Bosnian women 'had to work in brothel': Robert Fisk hears how Serb rapists determined that Muslim women should 'have our little Chetniks'

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The Independent Online
DOCTORS and women rape victims in eastern Bosnia are providing the most detailed evidence so far of the systematic and organised rape of women during the Serbian campaign of 'ethnic cleansing' which began in August.

European Community officials have said that up to 20,000 Muslim women were raped in Bosnia. At least 95 out of 105 young women held at a rape camp at Kalinovik, south of Sarajevo, say they were gang-raped by members of the 'White Eagles' militia of Vojislav Seselj - the Serbian Radical Party leader who has been identified by the US government as a war criminal - with the specific purpose of making them pregnant.

Doctors in Mostar have amassed evidence - also given to the Independent by several victims - that Serb militiamen intended to make them pregnant when they embarked on a month-long assault against women inmates.

One woman held prisoner in the camp for two months has described how bearded Serb gunmen shouted 'You are going to have our children - you are going to have our little Chetniks' when they broke into the school gymnasium in which Muslim women were held. She said that women who were expecting babies were left unmolested 'because they could not be made pregnant'.

One prisoner kept a secret diary of the women's suffering in which she named the Serbs responsible. At least five young women, the youngest aged 16, were kidnapped by a named Serb paramilitary, Pero Elez, and sent to the town of Foca where, according to the women prisoners, they were set to work in a brothel.

The 95 female inmates of Kalinovik who were gang-raped throughout a 26-day period were later freed in exchange for Serb prisoners. Dr Senad Saric, a Mostar gynaecologist who was a doctor in the Bosnian town of Gacko, from which many victims came, says he has carried out seven abortions on raped women.

Dr Saric has completed a comprehensive list of the names and ages of every woman raped in the Kalinovik camp - perhaps the most detailed record yet compiled of the most evil aspect of Serbia's 'ethnic cleansing' in Bosnia - and copies of his documents have been made available to a US aid worker in close touch with the State Department.

The women, many in their teens, were repeatedly raped in the lavatories and washroom of the Kalinovik schoolhouse and in rooms of a local hotel while Seselj's gunmen threatened to cut the throats of the women's children in attempts to extort money and jewellery from victims.

Several prisoners saw the murder of a Muslim veterinary surgeon held in the same building. He was beaten unconscious, then drowned in a lavatory.

Meanwhile, as the diplomatic effort to end the war continued in New York, the tempo of 'ethnic cleansing' in eastern Bosnia was, if anything, increasing. A spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Serbs were starving and shelling Muslims into leaving the area bordering Serbia, presumably to overturn its designation as a Muslim province under the peace plan devised by Cyrus Vance, representing the UN, and Lord Owen, representing the EC.

The mediators had little hope of reaching a solution yesterday after the talks became bogged down on Saturday. Mr Vance said that he believed the matter would go to the Security Council today. But the council is nearly as divided as the Bosnians themselves. No action is expected until after the United States reveals its full position.

UN officials in Zagreb said yesterday that Serbian forces had fired at a German relief aircraft flying over Croatia, and they sent a strong protest to Serbian authorities in Belgrade and Knin.

A UN airlift of humanitarian supplies to Sarajevo will resume today. Aid flights were suspended on Saturday after the German plane was hit.

Nightmare in Bosnia, page 8

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