Skip to comments.The Vampire Nurse of Vukovar: Vesna Bosanac
Posted on 02/05/2003 2:23:25 PM PST by Ichabod Walrus
Involuntary blood taking from Vukovar Serbs
In the Vukovar Hospital, which was between 30 July and 19 November 1991 managed by Dr. Vesna BOSANAC, many serious abuses of medical ethics and international law of war have been committed - from refusal to provide adequate medical treatment to wounded Serb civilians and members of the Serb territorial defense to physical liquidation. Among the gravest crimes committed in the Vukovar Hospital, which are that more serious since some perpetrators were physicians, is involuntary blood taking from Serb civilians, who were for this particular purpose forcefully brought into the hospital by the members of the ZNG [Croatia's self-styled "National Militia" guilty of countless crimes aginst Serb civilians and POWs] of the Republic of Croatia. Among military policemen who took civilians into custody and brought them to the hospital for involuntary blood taking, witnesses only recognized Josip HORVAT, a.k.a. Madjar.
The victims were brought in - usually from various shelters or prisons, where they were held hostages - to the transfusion department of the Vukovar Hospital or to one of its improvised outpatient departments. Some of these cases of involuntary blood taking are registered in the protocol of the transfusion department of the Vukovar Hospital. The original of this document is in the possession of the Serbian Council Information Center in Belgrade and its authenticity was verified by the persons who made entries in it in the line of duty.
Almost all Serbs whose blood was taken at gunpoint were voluntary blood donors before the war. Hence, it was easy to get the data on their blood group from the voluntary blood donor files which were, upon the order of Dr. Vesna BOSANAC, brought to the hospital and kept in its cellar. In fewer cases, the military police learned about the blood type of possible victims during the interrogation ("informative talks") of arrested Serbs or from the hospital records, in case of persons who were already hospitalized during the war, when blood analysis was routinely made. Based on these information, some Serbs were found in shelters and brought into the hospital to have their blood taken. Some of them were apprehended at the order of Jastreb, commander of Croatian armed forces in Vukovar, and kept in custody in the ZNG military police prison in the basement of the city hall building until a wounded Croatian soldier would need a transfusion of a particular blood group.
Blood was forcefully taken usually from those Serbs whose blood type was O Rh-negative. According to the testimony of hospital personnel, at least 450 ml of blood was taken from them, so that many experienced serious health problems afterwards.
Among the most drastic cases in this regard is the case of V. B.,who was wounded by a mortar shell on 1 October 1991 and, due to delayed medical treatment, lost a lot of blood. After a brief treatment he was first transferred to a shelter and then, upon the order of Jastreb, brought to the military police prison in the city hall. At the request of Dr. Vesna BOSANAC he was brought in to the hospital on 8 November 1991, together with another captive Serb, where 450 ml of blood was taken from him at gunpoint; as a consequence he sustained a serious health crisis. In spite of that, he was returned back to prison.
According to the report of the military police of the ZNG of the Republic of Croatia dated 4 November 1991, written by its commander Ivica ARBANAS, it clearly follows that Dr. Vesna BOSANAC not only knew about "voluntary" blood taking from arrested and captive Serbs, but was involved in organizing this operation. This conclusion, among other things, is suggested by a sentence in the last paragraph of the mentioned report which literally reads: "During informative talks with prisoners it was established that two prisoners have O Rh-negative blood group and they agreed to donate blood, since this blood type is rare. It was arranged with Dr. Bosanac that the same should be brought to the hospital to give blood." Therefore, she is not only indirectly, but quite directly responsible for this war crime.
Dr. Vesna Bosanac was traded in a prisoner exchange after the fall of Vukovar. Dr. Bosanac was accused of the murder of numerous Serbian patients under her care, whose blood was deliberately drained and given to wounded HV Croatian soldiers. Upon their death, the vital organs of these Serbian patients were removed and sold on the black market in Germany. Eyewitnesses have come forward to testify to these facts.
Ironically, not only has Dr. Bosanac not been charged with war crimes, she is one of the tribunal's chief witnesses!
Let's tell the rest of the story of what happened in Vukovar.
In late 1991, the Yugoslav Army captured the city of Vukovar from Croatian forces who had been systematically "ethnically cleansing," the Serb minority in the city. ("ethnically cleanse," contrary to the belief that it was coined during the Bosnia conflict, was actually coined in WWII when Croats and Muslims were exterminating their Serbian, Jewish and Gypsy citizens.
A Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy article in London in December 1992 said "At least 1,000 Serbs, mostly women, old people and children, were shot, knifed, axed or bludgeoned to death systematically one-by-one, in two main centres . . .
One visiting Croat female journalist during the Vukovar fighting, unfamiliar with firearms asked one of the young gunmen to cock a pistol for her so that she could feel what it was like to kill a Serb. She shot, indiscriminately, an old Serb woman who was standing under Croat guard."
In November 1991, the Toronto Star said that "a photographer reported seeing black plastic bags containing pieces of the bodies of children about 5, 6, or 7 years old." When Serb forces broke through and discovered the grisly scenes, Croatian soldiers, in an attempt to escape justice, fled to the protection of the Vukovar hospital and became patients.
Points to be made.
1. These were not "civilian" patients."
2. These butchers were Croatian soldiers who were so cowardly, they had to run to the protection of the Vukovar Hospital after massacring over 1,000 Serbian men women and children.
3. They were protected by "I Like Eichmann" butcher Dr. Vesna Bosanac.
They say that "Justice is Blind." In the case of The Hague, and its accusers, Justice is not only blind, but she is deaf and dumb.
4] CRIMINAL BECOMES WITNESS FOR HAGUE TRIBUNAL
Novi Sad, March 27 (Tanjug) - In a piece entitled Criminal Becomes Witness the Novi Sad daily Dnevnik assessed that the Hague Tribunal suffered a moral setback when it called Dr Vesna Bosanac, notorious Director of Vukovar Hospital in the fall of 1991, to be a witness for the prosecution in the trial of three former Yugoslav Army (JNA) officers. Instead of being prosecuted by the International War Crimes Tribunal to account for the crimes committed against Serbs in Vukovar, Dr Bosanac arrived in the Hague as a witness, the daily said Tuesday. Dr Bosanac became the Director of Vukovar Hospital in July 1991, just before the beginning of Croatia's war of secession from former Yugoslavia. The euphoria of Croatian nationalism was at its highest then, and Dr Vesna Bosanac was appointed Hospital Director by the nationalist Croatian Democratic Community in Zagreb and the former director, Serb Rade Popovic, was dismissed without any explanation.
The crimes committed by Dr Bosanac against Serb civilians and JNA troops who at the time were being treated in Vukovar Hospital are grave and monstrous, the daily said. Witnesses who managed to escape the hospital run by Dr Vesna Bosanac, speak today about her. She was not alone, witnesses say. She had the support of Dr.Juraj Njavro, a certain Dr. Zujovic from Zagreb, Dr. Kratofil from Osijek and paramedic Marko Mandic. The Vukovar Hospital served as a warehouse for ammunition so that at one time there were 300 guns in the x-ray room.
Dr Bosanac and her team also helped Tudjman's troops kill Serbs outside the hospital. One of the witnesses said he saw Tudjman's troops enter the hospital with snipers, climb the roof, and shoot at Serbs and JNA troops.
When it was finally clear that Tudjman's guard would be defeated in Vukovar, around two hundred members of Croatia's Interior Ministry and of the National Guard, criminals from Vukovar, put on white hospital coats and tried to get out of the city as 'hospital staff'. The organizer of the evacuation was Dr Bosanac and Dr Njavro, Dnevnik said.
The following document is a translation of a deposition supplied and duly signed by Ikac Mile, from and in Vukovar, given on December 12, 1991.
I was transported urgently to the hospital, at my own telephone request, on September 27, 1991. I spent the time from September 27 to October 23, 1991 in that institution, from which I escaped on October 23, around 6:10 AM, by jumping across the wall [surrounding it].
During my stay in the hospital, I experienced what hell is like, so to speak. The top people were - Dr. Njavro, Dr. Bosanac, nurse Biba, Dr. Sadika, plaster man Miro and his assistant. I slept on an auxiliary bed since I was mobile, and as one of their torture forms, they used to push an M-16 gun in my back saying: "Shall I pull the trigger?", and another would answer: "Pull it, fuck your Serbian mother!". They used to put a knife at my throat saying they would be slitting it that night. I said: "Slit me, you won't slit all our throats". Knowing my brother was with the volunteers, I was exposed to planting a bomb [hand grenade] in my bed, but knowing about this "maggot's egg", as we Serbians called it among ourselves, I used to come back and quickly throw it into one of their beds. Their "MPs" would come and search our beds. When they found nothing, they would be angry.
During my stay, [Yugoslav Army] soldiers-reservists were admitted [to the hospital] and they received special treatment. When that happened, all others would be removed except that part of the hospital staff which was pro-fascist. According to guardsmen and staff stories, they used to say those reservists went "grass grazing" or "swimming to Novi Sad" [down the Danube]. Three soldiers were admitted, one of which stayed on in the hospital after I escaped. The remaining soldier was especially mistreated by Zeljko Jozo, Perkovic Damir and one Renato, who also mistreated old uncle Toma the plaster man, who was found murdered in "Borovo Commerce". Regarding the other two soldiers, they said that there were no more "chetniks".
When a Serbian soldier was admitted to the hospital and after surgery, Dr. Bosanac would say: "A wound on a dog heals on a dog" ("Na psu rana, na psu i zarasla"), meaning the Serbians. When one Bili or somebody else from the guard HQ was to come, they would remove everybody from the corridors and would go to Dr. Bosanac' office-HQ. I know for sure that that's where it was, and this can be confirmed by Dr. Manojlovic and Dr. Vesna Vasic, both of whom advised me to escape.
Marko the plaster man worked during daytime and at night, he took people to be liquidated in "Borovo Commerce". His assistant was one Dr. Hisam, who was on good terms with the Perkovic brothers, who he supplied with weapons, cigarettes, food and anything else they wanted. Belonging to the guard were also Andjelko Rora from Bapska, Voloder Vlado and Voloder Zoran, of the hard-liners, then Stanic Marko, Srenk Djuro, Vatroslav Pirika, Stevo Parcetic, Zajacko Miso (Mihovil), Zajacko Stjepan "Stevica" and Srenk Zeljko. Dr. Bogdanovic was a great supporter of the Croat National Guard.
The sick and injured were treated on a national basis, so that the Croatians were looked after by Dr. Njavro and a selected team, while Serbians and soldiers were looked after by Dr. Manojlovic and Dr. Vasic.
After escaping from the hospital, I visited my son's best man Stevo Luksic, who was wounded by a grenade, and on that occasion I heard from him and other people that his brother was taken in - captured. They said he walked and swore at their ustasha mothers. He was injured in his left leg and thigh, meaning badly. They beat him up there and MPs Vulic Zvonko and Pap Tomislav came and took him away someplace.
I was at the hospital once again on December 9 1991 and a woman working on the surgery told me that a young man was admitted who appeared known to me. I told her that this must have been my youngest brother. She knew nothing else, since they used to hide such people, and these jobs were done by teams, specially charged with soldiers. The [hospital] staff behavior was terrible, starting from communicating to the food. I asked for a blanket to put over my canvas cover - because of the cold - and I got none from Dr. Bosanac, while the guardsmen had several [blankets] each. I spent two week in the passage to the Atomic shelter and saw horrible things during that time, from verbal mistreatment to physical attacks. All this was done by Zeljko Jozo, Mato Vlaho, Marko the plaster man and wounded guardsmen, the Perkovic brothers Renato and Damir, one Jozic and a man from Zagreb, tattooed all over his neck and with a chest wound, who had "Ustasa" written in tatoo, and I couldn't read the rest of it.
The wife of Zeljo Joze at first was a prominent adversary of everything Serbian and the army. Nurse Zlata helped and provided everything the guardsmen wanted. She also wore a chessboard badge very obviously on her chest. She was 38-42 years of age. While there, I saw the following people come and go to the hospital:
Ivica Fabijanovic - Guardsman (HDZ - "Croat National Guard")
Zdenko Potocic - Guardsman
Stevo Parcetic - Guardsman
Sebesta Boro - Guardsman
Marko Stanic - Guardsman
Ivica Antolovic - Guardsman
Zdenko Kutina - Guardsman
Marko Lucic - Guardsman
Stijepan Nikolic - Guardsman
Djuro Srenk - Guardsman
Zeljko Srenk - Guardsman
Djuro Juricic - Guardsman
Mihovil-Miso Zajacko - Guardsman
Stjepan-Stevo Zajacko - Guardsman
Drago Horvat - Guardsman
Josip Duraj - Guardsman
Damir Adzaga - Guardsman (transport of injured and supplies)
Vlado Kovac - Guard associate
Tihomir Kovac - Guardsman
Josip Bracic - Guardsman
Pero Baran - Guardsman
Oliver Jovanovic - Guardsman
Djuro Jovanovic - Guardsman
Antun Depisol - Guardsman
Vatroslav Pirika CDA
Josip Lovrincic CDA (betrayed 4 soldiers hidden on his cellar, who suicided to prevent being captured)
Ljubica ? ethnic Serbian
Antun Dugan Guardsman
Drago Markobasic Guardsman
Branko Madjarevic Guardsman (Borovo naselje)
Ivica Madjarevic Guardsman (Borovo naselje)
Dragan Stajin Police (interrogation with a hammer)
Nikola Tarle Police
Zeljko Tarle ?
Josip Tarle ?
Drago Vlaho Hospital driver
Dragan Gavric Hospital driver
Zlatko Jarabek Hospital driver
Djuro Juricic Guardsman
Josip Mazar ?
Zvonko Vulic (arrests and liquidation)
Tomislav Pap (arrests and liquidation)
On the occasion of discovering soldiers on the cellar of his house in the "Pionirsko naselje", Lovrinic bragged about finding four soldiers and calling the guardsmen. They called to the soldiers to surrender, but the soldiers wouldn't. They sang a song and shots were heard after that, and it is said that their officer killed them and suicided after that. The house was set afire and the corpses were taken into the yard, two of them being badly burned.
According to what Jovanovic [Dzoga] told me while he was in the hospital with me, and who also escaped on or around October 30, he was taken to the Croat military department for interrogation and was assigned for throat slitting that same night, as were Tomo the plaster man, Cvetislav from Negoslavci and two more ethnic Serbians. They were taken away by Marko (Martic) and were found later: the first was murdered, and the other had their throats slit in "Borovo Commerce".
I request that something be done for *ILLEGIBLE*'s children, because he was with me and my lady neighbor Mara Nikolic in the cellar of the house in Gajeva 33. He is now in the Novi Sad hospital - quite clear of all this.
I guarantee for the above data and recognizing of the people noted above, and I accept all responsibility and place myself at the disposal of military and civil authorities.
Vukovar December 12, 1991.
WRITTEN RECORD of a deposition made on December 23 1991, in the presence of the Investigating Judge of the military court of Belgrade, with regard to criminal acts as per unknown perpetrators from Vukovar as per Criminal Penal Code of the SFR of Yugoslavia, Article 121.
Present: Investigating judge, captain Milomir Salic
Records clerk (civilian employed by the YPA) Milorad Kostadinovic
Witness, Mladen Ivankovic.
Time: Proceedings initiated at 11:00 hours
Place: Military court premises in Belgrade, room 158/II
Remarks: The witness has been advised that in accordance with Article 229 of the Penal Code of the SFR of Yugoslavia, the witness is not obliged to answer such question the answering of which could expose the witness and/or a close relative of the witness to public shame, material damage or criminal proceedings.
The witness has also been advised that in accordance with Article 231, paragraphs 2 and 3, of the Penal Code of the SFR of Yugoslavia, the witness is required to tell the truth, the whole truth and that by failing to do so, the witness may be prosecuted for purgery.
To the initial identity question, the witness answered as follows:
Family and Christian name: Ivankovic Mladen
Father's name: Gligor
Occupation: surgeon in the Medical Center (hereinafter MC) Vukovar
Date and place of birth: January 2, 1940, Trebinje
Residence address: Trg Matije Gupca st. 3, 56000 Vukovar
Place/date of mil. service: Belgrade, 1965
Relationship with accused: No family ties, no known disputes
Asked to say everything he knows about the subject of this inquiry, the witness stated:
"I was engaged as the head of the surgery department in the Medical Center of Vukovar until the end of June 1991, when I was removed from that duty. I remained on the hospital staff after that and in Vukovar, where I worked as a surgeon until November 19 1991 when the army took over the hospital.
While I was in the hospital and working, I was in a position to see and feel a part of the atmosphere prevailing in the hospital and what went on about the hospital and was reflected on work and relations [among the staff] in the hospital. After the armed clash between members of police(*) from Vukovar and the population of Borovo Selo on May 2 of that year, 11 members of the police were admitted and taken care of in the hospital. Beside them, five civilians of ethnic Serbian background were also admitted. Immediately after their admittance, armed policemen also came into the hospital and did not leave until the hospital was liberated on November 11 1991. The five wounded Serbians from the hospital were after a few days urgently transported by the police by helicopter to Zagreb. That was when a polarization occurred among the medical staff. I was accused of allegedly feeling down when wounded policemen were admitted.
After that, the wounded and hurt in various excesses happening at the time in that region began to be admitted. At that time, the director of MC Vukovar was one Race Popovic, M.D. At the close of June this year, one Njavro Juraj, M.D. came to my office, with an assistant sent from Zagreb and two armed men. They were members of the Guard(**), one called himself "Pliso" and the other called himself "Gazo". Both were armed. Dr. Njavro told me then that I can no longer be the head of the surgical department. He said I could be head of the surgical department section for civilians, while he, Dr. Njavro, would take exclusive care of wounded guardsmen and policemen. Gazo and Pliso joined the conversation and demanded that I dismiss from work all ethnic Serbians who did not come to work regularly. They told me this because at the same time, I acted also as an assistant director for personnel affairs.
They said these were the orders of the Ministry of the Republic of Croatia. I replied that I cannot decide on such matters by myself and that such questions must be resolved by the [hospital] council. At that time, the hospital manager was still [Dr.] Popovic [a Serb]. However, he was soon replaced by a direct order issued by the Minister of Health of the Republic of Croatia, Hebrang. The temporary director of the MC Vukovar was to be Dr. Vesna Bosanac, a pediatrist [a Croat]. Immediately after her coming to this post, in July a crisis HQ was formed. It consisted of assistant directors, Vesna Bosanac, Njavro Juraj, several sisters and myself as an assistant director. I attended the first few meetings which had a working character, but after that, I attended no further meetings. The Crisis HQ was reduced to Dr. Vesna Bosanac and Dr. Njavro Juraj, and these two made all the decisions.
CDA(***) [Croat Democratic Alliance] members were very active at that time in Bogdanovci and Mitnica, they gathered in columns of 20-30 vehicles, they went around towns and shot up Serbian households, broke into households and looted them, took away valuables and liquidated ethnic Serbians. They liquidated in this manner a man called Jovica, nicknamed "Rakijica".
In late August, they began firing mortars at the army barracks, and since my house was near the barracks, I no longer dared go home and my wife, mother-in-law and myself moved over to the hospital.
In the hospital the working conditions were unbearable. Dr. Vesna Bosanac, Dr. Njavro Juraj, Dr. Zujovic from Zagreb, Dr. Kratofil from Osijek, Marko Mandic the plaster man and Dr. Zoran Aleksijevic with his wife stressed themselves to be hard-line Croats.
They stressed this by virtue of their extremism, they would gather in the hospital at night, eat and drink, while the rest of us did not have any food even. They would sing Ustashe songs, like "Korak ide za korakom, Ustasa za barjakom" (Step follows step, Ustasa follows the banner) and such like. A group of ethnic Croats, members of the medical staff, kept their distance from them. A group of ethnic Serbians in the hospital at the time practically had no say in anything. I was in that group, and we had to keep very quite in order to save our bare lives. We were forbidden any gathering, we were not allowed to watch TV or to listen to any radio programs except Croat ones.
More and more wounded and hurt guardsmen and policemen began arriving in the hospital. Their friends and relatives came with them, and at times, there were anything from 100 to 150 armed men in the hospital. The wounded guardsmen and policemen kept their pistols and bombs with them. On October 7 1991, I was called for questioning in connection with some rifle found in my home. The day after, a guardsman came to the hospital, swore at my "chetnik mother" and hit me with his fists across the face and body. They wanted to liquidate me. I managed to get through to Dr. Njavro and Dr. Vesna Bosanac and told them to either kill me, protect me or let me go. Even before this happened, Dr. Njavro ordered two acquaintances of his to accompany me at all times and they forbade me to leave the hospital at all. Since all this was happening in the hospital, I demanded that they resolve the matter. They resolved all other matters there anyway, they had the sole responsibility. Vesna Bosanac told me that the guardsman who beat me and his friends were heros, freedom fighters for their homeland and that they found a cassette tape in my house with Serbian songs on it. I hadn't been in my house since August 25.
Njavro told me then threateningly that "this is a time of war, we can do without anybody". After that, they began interrogating me, they would come for me at 2 AM, and they would interrogate my wife as well.
I was interrogated by one "Bobo" from Lovas, a member of the [Croat] national guard special police. I stress that I tried to run away sometime in October, however, during the actual attempt I was wounded lightly and was returned to the hospital where I continued working, given that I was not seriously hurt. With the exception of this attempt, I practically did not leave the hospital at all from October 25 1991, as I was forbidden to do so by Dr. Njavro and Dr. Bosanac, so I could not leave the hospital premises.
At nights, armed guardsmen used to come to the hospital; among other things, they also had snipers and they climbed onto the hospital roof. Personally, I did not hear them firing because I was in the cellar shelter-operating room, since I was operating all the time. However, I heard that they had been firing from the hospital roof. I was present when Dr. Kust, an anesthesiologist who came from Zagreb, a Croat by nationality, objected and protested with Dr. Bosanac asking her "Why don't you forbid firing from the hospital roof?"
Snipers used to come and climb to the hospital roof and descend from it when the night fell. Sometimes, they were there in early morning hours; when an airplane bomb fell on the hospital we were informed that someone previously fired on the plane from the hospital roof. That's what colleagues from the hospital who heard that said. In front of the hospital from the park and from the yard of "Elektroslavonija" near the hospital, guardsmen fired from their cannons on the army positions. After that, shells fell on them from the positions they fired at and some of those shells hit the hospital.
Initially, Dr. Njavro was charged exclusively with admittance and processing of guardsmen and policemen. However, later on, when there were more and more of them, those of them who were more seriously injured were operated on by Dr. Njavro and myself, and we were assisted by other doctors in their processing.
There were occasions when a [Yugoslav Army] soldier or a territorial were admitted to the hospital. By Njavro's orders, they were taken to a special room. Only Dr. Njavro and a nurse who had to be of Croatian nationality had access to that room. All soldiers and territorials were operated by Dr. Njavro and he commanded that room to which they were taken. Ethnic Serbians were not allowed into that room.
While I was there, I positively know of three soldiers or territorials of ethnic Serbian background who were admitted into the hospital. They were transported there from some shelter in the municipal building. One was brought in with injuries in the region of his left ear and nose and with similar light injuries. I saw him personally. He was accompanied by a guardsman from the special police, tall, slim, in camouflage uniform, blond. When he brought the man in, he said: "This one's a chetnik, he killed some 30 people, he should be liquidated at once". I assume they beat him after admittance to the hospital. The man was quiet, he behaved in a dignified manner, as if he was resolved to his fate. I assume he was processed by Dr. Njavro, since his injuries were light. He was recorded in the Admittance Log, this log was kept by Pero.
After two or three hours of his admittance, one of the guardsmen came in for more bandages which he took to the room where the territorial was taken. I assume they beat him because he had already been processed medically. The man was murdered the same evening and thrown into the Danube. I was told this by the hospital staff. The page with his name on it taken upon admittance to the hospital was torn out, I was shown this by Pero. He doesn't know who tore the page out. Both the Croatians and the Serbians quietly said that this territorial had "gone down the Danube". I really never saw that man again. It was a tall man, with a long face, bony, dark haired, when I saw him he was already changed, I don't know what kind of uniform he wore. That was late in October. Some of our janitor women and nurses recognized that member of the territorials-Yugoslav Army and told me that he had worked before as a waiter."
Asked by the Investigating judge whether the man's name was Nedeljko Turukalo, the witness stated that he could not answer the question because he never learned the man's name.
"Beside the above case, it is known to me that a soldier wounded in the region of his leg and stomach was also admitted to the hospital. He was processed by Dr. Njavro. As I was told later by nurses present at that time, Dr. Njavro let this soldier die on the [operating] table because he didn't tackle the closing of the blood vessel, but went to the stomach first, so the wounded soldier bled to death. I don't remember any more which nurse told me that. I don't know any other details about this soldier, all this happened about ten days before Vukovar was liberated, which is to say on November 9 or 10.
In connection with the third case, I can state that a young soldier was admitted to the hospital, about 19 years of age, tall, lean, by the name of Boban. He was left without father and mother early in life, I think he was from southern Serbia. He was injured in several places, Dr. Njavro operated on him and he was put in the shock room. Four days after the operation I went visiting my patients and by accident that soldier talked to me and said his leg hurt. He complained of pain in his left leg. I noticed that the leg was dying out, seeing symptoms of gaseous gangrene. Njavro put him on the operating table at once and the soldier died during operation (amputation of the left leg). I don't know of any details of this operation. The medical staff talked among themselves and said that Dr. Njavro paid insufficient attention to that patient and failed to note the symptoms of gangrene in time. Njavro had unlimited power. He operated exclusively on soldiers and did all visits to where they were accommodated.
I tried to change some of this via Dr. Vesna Bosanac, I kept telling her that we must do something to stop this from happening, and she told me that all we had to do was hold out for three days and Croatia would be free.
Already on November 17, guardsmen and policemen started arriving at the hospital in civilian clothes. They started dressing in white hospital uniforms and at a rough estimate, I'd say there were about 200 of them. Also coming to the hospital were large groups of ethnic Croatian civilians. A room in the hospital contained about 300 rifles. That was the X-ray room. However, just before the arrival of the army, these weapons were taken somewhere. Everywhere in the hospital, guns were hidden. All hospital employees had special passes with their picture and title on it. This was used to determine who was employed full time, and who used the white cloak to try and get out of Vukovar. They all expected to be evacuated as hospital staff.
Among other people, a man called "Srna" ("Elk"), a [Croat] guardsman, also came to the hospital; his wife was an instrument assistant by the name of Ljiljana. She had left Vukovar long before that. Upon his earlier visits to the hospital, Srna used to say "soldiers had no business surrendering, they should be shot on the spot".
Njavro and Vesna Bosanac also prepared the medical documentation for evacuation. I know that they included in this documentation as dead members of the guard and police who were known by their crimes throughout Vukovar, even though these men were alive. One packed carton of medical documentation was found to contain death certificates and ID cards of guardsmen who were alive.
In connection with Toma Jakovljevic, the plaster man, I can state that he was taken to the hospital straight from his home the day after he was wounded. His leg below his knee was amputated, since his foot had been blown apart. With Toma was his wife. However, Dr. Njavro ordered his evacuation from the hospital since his wound had been processed. Toma spoke to me and said: "Doctor, they want to transport me, help me." I replied that I don't dare even suggest it, since they would liquidate both him and me, and it would surely be much worse for him. He was taken away from the hospital between November 5 and 10, I don't know who took him away. However, later on after Vukovar was liberated, I learnt that both he and his wife were murdered.
In connection with patient Branko Stankovic I can say nothing because I don't remember such a patient."
The witness was shown the medical records and the available photographs, and after examining them, the witness stated:
"It is easy to note that medical records make no note of the wound on the left side of the pectoral region, although this wound is easily seen on the photographs. We have the first diagnosis which fails to mention that wound and a subsequent diagnosis which also makes no mention of that wound, written by Dr. Njavro. Both were written by Dr. Njavro because that is his handwriting.
In connection with Jovic Sasa and two other soldiers found in the hospital, I can state that the army knew about them because Jovic was forced by Dr. Vesna Bosanac to call general Raseta to tell him not to shoot at the hospital. They had to leave them alive, they didn't dare liquidate them because the army knew about them.
I don't know where and in which manner were army soldiers and territorials buried after being taken to the hospital, nor how many were there. Dr. Njavro took strict care of all that. I had no insight into any of that.
For now, I can say no more, however, there are many details of which one could speak, and I am ready, if there is need for it, and after I calm down a little, to speak more of this. That's all I can state at this time.
I don't want to read the record because I heard what was said and everything went on paper as I said it."
Interview closed at 15:00 hours.
Inquiry judge (signature)
Records clerk (signature)
A subsequent question of the judge was answered by the witness as follows:
"I don't remember the exact date, but it was possibly in late October or early November when the son of Dr. Vesna Bosanac was brought to the hospital, a young man of 18 in a guardsman's uniform. He was lightly wounded, he walked by himself and when he saw his mother Vesna he spread his arms wide and enthusiastically said to her: "Mama, I killed two chetniks!". This surprised me very much and I left the infirmary and so I don't know what they talked about after that. She tried to calm him down because he appeared to be euphoric."
* * * NOTES BY THE TRANSLATOR:
Croatian pieces of sranje is what they are, most of them.
Albright urges Bosnian refugee return
The United States Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, has urged the authorities in Bosnia-Hercegovina to speed up the return of war refugees to their homes, in line with the Dayton peace accords.
Speaking in the capital, Sarajevo on the second day of her visit to Bosnio, Mrs Albright expressed concern over the situation of refugees returning to their homes, and called for more Serbs and Croats to resettle in the city.
In an indirect reference to German policies on Bosnian refugees, she criticised countries that forced refugees to return to places where there was no security, no housing and no jobs.
The German Foreign Minister, Klaus Kinkel, strongly defended his country's decision to send thousands of refugees home, saying they were needed to rebuild Bosnia.
The US secretary of state accused Bosnian politicians of not doing enough to promote ethnic reconciliation and she called for more progress on implementing the Dayton peace agreement.
Madeleine Albright urged Serb voters to back candidates who support the Bosnian peace process at next month's general elections.
She was speaking on a visit to the town of Bijeljina after meeting the Bosnian Serb Republic President, Biljana Plavsic.
Ms Albright made it clear that America was willing to help only those in Bosnia who co-operate in implementing the Dayton peace agreement, which ended more than three years of warfare. She also signalled clear support for Ms Plavsic - who replaced the hard-line nationalist Radovan Karadzic - and other moderates.
Ms Albright urged the Croatian President, Franjo Tudjman, to improve the rights of the ethnic Serb minority in Croatia and do more to support the peace process in the former Yugoslavia.
American officials said she told Croatia that its inclusion in international groupings like Nato's partnership for peace depended on it guaranteeing equal rights to the Serb minority in Eastern Slavonia and encouraging the return of refugees.
Transition in Eastern Slovenia (1995 - 1998) Executive Summary
As a UN humanitarian agency in former Yugoslavia from 1992, the World Health Organisation had responsibility for health monitoring, nutrition evaluation, public health interventions, support to war victims, rehabilitation of health services and provision of medical equipment and supplies. During that time strategic thinking within EHA articulated a new principle 'Health as a Bridge for Peace 'which affirmed commitment to Health for All and its Renewal.1
From November 1995 the objectives of WHO's 'health to peace' work in Croatia and occupied zones were to facilitate the reintegration of the health sector in the East Slovenia region according to the principles of the Erdut agreement and to contribute to both reconciliation and sustainable peace. During the formal transition period under the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slovenia (UNTAES), WHO chaired the Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) on Health. Through the JIC, former adversaries including local Serbian leaders and the Croatian Ministry of Health were brought together to find a shared platform on improvements to the much disrupted local health system, and propose mechanisms for its absorption into the jurisdiction of Croatia.
UNTAES completed formal withdrawal from Eastern Slovenia in January 1998, and shortly afterwards WHO also left Croatia. This study seeks to evaluate the role of WHO in this period of transition and reintegration of Eastern Slovenia...... ............................
'All courts are now cleared of Serbs. There are no Serb judges or clerks.' For lawyers who practised outside the Croatian legal systemfrom 1991 - 1996 there is a re-registration fee of 10,000DM; this is a region of grossly high unemployment where average-to-good salaries are pegged at between 250DM and 350DM a month.
It is evident that ideas of equal presentation of language and religion in primary classrooms have collapsed completely. For a start current settlement patterns deem most villages to have clear majority groups. In mixed areas returnee vengeance has been targeted on minority teachers. As per higher education, (outside the JIC remit) Croatian language exams are now a prerequisite to university entrance. Students who studied from 1991 in E.S. using Cyrillic alphabet and spoken Serbian are at an immediate disadvantage, reason in itself for some families to move across the border and look east to linguistically compatible Novi Sad or Belgrade for higher education.
A OSCE survey of electrical employees for whom employment contracts were negotiated in 1996 reveals the following of the former work force:
30% have left for FRY
30% did not get Croatian documents
30 people died
Current jobs are held generally by Croats or non-Serb minorities within openings kept for Croat returnees.
Agriculture A small NGO which had successful greenhouse projects for refugee women and expertise in market gardening was informally approached about the relevant JIC, but barred from participation by the need for permission from above. Contracts negotiated re. the state agriculture collective are in disarray, with high unemployment levels (400 workers fired in August 1998 alone). According to a lawyer at the Baranja human rights centre there is 'manipulation of dates on contracts, claiming expired or out-of-date status and non-eligibility for health insurance or benefits.'
Meanwhile, small farmers wishing to purchase segments of land from this formerly nationalised venture are met with incomplete privatisation laws, lack of procedure and/or exorbitant prices to broker informal deals.
IV. Health JIC and Activities A detailed graph on the Health JIC objectives and findings may be found in Annex C of this study. The JIC on Health was described as an 'emotional and political hot potato'. This was partly due to the national significance of atrocities at Vukovar Hospital. In public perception doctors are seen as leaders and defactopolitical leaders. The head of the Serb Executive Committee was a doctor. The exiled director of Vukovar Hospital, Dr. Bosanac was elevated to the position of deputy Minister of Health in Croatia - before returning to JIC participation in the face of Serbian opposition to her presence.
The politics of health were highly personalised, and epidemiological data became acutely sensitive in light of propaganda and ideological usage. An outbreak of trichinosis in a local market, for example, was decried as conspiracy to poison the local population by a certain ethnic group. Data about the limitations of Serb-provided health services in Eastern Slovenia, prior to UNTAES, were interpreted by local Serb providers as an attempt to undermine their efforts to act professionally and maintain services despite hardship.
Just prior to the transitional period hard line Croat leadership announced on state media that they would 'clear all Baranja schools and hospitals of Serbian scum staff.'
Nothing short of personal animosity had to be overcome at the first meetings. (At one of the first meetings a Croat health worker said that the only Serb he would talk to would be one floating in the river.) Following this, the idea of 'counterparts' and eventually co-operation was established for agreed activities.
Community-based Physical Rehabilitation
With WHO support a centre for physical rehabilitation was opened in Osijek Hospital. But the strongest indictment against attempts at joint work in community-based physical rehabilitation is the fact that to date no such provision or centre exists in either Baranja or Srijem. A veteran in need of a prosthesis or a civilian disabled through land-mine injury (40 such cases in the village of Bjelo Brdo alone) is not likely to seek treatment on what is still perceived 'the other side.' Emotional blockages and physical transportation questions loom. This is another reason why many either move back to Serbia or seek treatment at centres in Belgrade.
V. Employment Rights
Nostrification is a term used to describe the process of ratifying earlier training in order to assure employment at level equivalent to training. It is argued that the nostrification system is employed by Croatia in order to screen those trained in other countries; now including FRY and other parts of the former Yugoslavia. It should be noted that prior to 1991 all training institutions in the former Yugoslavia had essentially the same programme and their degrees were accepted in all parts of the country. In the aftermath of the conflict, however, this requirement for nostrification, for degrees and training to be recognised, was seen as a mechanism for screening out Serb health professionals. A complex set of regulations and requirements is associated with the nostrification procedures.
In particular, nostrification affects young people who were not employed before 1991 and who took their state exams or higher diplomas in FRY. It is therefore perceived as being designed as a barrier 'specifically for the Serb population.' To re qualify, an individual must apply to three state institutes (professional, legal, and insurance) and sit exams in their main subject area, Croatian language, Croatian constitution, the law on health insurance, citizenship law and entitlement, etc. Undergoing this process requires time and money (fees) investment, with no guarantee of employment at the end of it. Another incentive to leave, to seek employment where qualification is already honoured and recognised.
Eighty-nine of the 620 staff at Vukovar hospital must undertake 'nostrification' (at the end of the two year general agreement, November '98) if they are to keep or obtain future jobs.
Likewise, all staff who wished to stay were absorbed into the new system as a result of the general agreement, albeit with 'temporary' contracts, six month renewable, for E.S. resident health workers (generally Serbian or minority).
Whereas in West Slovenia, (according to a UK Embassy official) 'At Packrac Hospital qualified Serbian nurses are not employed. Under qualified Croatian nurses are used instead.'
VUKOVAR, (Vjesnik/Vecernji List): The 152 employees of the Vukovar Hospital whose work contracts expired on October 31 were notified on Wednesday that the contracts would not be extended. Since these are mainly Serb employees, Independent Serb Democratic Party (SDSS) president Vojislav Stanimirovic announced on Wednesday he would seek urgent talks with Health Minister Zeljko Reiner.
It is incorrect that 152 citizens of Serb nationality have been dismissed, Hospital manager Vesna Bosnac said. 'Work contracts have been discontinued with people with whom they could not be extended for various reasons', she said.
'Part of the people (we had on staff) during the integration of the (Croatian) health system must, in line with Minister Reiner's instructions, be returned to the hospitals from which they came to Vukovar. There are also those who do not qualify, or who haven't validated their diplomas', Bosanac said.
She added that this was a legal procedure and not an instance based on revenge or national background.
The economy is slowly changing to a market-based free enterprise system...industry is still largely state controlled. The Government's privatization program came under increasing criticism for allotting shares in prime enterprises to those loyal to the ruling party....
The Government's human rights record remained poor, although significant improvement was seen in certain areas. It continued to allow serious abuses, particularly regarding the treatment of ethnic Serbs. The Government has still not established adequate civil authority in the former occupied areas (the Krajina and Western Slavonia), and the police were unwilling or unable to take effective action against criminal activity against ethnic Serbs. Looting and threats were common. Beatings and murders still occur, although less frequently than in the past. The response by police was often apathetic, and the Government made little or no effort to seek out, investigate, and punish those responsible for such abuses. Cases of abuse from 1995, the victims of which were almost exclusively ethnic Serbs, remained mostly unresolved.
According to credible reports, the police occasionally beat persons. The Government does not always respect due process provisions for arrest and detention. The judicial system is subject to executive influence, and the Government carried out a purge of judges and state attorneys that further called into question the independence of the judiciary. The courts are burdened by a huge case backlog and sometimes deny citizens fair trials.
While in general the Constitution and laws provide for a broad range of human rights, in practice the Government continued to implement the law in a discriminatory fashion. The Government infringed on press freedom and used the courts and administrative bodies selectively to shut down or restrain newspapers and radio stations that criticized the Government. Government intimidation induced self-censorship by journalists. The Government exercised provisions of the Criminal Code that allowed it to prosecute those who insult high officials in the press or who make statements which might cause public instability (at times subjectively defined to allow judicial action against opinions contrary to the ruling party). The right of association was circumscribed by a new law in June. In two sets of elections, the Government seriously infringed upon the right of citizens to change their government freely by its almost total control of the electronic media. It also used manipulation of laws, harassment, and economic pressure to control the political process.
Although significant progress was made in the provision of citizenship documents to ethnic Serbs in Eastern Slavonia, the last remaining Serb-held enclave, the Government refused to allow ethnic Serbs who had fled Croatia during the military conflict in 1995 to return or vote, effectively exiling and disenfranchising at least 180,000 people. Military and police forces, contrary to officially stated government policy, continued to carry out forced evictions, although fewer than in previous years. Local officials also allowed ethnic Croat refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia-Montenegro to dispossess ethnic Serb property owners. The record of cooperation by government authorities with international human rights and monitoring organizations was mixed. Violence and discrimination against women remained problems. Discrimination in the administration of justice, housing, and jobs against ethnic Serbs and against those who were not members of the ruling party was common. Isolated incidents of ethnically motivated killings and mob violence occurred. Roma also faced discrimination.
The United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES) maintained executive authority for the region through January 15, 1998, when the United Nations Security Council concluded that sufficient progress toward reintegration had been made and ended UNTAES mandate. By August the Government had provided citizenship documents to over 145,000 ethnic Serbs in the region, a significant number of whom were Croatian Serbs, now refugees in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ("FRY") and Bosnia and Herzegovina, who came across the porous border with Yugoslavia to apply. The Government issued employment contracts for Serbs working in enterprises and public offices that were reintegrated into the Croatian system, thereby boosting local Serbs' confidence in their future in the region. Elections for local governments and the upper house of Parliament were held in April and presidential elections were held in June, simultaneously in the region and in the rest of Croatia. A significant number of ethnic Serb representatives were elected to local government bodies. While police remained under the control of UNTAES, they were increasingly brought into alignment with the Ministry of Interior.
Following the April elections, an ethnic Serb assistant minister of interior was appointed. Most significantly, by September some 8,000 Croatian Serbs had left UNTAES region for their homes in other parts of Croatia, and approximately 1,500 Croats had returned to their homes in Eastern Slavonia. Overall freedom of movement into and out of UNTAES region increased significantly.
While senior government leaders were cooperative, some government officials and local offices often refused to carry out central government directives. Increased access to the Danubian region led to a growing number of incidents of harassment of the ethnic Serbs living in the region by ethnic Croats, although these incidents are small in number compared to the large numbers of people moving back and forth. A significant number of these incidents of harassment were carried out by Croatian members of the Transitional Police Force or local Croatian officials. Ethnic Croat police officers at times were biased in their treatment of ethnic Serbs in the region.
Last census 1991: 4,784,265 inhabitants. 78,1% Croats; 12,2% Serbs (estimate 1995: under 8%); 43,500 ethnic Muslims; 22,400 Slovens; 22,400 Hungarians; 21,300 Italians; 13,100 Czechs; 12,000 Albanians et. al. ? Refugees end of 1996: 185,000 internal refugees; 300,000 in the FRY; 160,300 from Bosnia-Herzegovina; 6700 from FRY.
4 May 1995: The UN Security Council criticizes Croation actions against Serb citizens in Pakrac and condems the Croatian Serbs for attacking Zagreb.
4 August 1995: The Croatian Army lauches an offensive (operation ?Oluja" [storm]) against the ?Serb Republic of Krajina" and takes over the city of Knin. It occupies all Serb-held territories in Croatia except Eastern Slavonia. At least 120,000 Serbs flee to the Serb-held territories in northern Bosnia (around Banja Luka), to Eastern Slavonia or to Serbia.
9 September 1995: The Croatian Army joins the offensive of army of the Bosnian-Croat Federation against Serb-controlled territories in northern and western Bosnia. After the 10 October armistice in Bosnia-Herzegovina the Croatian army pulls out of Bosnia.
14 December 1995: After 3,5 years the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina is officially ended by the Dayton Peace Agreement in Paris. It is signed by the presidents of Bosnia, FRY and Croatia. The state leaders of the Contact Group for Bosnia ? The United States, France, Russia, Great Britain and Germany sign the document as witnesses.
9 January 1996: The UN Security Council criticizes Croatia for human rights violations, demands the protection of human rights of the Serbs in Krajina and demands the extradition of alleged Croatian war criminals to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.
15 January 1996: The UN Security Council sends approx. 5000 soldiers and civilian monitors to the former Serb Republic of Krajina to control the transition of the area into Croat administration. Demilitarization of Krajina is completed by 20 June.
14 March 1996: The Council of Europe's Political Committee sends Croatia a 21-item list of admission criteria that is to be signed by Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and Croatia's parliamentary chairman by 19 March if Croatia is to enter the organization in April. The list is detailed and specific, including references to freedom of the media and democracy in electing the mayor of Zagreb.
7 April 1996: Tax authorities have presented the country's only independent daily, Rijeka's Novi list -- Croatia's third-largest and only independent daily paper, with a bill for DM 4 million. Opposition groups charge that the move is an attempt to crush what little press freedom there is in Croatia. The tax bill recall the earlier attempt to drive the independent weekly Feral Tribune out of business with a pornography tax. The measures come on the heels of two new major restrictive pieces of legislation and the impending closure of the independent Zagreb radio station "101."
25 April 1996: Croatia's application to become a member of the Council of Europe is approved by the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe. International journalists nonetheless call attention to the government's hounding of the independent media.
3 May 1996: Croatian police interrogates Viktor Ivancic -- editor of the satirical weekly Feral Tribune, one of the few independent mass circulation periodicals in Croatia. The move appears to be yet another effort by President Franjo Tudjman and his governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) to silence criticism. The authorities earlier tried to shut down Feral Tribune by imposing a "pornography tax," which they were later forced to drop under international pressure.
14 May 1996: Foreign ministers of the 39-member Council of Europe vote to delay action until the end this month on Croatia's application for membership. They cite Zagreb's failure to act on a 21-point program on democracy and human rights that it had agreed on with the council in April. Spokesmen add that specific issues included press freedom, the status of the Zagreb city council, cooperation with the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, and the reunification of Mostar. Croatia's application had already been approved, first by a committee and then on 24 April by the parliamentary assembly. Many in Strasbourg are angry with the Croatian government's moves since 24 April against the independent media and the opposition-dominated Zagreb council.
11 June 1996: Representatives of the Croatian Helsinki Committee (HHO) inform the public that the conference "Serbs in Croatia--yesterday, today, tomorrow," which was scheduled for the end of June, will be canceled due to the campaign against it by the Croatian state-run media. The conference was labeled by the media as anti-Croatian and boycotted by the state authorities, the opposition, and the church, who share the government's negative attitude regarding the return of Serbs to Croatia.
25 June 1996: UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali submits a report to the Security Council that criticizes the human rights situation in Croatia. Since the UN's last critical report on the situation in Croatia, published in February, Ghali says that there has been no improvement either in investigating numerous human rights violations, particularly in sectors formerly held by Serbs, or in the repatriation of the 200,000 Croatian Serbs who fled to rump Yugoslavia after the Croat offensive in Krajina in summer 1995
25 September 1996: Proceedings begin again in Zagreb against Viktor Ivancic, the editor in chief of Feral Tribune, and Marinko Culic, who writes for the same outspoken satirical weekly. The trial resumes after a three-month break in what is widely seen as a test for the new press law, which allows the government to silence and jail journalists by claiming that they slandered high officials or revealed "state secrets." The two men are accused of defaming President Franjo Tudjman, international media noted. Croatia has been warned by the Council of Europe and other international bodies that the new law is unacceptable if that country wants to join European institutions.
6 November 1996: Croatia becomes the 40th member of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Membership was first approved in April, then delayed in May in an unprecedented decision over misgivings about Croatia at home and abroad. In October, the Council agreed to admit Croatia, citing its cooperation with Bosnia's peace accord, improvement of human rights and a "satisfactory" record of cooperation with the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia.
November 1996: The Croatian government gives Radio 101's broadcasting concession to the rival station but later backtracks on the move after 100,000 people demonstrate against it in Zagreb.
12 December 1996: The European Parliament passes a resolution expressing deep concern at the government's treatment of the independent Zagreb radio station Radio 101. The resolution calls on Croatia to "renew Radio 101's permit to broadcast before it runs out on 15 January 1997."
15 May 1997: US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright sharply criticizes Croatia's policies toward returning Serb refugees at her meeting in Washington with Foreign Minister Mate Granic. She stresses that Croatia will not be accepted into Western political and other institutions unless it fulfills its obligations under the Dayton accord.
25 May 1997: President Franjo Tudjman tells state-owned media in Zagreb that his country promises to reintegrate the Serbs of eastern Slavonia. He adds, however, that it is "unreasonable" for foreigners to insist that all Serbs who fled Croatia be allowed to go home. On 23 May, ambassadors from the Contact Group countries delivered a formal protest in Zagreb over Croatia's treatment of its ethnic Serbs.
15 June 1997: Tudjman is re-elected president. OSCE charges that the presidential vote day is "fundamentally flawed."
27 June 1997: An alleged war criminal is arrested in eastern Slavonia by researchers of the ITCY who are supported by the UN transitory administration. Slavko Dokmanoviæ, former mayor of Vukovar, is said to be responsible for the killing of 261 people in November 1991.
June 1997: Croatia is represented in the Venice Biennial by Dalibor Martinis (commissioner: Berislav Valu?ek).
15 July 1997: Croatian control is restored in Eastern Slavonia. One day earlier, the UN Security Council voted in New York to extend the mandate for the United Nations Transitional Administration in Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES) for six months. The mandate was slated to end on 15 July, when full Croatian control was to have been restored.
18 September 1997: The UN Security Council expresses concern at the Croatian government's "lack of substantial progress" toward creating conditions for the repatriation of Serbian and other refugees to Eastern Slavonia and the devolution of executive authority to the region. The Security Council calls on Zagreb to remove administrative and legal obstacles to repatriation and take measures to integrate repatriates into economic and social life. The statement also calls on Croatia "to cooperate fully" with the international tribunal investigating war crimes in former Yugoslavia.
14 - 18 October 1997: ?Public Body ? a Week of Performance" takes place in Zagreb. It is organized by the Soros Center for Contemporary Art - Zagreb in collaboration with A Casa / At Home / Doma - Independent Art Project, Zagreb.
23 October 1997: Stipe Suvar, a former leader of the League of Communists of Croatia, says in Zagreb that he has founded the Socialist Workers Party of Croatia (SRPH) and that the party will hold its founding congress on 25 October.
12 December 1997: The lower house of the Croatian parliament passes a package of constitutional amendments that Tudjman proposed in November. But the final version of the law names some 10 ethnic minorities, which Tudjman's proposal did not. Slovenes, however, are not included among those named. According to official Croatian statistics, some 54,000 ethnic Slovenes live in Croatia. The new amendments do not mention Muslims or Albanians by name, either. Slovenia calls the exclusion of the Slovenian minority unexpected and disturbing and says Zagreb's move will prompt Ljubljana to reconsider its support for Croatian membership in European bodies.
11 November 1997: Local trains begin running between the two former Yugoslav republics for the first time since 1991. The line connects Vinkovci with Sid. Direct trains between Zagreb and Belgrade will start in May 1998
6 January 1998: Bosnian government officials say in Sarajevo on 6 January that Croatian officials have said a reference to a Muslim minority was dropped from recent amendments to the Croatian Constitution because Muslims are not "native" to Croatia but have migrated there in recent times. The amendments also dropped any reference to a Slovenian minority, presumably on the same grounds. Representatives of Croatia's large Muslim and Slovenian minorities argue that those populations have long lived in Croatia. They fear that the constitutional change means the minorities will lose cultural and other rights.
15 January 1998: Full Croatian control is restored in eastern Slavonia.
16 February 1998: The 11 ambassadors monitoring the reintegration of eastern Slavonia into Croatia issue a statement in Vukovar in which they note "the growing feelings of insecurity in the Serbian community" since the region formally reverted to Croatian control last month. The ambassadors add that Croatia has not made noticeable progress in correcting that problem. Local Serbs have charged that Croatian former residents of the area often return and intimidate Serbs who live in the Croats' former homes.
24 February 1998: Milorad Pupovac, Vojislav Stanimirovic and Milos Vojnovic, who are leaders of Croatia's Serbian minority, say in statement that they will leave joint bodies aimed at promoting the reintegration of eastern Slavonia into Croatia unless Serbs stop fleeing the region and unless incidents that the Serbs regard as provocative cease.
2 July 1998: The Security Council says that "ethnically related incidents, evictions, and housing intimidation cases" have been on the rise recently in eastern Slavonia, which returned to Croatian administration in January. "A continuation of this trend could have a seriously negative effect on the restoration of a multi-ethnic society in the Republic of Croatia," the text concludes
14 September 1998: The office of the OSCE in Zagreb says in a report to the Croatian government that Croatia has not met its international commitments aimed at winning the confidence of the ethnic Serbian minority and encouraging Serbian refugees to return home. The text adds that Croatia must take "urgent measures" aimed at encouraging pluralism in the media and reforming its electoral laws if it is to achieve further integration into Euro-Atlantic structures.
25 March 1999: Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa tells the government that Croatia supports the NATO air strikes but wants guarantees for its security from NATO and the U.S.
8 April 1999: The Croatian government says in a statement that it is concerned that NATO's attacks on Serbian targets will damage the Croatian economy by discouraging tourists from visiting the region. Tourism and shipping are key earners of hard-currency for Croatia. Tourism Minister Ivan Herak says in Zagreb on 26 April that the government will spend an additional $10 million to help the tourist industry minimize its losses stemming from the reluctance of many tourists to travel to Croatia on account of the Kosova crisis. Herak says that the tourist industry expects losses of up to 50 percent compared with 1998.
10 April 1999: The government approves a $2.6 million humanitarian aid package for Kosovar refugees in Albania and Macedonia. Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa says that his country already provides a home for 5,000 Kosovar refugees and can only take in an additional "limited number." He stresses that Croatia still houses 90,000 refugees and displaced persons from the Croatian and Bosnian wars of 1991-1995.
20 April 1999: Croatian police arrests Dragisa Cancarevic in Vukovar. He is the head of the local police in Borovo Naselje. The ethnic Serbian police officer is suspected of committing war crimes in Vukovar during the 1991-1995 war.