MASS GRAVES AND OTHER ATROCITIES IN BOSNIA
US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Wednesday, DECEMBER 6, 1995
Chairman SMITH. Dr. Wolf, thank you for that very
disturbing testimony. You have reminded us what kind of
atrocities we are actually talking about when we see it in
black and white and in color. I'd like to begin the
questioning and then yield to my colleagues for any
questions they might have.
Mr. Rohde, you mentioned earlier that, when you were
held by the Bosnian Serbs, some of your guards with whom
you had contact were obviously more decent than others.
They weren't into intimidation. They even gave you a heads-
up that things might turn out well for you. We've heard
over and over that all of the Bosnian Serbs are not acting
with the same kind of impunity in this war, and that there
are some who really believe that these atrocities are not
Now, Hitler had his SS, he had his storm troopers, and
he had people who committed atrocities as a matter of
course. General Mladic-and Mr. Lupis, you might want to
speak to this as well-must have a very elite group or corps
of people who are given to these kinds of atrocities, who
will follow orders to the letter, dotting the i's and
crossing the t's, and doing the kinds of terrible things
that we see here.
Is there evidence that those people are being
identified? I know there have been a few names handed down,
including Mladic, in terms of indictments. Are we gathering
evidence that indicates there is a core group of Bosnian
Serbs that committed the bulk of these atrocities? Mr.
Lupis, would you want to start on that?
Mr. LUPIS. Yes. As a matter of fact, during this
investigation, we've been trying to piece together a chain
of command linking the soldiers in the field who committed
these crimes and continue up the ladder until we get to
In this case, for the Srebrenica offensive, most of
the hard work has been cut out for us because General
Mladic was witnessed, was seen at many of these massacre
sites. The real problem now is to try to get the chain
established between the infantrymen and Mladic. Human
Rights Watch, in the last few days, has been successful in
obtaining information, names of Bosnian Serb commanders who
operated during this offensive and who gave the orders to
The harder thing right now is to establish precisely
who from Serbia proper-what military people from Serbia
proper, what soldiers from Serbia proper-were involved,
because there's strong evidence to support that troops from
Serbia proper were also used in this offensive.
We collected many testimonies. People said they'd seen
Serbian troops in Serbian uniforms, distinguishable mainly
by accents. The Serbian accent is very different from the
Bosnian accent. Also, the U.N. reports that Mazowiecki
published also collected testimonies of people seeing
Serbian troops involved in this offensive.
So right now, we have a pretty good picture of who's
involved from the Bosnian Serb side. The more difficult
question now is to see if we can determine who was involved
in Serbia proper.
Chairman SMITH. Mr. Rohde?
Mr. ROHDE. I heard the same thing from survivors
regarding Serbian accents and that kind of thing. And
experts I've talked with over there-U.N. officials, various
military officials-feel that President Milosevic of Serbia
has one of the best intelligence organizations in the
former Yugoslavia. He has very close ties. Serbians are
able to slip into Bosnian Serb territory, so it's very
possible that he knew these executions were going on but
did nothing to stop them.
Chairman SMITH. Given the allegations of mass
executions which have been spoken about today-and we've
heard about previously-was there any attempt by the United
Nations, particularly as related to the safe haven
Srebrenica, to investigate those mass executions as they
Mr. LUPIS. Well, the role of the United Nations is
problematic in the fact that the United Nations Dutch
battalion in Srebrenica was in a very difficult situation:
undermanned and unable to protect the enclave from this
The problem that Human Rights Watch has with the
United Nations' role is that even if they were helpless in
stopping this from happening, there was crucial information
which was not released in a timely fashion. The Dutch
peacekeepers witnessed some of these atrocities taking
place, and instead of radioing it out real-time, these
allegations and stories started coming out a few days after
the fall of Srebrenica.
Now, Mazowiecki, the U.N. human rights rapporteur, had
written up a report based on testimonies taken from people
investigating the role of the U.N. troops there; and it has
caused waves in Holland. The Dutch Government has
apparently suppressed information, a list of men who were
turned over to the Serbs.
If you would like to read about this more in detail,
it's in our report, but right now, the U.N. is really
trying to feel out what it can do to explain this lack of
action taken by it, and as a result of the Srebrenica
debacle, Mr. Mazowiecki resigned his post in, I think, late
August, early September.
Mr. ROHDE. There's just one thing. I also went to
Holland and spoke to some of the peacekeepers who were in
the enclave themselves, and they spoke of being very
frustrated about being outmanned, outgunned, and almost
being given an impossible mission to do. And the specific
thing was that there was a list of, I believe, 142 men -
239, sorry-who were inside the U.N. enclave and ordered by
the Dutch to leave.
As they left, they were separated from their families
and taken away. All of those men are missing, and one of
the survivors that I spoke to said he was also at Potocari,
which leads me to believe that those men may very well be
in the grave that I found near the village of Cajnice.
Chairman SMITH. Let me ask one final question before
yielding to Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Lupis, I think this issue will
especially apply to you as a researcher for a human rights
organization. Mr. Rohde and Dr. Wolf, you also may want to
go back to some of the places that you have visited. Do you
believe that you will have access, unfettered access, to
the sites where suspected mass graves and other kind of
atrocities may have been held by all three sides?
Mr. ROHDE. I believe, according to the peace
agreement, journalists do not have unfettered access to
Bosnian Serb territory.
Mr. LUPIS. Yes, and this would be a good opportunity
to call the Serbs' bluff and promise access to these graves
under the Dayton peace agreement. I believe IFOR, the
Implementation Force, has unrestricted access to any place
in Bosnia-Herzegovina. This would be a good opportunity to
bring human rights groups, as well as forensic experts,
along with IFOR troops, to the massacre sites.
I believe eastern Bosnia, where Srebrenica is, falls
under U.S. jurisdiction, so a timely action would be to
deliver a forensic team and a human rights team to be
escorted to these sites by U.S. troops as soon as the
Dayton peace agreement is signed.
One thing I think David said before, which may be
dangerous, is that when he was captured, his maps of the
sites were confiscated from him and, as well, his pictures
were developed. Something like this should be done in a
hurry; otherwise, the Bosnian Serbs would be able to dig up
these graves and remove the bodies. I believe they've
started in one place already.
Chairman SMITH. If I could follow up, is there
something that should be coordinated with Justice Goldstone
and his prosecutors, or is it something that would be done
independently? How would you work that? Dr. Wolf, how did
you work yours?
Dr. WOLF. Well, our trip was under the auspices of
AmeriCares and in collaboration with the Split Medical
Center. There are several forensic teams in place, a team
in Split, a team in Zagreb. They have all of the knowledge
and techniques, including DNA technology, to do the
identification process, but basically we are talking about
just a few forensic pathologists and dentists.
So I think we would need both the resources, in terms
of monetary resources, as well as assistance from other
forensic experts. They are certainly very appreciative of
any forensic help in that regard.
Chairman SMITH. Mr. Lupis, how does your information
make its way to Justice Goldstone? Do you work with him, or
do you feed them information?
Mr. LUPIS. No, we work independently. They have their
own investigators, and we have ours. But we work in a
parallel fashion. Whatever we uncover or discover we send
immediately to them just to help them build the cases for
the indictments. But it's a solid system.
So far, everything we've published since 1991-1992
about the war has been handed over to the International
Criminal Tribunal, so it's effective. I think they could do
a good job if they fully carried it out.
Mr. ROHDE. I just want to state that I don't work in a
parallel fashion with the War Crimes Tribunal. I just try
to get the information public and give it to the public. It
would be good, though, if this proposed trip you've talked
about would include journalists so they could also go, and
we don't have unfettered access; but I'm sure that there
are journalists who would volunteer to go along if there
were adequate security guarantees.
Chairman SMITH. I yield to the distinguished chairman
of the International Committee, Mr. Gilman.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Smith. I just wanted to
commend you and Senator D'Amato and members of the
Commission for conducting this hearing at this time. It's
very timely, and I hope that the evidence unearthed by our
investigators will get to the proper hands, the tribunal
that's examining the war crimes. Many of us in the Congress
are very much concerned about further pursuit of those war
crimes, that they not get buried in all of the paperwork
that's going on in trying to give some peace to that area.
Thank you, Mr. Smith. I regret I'm being called to another
Chairman SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Hoyer.
Mr. HOYER. Thank you very much. I want to thank all
three of you for your testimony, but much more important
than that, I want to thank you for the work you're doing.
In three different areas, you are critical players, making
sure that the cycle of vengeance and lack of justice and
redress of atrocities that I talked about will not occur.
Let me ask a few questions. Dr. Wolf, you indicated
that there were, in fact, pathologists on the ground in
Bosnia who are competent and capable of doing good forensic
Dr. WOLF. Very much so, and I think this was really an
example of science crossing political lines. The techniques
that we use in the United States were very much the same
techniques that they were using there, including the DNA
laboratory in Split .
Mr. HOYER. The problem, I take it then, is the volume
of work to be done and the scarcity of numbers there to do
Dr. WOLF. The volume of people to be identified, and
the lack of available information which aids in
identification. The forensic teams have done a tremendous
amount of work in gathering whatever information is
available about the missing persons. They have a data bank
and have gathered whatever dental or other medical
information about these missing persons, but in many cases,
because the entire towns are destroyed, there is very
little to use.
Traditionally with identification of a decomposed
body, we work with dental records, that sort of thing. In
many cases, those records aren't available there. So that
puts a greater need for DNA techniques. The laboratory in
Split has been up and running for about a year and they're
now expanding beyond traditional DNA, hopefully into the
more sophisticated mitochondrial DNA techniques.
I think that's going to become very important in this
process. In that way, samples from relatives can be used to
identify some of these missing people when other methods of
identification aren't available. Croatian scientists have
come to this country and spent time working with the
technologies. Our DNA experts, Dr. Lee, Dr. Schanfield, and
others, have looked at their work and the technology. The
capabilities are certainly there. It's resources and people
that are needed.
Mr. HOYER. Doctor, you have reflected upon the
identification of individuals who have been killed.
Obviously your job is not so much about identification, but
to determine why they were killed, particularly in trying
to make some connection with a criminal act, in this case,
a war crime.
Are you confident that we're going to be providing the
kind of forensics work that will be needed in the Hague?
Dr. WOLF. As you said, usually as a forensics
pathologist, my work is in dealing with a criminal
situation. In this case, with this particular trip, the
specific decision had been made not to look for evidence of
atrocities, although I think, obviously, the mass graves
themselves and the people in those graves, in some part,
speak for themselves. We didn't specifically examine the
bodies for torture or even cause of death. This trip was
purely for identification.
Mr. HOYER. Identification.
Dr. WOLF. It's work that certainly-looking for---
Mr. HOYER. Do you see the other happening?
Dr. WOLF. As far as our work goes, we made this trip.
We don't have specific plans to go back. It's certainly
being documented by the team that we worked with from
Split; but, at this point, they're overwhelmed with just
attempting to provide the families some closure. As I
mentioned, we're still identifying our remains being sent
back from Vietnam.
Mr. HOYER. Vietnam?
Dr. WOLF. And I think the feeling in Split was that
the people are well-aware of what's going on with
atrocities in that country and they're attempting to give
the families the ability to go on and just the overwhelming
numbers of missing people have-each body is not being
autopsied for evidence of torture or atrocities.
Mr. HOYER. I understand.
Dr. WOLF. We're only doing this for the purpose of the
Mr. HOYER. Thank you. Mr. Rohde, you mentioned on a
couple of occasions the gravesites which you had
identified, took pictures of, and talked to survivors. You
mentioned on a number of occasions determining whether
these were civilians or whether they were soldiers-that the
Serbs were claiming that these were soldiers.
Now, I wanted to follow up at that time and did not.
That may or may not be relevant. Obviously you can't kill
soldiers that have been captured and are unarmed and are no
longer combatants. It is a war crime to murder them and put
them in a mass grave as much as it is any other individual.
At that point in time, they're essentially subject to the
same protections that civilians are, as I understand it.
Was there a contention that these soldiers were killed
in battle? Is that the defense?
Mr. ROHDE. That is the Bosnian Serbs' explanation.
They say these were all soldiers killed in combat, and for
sanitary reasons, the bodies were collected from the areas
and put in these mass graves. But again, the evidence I
found contradicts that in terms of civilian clothes, and
all the evidence I found has buttressed the accounts of the
nine survivors who say civilians were executed.
Mr. HOYER. OK.
Mr. ROHDE. It's also important to point out that I
believe only a third of the men who fled the enclave were
armed. So the idea of combat going on is also difficult to
prove from that.
Mr. HOYER. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee is leaving
because she has another meeting to which I've also got to
go on Bosnia and on the peace agreement. But I appreciate
her being here.
Ms. JACKSON-LEE. Thank you. Appreciate your testimony.
Mr. HOYER. Mr. Rohde, you've testified, we've seen
pictures of the Dutch commanding general, as I recall,
raising a glass of wine or champagne with Ratko Mladic. I
had an opportunity to take that picture-it was on the front
page of the Washington Post-before the House of
I had a 1-minute observation, as scathing as I could
possibly muster, about raising a glass with a war criminal
and a murderer, Ratko Mladic. Why do you think Mladic
addressed these folks? Why do you think he was onsite?
Mr. ROHDE. I was told that at that meeting or one of
the meetings with the Dutch commander, the initial
meetings, Ratko Mladic had a pig brought into a hotel room.
He had a soldier cut the pig's throat and told the Dutch,
"you have to be able to watch this before we can talk." He
then told the Dutch he would shell the compound if they
resisted any efforts his troops made to take away the men
at the site.
So he was there. It was negotiations. There are
questions about the Dutch conduct, but to be fair, talking
to the Dutch people---
Mr. HOYER. I'm not so much questioning the Dutch
conduct. I was just offended by that picture and offended
by the action of that general. That aside, however, you
referred in your comments about his addressing those who
subsequently became the victims.
Mr. ROHDE. Yes.
Mr. HOYER. And represented to them they were going to
Mr. ROHDE. Consistently on at least four different
Mr. HOYER. Now, I'm wondering whether or not you had
discussions with folks who were there or who have analyzed
that situation in trying to establish this chain of command
and the connection between Mladic and Milosevic, and those
who actually inflicted the death blows or death shots or
however the death was brought.
Mr. ROHDE. He was only seen at the one site that I
visited. According to one survivor, he got out of the car
and watched as the executions were going on. At other
locations, he spoke to prisoners a few hours before the
shooting started. Again, everything else that survivor told
me matched perfectly in terms of the description of the
site and everything I found.
Mr. HOYER. And we have the names of those people? You
talked to one witness who saw Mladic observing the killing
Mr. ROHDE. Yes. Others put him at the site addressing
prisoners hours before they were executed.
Mr. HOYER. Mr. Lupis, how many witnesses do we have
that fall in that category in number?
Mr. LUPIS. How many witnesses who have seen Mladic?
Mr. HOYER. Yes.
Mr. LUPIS. I believe we talked to about six survivors
of the massacres, I think of which four had witnessed
Mladic at different sites. Two of them saw Mladic in the
Karakaj area and two other ones had witnessed him in the
Nova Kasaba area; he was addressing the civilians, telling
them that they would be taken care of and they would be
exchanged. And then after he left, they were massacred.
Up in the Karakaj area, he was apparently watching the
massacres as they took place.
Mr. HOYER. Mr. Lupis, do you know what kind of
protections are being accorded to those whom I would
perceive to be critical witnesses, as a result of the
critical nature of the testimony they could provide, I
would think, in great danger if they're in the area? Do we
know what protections are being accorded to them?
Mr. LUPIS. At the moment, the Bosnian Government is
taking all measures to make sure their safety is
guaranteed. They have already been relocated to private
homes, unknown to the public; and some of them are still in
Bosnia-Herzegovina. Others might have left, but at the
moment, I think they're quite safe. And also, once the
Dayton peace plan is signed, they'll fall into the-they'll
be in the American sector up north.
Mr. ROHDE. Just one thing to add. My Bosnian Serb
captors were very eager to know the names of the survivors
I had talked to, which is alarming in a sense; but I made
up fake Muslim names and did not name any of them. But the
Bosnian Serb police were extremely interested to know who
they were and where they were now.
Mr. HOYER. My suspicion would be that they would be
very interested because I would imagine they would get
pretty good rewards, in one way or another, maybe not
monetarily, but career-wise if they could identify and
silence these witnesses.
Chairman SMITH. Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. HOYER. Yes.
Chairman SMITH. If the gentleman will recall, that's
one of the issues that was raised in previous hearings by
some of our witnesses, that there was not enough money
allocated for witness protection. We ourselves raised that
with Justice Goldstone and offered our support to try to
get that amount of money boosted so that if anyone does
come forward with information, again, they're not liable to
be killed or in any way harmed. It's an excellent point.
Thank you for yielding.
Mr. HOYER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Last question, and
I've already taken more time than I should have and I
apologize to Mr. Porter who's waiting patiently to ask his
questions. I would like all three of you to comment from
your perspectives, which obviously are different, some more
long-term than others.
I made the observation in my statement-and I think
generally you have also implied this, if not said it
directly- that the importance of the war crimes tribunal is
that justice has to be obtained so we don't have a
continuing cycle of vengeance and violence. Could you
comment on the importance of bringing to justice those who
have perpetrated the acts which you have witnessed and
Mr. LUPIS. I think that is the fundamental principle
which must be carried out to the end. Many of these
atrocities which have been committed during this war have
come about as a result of unhealed wounds from World War II
when nationalists slaughtered various ethnic groups. When
Tito came into power, he just basically suppressed any talk
or any doings of resolving these issues.
Many people we talked to, especially Serbs, often
refer to crimes committed against them. The Muslims of
eastern Bosnia have suffered many massacres by the Serbs
over the years, and nothing has been addressed. And the
Croats as well have suffered. So by bringing these war
criminals to justice, I think it will help resolve some of
these feelings of complete loss and frustration and people
will be able to start the healing process.
Right now, the American-backed federation between the
Bosnian Muslims and the Croats is at a very critical
juncture, because these issues have not been resolved.
There are still war criminals on both sides, more so on the
Croat side, that have not been removed from positions of
power. And as long as they remain---
Mr. HOYER. May I stop you 1 second, Mr. Lupis?
Mr. LUPIS. Sure.
Mr. HOYER. When you say "both sides," you're talking
about the federation, so you're talking about Croats and
Mr. LUPIS. I'm talking about both sides in the
federation, the Croats and the Muslims. There are still
leaders who are war criminals who are in positions of power
who have not been removed and there can't be any
repatriation, any healing, while these people are still
there. So that's the most fundamental issue. For the Dayton
peace agreement to be successful, this is the first issue
that has to be addressed.
Mr. ROHDE. I can't really comment on the importance
issue. I can just tell you the evidence I had just speaking
to survivors from Srebrenica and going to some military
bases around that were filled with soldiers who had made it
through the woods. There are many Muslims calling for
revenge for what happened-many Muslims saying "My father
and my brother are dead," and they are going to carry out
justice of their own if justice is not carried out by
One of the more chilling stories survivors told of
these mass executions was that the Serbs would line up
these Muslims and would call them Bovia, which is a slur
for Muslims who fought with Fascist forces allied with
Germany in World War II. It was very clear that the
rationalization in the heads of these execution squads was
that they were carrying out revenge for World War II, 50
years later. The Serbs did suffer a tremendous amount in
World War II. So again, there's anecdotal evidence of the
possibility of what you're talking about.
Dr. WOLF. I think the basis of my trip, my experience
in Bosnia and Croatia, was really not to address the
question that you're asking. I was dealing with individual
families whose immediate concern was really whether their
husband or their son was alive or dead. Were they being
held prisoner somewhere and might be released? So I think
that for the people that I was dealing with, that was the
To answer the question that you're asking, I think,
clearly what we have seen is that it will happen again, it
can happen again. But my own experience there was not to
look at that question.
Mr. HOYER. Thank you, Dr. Wolf. Again, thank all three
of you and thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Porter.
Mr. PORTER. Mr. Chairman, let me thank you for holding
this hearing and for the focus that you've made on the
situation in Bosnia. I think it has been very helpful. I am
very sorry I didn't get here until perhaps halfway through
Mr. Rohde's presentation and didn't hear Mr. Lupis. I want
to ask one thing.
First, how were you allowed in? I guess you got in,
Mr. Rohde, and then were arrested or held?
Mr. ROHDE. Yes. Throughout the war, the Bosnian Serbs
have limited access to their territory to both human rights
groups and journalists. The first time I was in was in
August when I went to Nova Kasaba. I was in reporting
another story and without their permission went to these
The second time I went in, I had changed the date on a
Bosnian Serb press accreditation and used that to get
through checkpoints. It got me into this area. Again, the
Bosnian Serbs had denied access to anyone to the Srebrenica
area for 3 months, and I felt that action was warranted to
see what had really happened there.
Mr. PORTER. Mr. Lupis, did you go in there also? I
didn't hear any of your testimony unfortunately.
Mr. LUPIS. Unfortunately, Human Rights Watch, and I
think other human rights groups, have consistently been
denied access to Bosnian Serb-controlled territories. So
our job basically, the best we could do, was to travel to
the Tuzla area where many of these refugees were crossing
over. The people who trekked through the mountains crossed
over into Tuzla where most of the men, elderly, women, and
children were bused to.
From there, we basically went to the refugee camps and
attempted to interview people, trying to get their
accounts. It was a traumatic experience because many of
these people had just crossed over and they were still in
shock about what had happened.
The one important thing is, I think, in order for
something like the Dayton peace plan to work, is that all
territories in Bosnia-Herzegovina should be accessible to
human rights groups, to IFOR troops, in order to be able to
find out exactly what happened to everyone in the
At this moment, and during the history of the U.N.
presence in Bosnia, the majority of Western aid
organizations and Western efforts have been stationed in
federation territory, which is held by Croats and Muslims.
The Bosnian Serbs did not let many people into their
territory and that was the biggest problem.
Mr. PORTER. Am I correct, because I wasn't here-are
all the sites that we are talking about sites where the
perpetrators are Serb?
Mr. ROHDE. In terms of Srebrenica, yes, the alleged
perpetrators would be Bosnian Serbs; and I just want to
point out that President Milosevic of Serbia, according to
U.S. officials, has twice promised the United States that
there will be access to these graves since the peace talks
began in Dayton. He himself has promised that.
Mr. PORTER. Well, I want to go off the factual side.
It seems to me that unless the world does something about
this, that 50 years from now it will be the same story
again. It will be a Bosnian whose father or grandfather was
killed in a mass grave in 1992 or '3 or '4, putting someone
else in another mass grave.
If we look at what has happened even in recent history
to the Jews in World War II, where most of the world,
including our own country, did not help and certainly
didn't recognize even until almost the end of the war what
was happening, even though they apparently knew it. Looking
at Cambodia recently where millions of people died and
where one of our members said today that they were in
Cambodia and the first thing that was said to them by a
very perceptive Cambodian man was, "Where were you? Where
What's happened here in Bosnia, to a lesser extent
what is happening to the Kurdish people at the hands of the
Iraqis and Turks and others, how much of this is on our own
hands? How much have we a responsibility for having allowed
this to go on when we knew it was going on or at least it
seemed fairly evident fairly early?
And now, from your testimony, from other testimony
that we've heard, it's clear that it was widespread, that
it was repeated, that it was planned or premeditated in
some instances, it was decided at a high level. Let me have
your thoughts on that.
Mr. ROHDE. I can just say that-I think Mr. Lupis can
address this better, but from seeing the Dutch peacekeepers
on the ground here, the reason that enclave fell was a lack
of NATO air strikes to stop the Bosnian Serb attack. There
was no way the Dutch peacekeepers themselves could have
stopped that, and that was according to sources I spoke to
for an article I wrote about it.
You know, there was no political will there among the
international community, and also there was no will or not
a strong enough push from the United States to actually
have those air strikes carried out.
Mr. LUPIS. I'd like to answer your question in a more
general sense. I would like to comment that the whole
experience of the war in the former Yugoslavia, which
started in 1991 until the present, the tragic thing about
it is that the West was right there. Everywhere, from the
media, from television shots to the United Nations to
Western diplomats running in and out of the country. In
Bosnia-Herzegovina, the tragic thing is it's been happening
in front of our eyes and we keep on using the United
Nations as the vehicle by which we pass resolutions and we
do nothing about them.
This Srebrenica case is one of the greatest examples
of having Western presence right in the middle of it-in the
form of a United Nations safe area, and it was overrun.
Resolutions were passed, condemnations, those who have
committed crimes against humanity and that is proceeding,
although my understanding is that the NATO forces will not
have authority to apprehend or arrest those accused of war
crimes. So that is taken off the table.
What can we do in a broader sense about this, not just
Bosnia, but all of this genocide that goes on? What can we
do to change the apparent acceptance of it by the world?
And I don't mean that in an accusatory sense at all. I
think that every American has been deeply disturbed about
what they have seen and understood about what has happened
But what do we do beyond this? Do we pursue this
judicial direction only? Does Mr. Rohde write a book that
reaches to our soul? Does the U.S. Congress pass another
resolution? What are your thoughts?
Mr. LUPIS. Again, I think the most important thing is
to stop passing the buck to the United Nations. The
international community should stop relying on this
convenient bureaucratic machine to pass resolutions and not
act. I believe NATO, now being the legitimate military
leader in this post-cold war era, should formulate a
concise and clear mission in order to try to bring these
war criminals to trial. Now it's off the table that IFOR
can't apprehend these criminals. It's starting to sound
like another United Nations mission.
The War Crimes Tribunal should be supported by all
means so at least these war criminals can be tried and
accused and the people who have lost families will be able
to receive some kind of justice. Therefore, this would set
an example for other countries, other situations where the
International War Crimes Tribunal would have some
Mr. ROHDE. There is some talk, and I believe the
United States does support the formation of a permanent war
crimes tribunal that would exist permanently to address
these kind of situations. I really don't have an answer to
that and don't feel qualified to comment on it, but I can
just tell you anecdotally that the power of deterrence is
tough to measure. My Bosnian Serb captors were very
surprised to find me so far into their territory and that I
was able to get through their checkpoints. I think they
were shocked when the United States publicly released these
There's a case to be made in terms of deterrence. I
think one of the reasons they were convinced I was a spy
was because they themselves had to say only a spy could do
such a thing. So I just think they were very shook up by
where they found me, by these photos, and just
anecdotally, it seemed to have an effect on them and maybe
made them curtail some of their behavior.
It appears that executions of this size have not
occurred since these things were made public in August.
Mr. PORTER. It seems to me, and I thought this most
strongly at the time of the Nigerian Government's execution
of the Agani 9, including Ken Saro-Wiwa, that if the world
can react strongly and overwhelmingly at a situation like
that one to cut off-and this does not necessarily apply to
Bosnia because it's a different situation-but to cut off
all diplomatic, political, economic intercourse with such a
society until the government is changed, if we could speak
in a unified voice from Europe to Asia to North America and
South America and express our outrage in such a way that
the country is completely isolated. ..
We did this, of course, over a much longer period of
time in South Africa, and it finally proved its worth. But
if we could speak in that voice about these kinds of
horrible atrocities that shake all of us so much that there
would be a message to all others who would perpetrate them.
To the extent that we do not do that, to the extent
that Shell Oil Company says to the Nigerian Government,
"Don't worry about the World Bank. We'll make up the $100
million and the project will go ahead. We don't care that
you killed nine people. So what?" It seems that is exactly
the kind of thing that encourages this kind of conduct.
I think we've reached-we should have reached long
since, but we have reached a level of information-sharing
in a level of common humanity that we ought to learn how to
speak in one voice; and perhaps the United Nations isn't
the place to do it, but somehow we have to all rise up in
such righteous indignation about these things that they
can't happen again; that everything is brought to bear to
prevent them. And unfortunately, the world has just not
We can talk all we want in the United States about our
caring about human rights; but we know today that our
weapons supplied to the Turkish Government are used to
kill Kurds without trial, people who simply disappear,
whose homes are plowed under or they're driven from them;
and yet we don't put that at high enough priority.
I don't know if you want to comment on that. It's more
of a statement than a question, but feel free if you'd
Mr. LUPIS. In terms of Bosnia, the Dayton peace plan
seems to be the perfect opportunity to reverse the trend of
the last 4 years because with Rwanda and Bosnia, I think,
leaders around the world-nationalists who are thinking of
carrying out some similar campaigns as have been carried
out in the aforementioned countries-are feeling pretty
comfortable because so far, no international action has
been taken up that really changed the tide of these
Mr. Rohde and I had spoken earlier about, as soon as
the Dayton peace agreement is signed, immediately calling
the Serbs' bluff and bringing a forensic team with human
rights people and journalists to these grave sites.
Exposing these graves sites would, I think, help start
turning the mechanisms for the International War Crimes
Tribunal to issue more indictments and just get the ball
moving with the War Crimes Tribunal in general.
So the Dayton peace plan, I think, offers an
opportunity where we can reverse the last 4 years.
Mr. PORTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Porter. Before we
conclude, I'd like to ask one final question. Mr. Lupis, I
noticed that you used the word "calling their bluff" on two
occasions, and I heartily agree. One of the concerns that I
have-and this has been picked up at least by my staff and
myself for months now-that there are some within the United
Nations and some who are part of this process in the
international community who really don't want the War
Crimes Tribunal to succeed all that much.
Perhaps a few indictments, some show cases, and that's
it, put the atrocities behind us and move on. I think that
would be a travesty if that were the case. That's why I
think there are some at the United Nations particularly who
have made it very hard for Justice Goldstone to proceed.
From my perch as chairman of the International Operations
Subcommittee, we have tried to pressure the United Nations,
over which our committee has jurisdiction, as well as the
administration, really to be more aggressive, to make sure
sufficient funds are allocated in a timely fashion.
You know very well how damning the Shell study was in
terms of what evidence was being lost. I met with
administration officials earlier this week who told me they
don't have one shred of evidence on Milosevic in terms of
committing war crimes. I was astounded that this has not
been an ongoing fact-finding accumulative process, and I
was very disappointed, frankly, when the administration
official told me this.
As a Commission we are in the process of putting
together a letter that will ask a number of serious
questions about the War Crimes Tribunal as it relates to
IFOR. I'd like to point out, the Dayton agreement summary
that was provided to us by the State Department contained a
paragraph that states, "The agreement gives IFOR, the peace
Implementation Force, the authority and discretion to use
military force to prevent interference with the free
movement of civilians, refugees, and displaced persons, and
to respond appropriately to violence against citizens,
civilians. IFOR has the authority to arrest any indicted
war criminals it encounters or who interfere with its
mission, but it will not try to track them down."
A review of the text of the Dayton peace agreement,
its annexes, and its appendices, and the accompanying side
letters failed to locate anywhere in these texts a
provision or provisions conferring upon IFOR "the authority
to arrest any indicted war criminal it encounters."
In your read of the Dayton agreement, Mr. Lupis, have
you found anything that confers this capability upon the
IFOR to make these arrests? Because we haven't found it.
Mr. LUPIS. Actually I haven't read the fine print of
the whole agreement. My colleague back in New York has done
that and is issuing a critique shortly. But what you just
stated about IFOR not having the authority to seek out and
capture war criminals is disturbing, and I think that's
something that should be lobbied in order to change it
before the London conference coming up in a week.
Our organization is working actively to try to alert
member states of the United Nations, and the international
community to try to put some pressure on the relevant
players at the London conference to reverse this IFOR role,
because of the Dayton agreement. If IFOR will have this
diminished role, it will start to look a lot like the
United Nations operation in former Yugoslavia.
Chairman SMITH. I want to thank our very distinguished
witnesses for your outstanding testimony, for the good work
you do on behalf of humanity, the Bosnians in particular,
and for taking the time to come and present your testimony
to the Commission. The hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon at 3:48 p.m., the Commission adjourned.]