concern about a local war veterans group that appears to be involved in numerous criminal acts in the area, including harassment of persons associated with Fikret Abdic. Local police are reportedly reluctant to intervene or investigate incidents involving this group. International human rights observers continue to monitor the situation in both Cazin and Velika Kladusa. In a separate incident, UN IPTF is following up on a complaint from a man who said that he was beaten in police custody in Kljuc (Fed) on 17 March after he was arrested for drunk driving.

Police Maltreatment Alleged in Sarajevo UN IPTF has received a number of complaints from individuals who allege that they have been physically maltreated by policemen in Sarajevo (Fed) while in detention, including four men who told UN IPTF that they were assaulted by policemen at a station in the Centar area after they were arrested on 21 March. UN IPTF has received several other complaints about the behaviour of police at this station and is following up with the authorities.

NOTE: The HR Report is based on the most recent information available to the OHR from inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations. Questions on specific items should be directed to the reporting organisation or to the HRCC. Please send information for inclusion in the report to 387-71-447-420, attention Leah Melnick or by e-mail to leah.melnick@ohr.int.

Office of the High Representative