There Are No Clean Hands as Yugoslavia Falls Apart

July 19, 1992|By DUSKO DODER and LOUISE BRANSON

Belgrade -- As Yugoslavia disintegrates, massacres and other atrocities, including repeated rape and the burning of victims alive after dousing them with gasoline, have been committed by all sides -- Serbs, Croats and Muslims -- on a scale not seen in Europe since World War II.

compiled but many more have disappeared and are believed dead or incarcerated in prison camps.

Another massacre of Muslims by Serbs confirmed by several eyewitnesses occurred June 14 on a road outside Sarajevo. Serb gunmen stopped a bus on which Serbs were transporting hostages -- 56 Muslim men between the ages of 17 and 63. The Muslims were told the bus's radiator had boiled over and that they should lie face down until water was fetched from a nearby stream. The Serbs then opened fire with machine-guns and bazookas and tossed grenades into the bus. Between four and nine men survived. The men had all been from the village of

Ahatovici north of Sarajevo.

Twenty-nine Muslim men were massacred in a Muslim village in Eastern Bosnia. Three French journalists came across the bodies laid out on the side of a road controlled by Serb soldiers. Each man had a bullet through the back of the head.

In the northern Bosnian village of Sjekovac, in early March, Vladimir Ceric, 64, saw several hundred Croatian guardsmen make their way across the Sava river in the direction of the Serb village which is near the town of Derventa. He hid in the bushes and saw an armored vehicle draw up outside the house of his friend Jovo Zecevic three doors away. Mr. Zecevic and his two sons were in the garden. The attackers machine-gunned him to death as he ran toward a neighbor's gate. They killed his two sons in their yard.

Mr. Ceric then fled. He was lucky. His cousins Mirko and Dmitri Ceric and their wives were killed that day. He does not know how many -- if any -- of the 150 people in the village survived. It has been razed. His two sons are among the missing.

A similar story is told by two Serb lawyers, Savo and Mitra Teodorovic who were in their home village near the town of Kalesija in northern Bosnia when it was attacked May 2. Mr. Teodorovic was wounded and others were killed as the Muslim forces known as ''Green Berets'' went on the rampage. His wife made a tortuous journey over mountain paths with two armed friends and three wounded men whom they pulled on an ox-cart. When they finally reached the town of Bjeljina, she saw the remains of eight Serbs from the nearby village of Hrasno who had attempted the journey ahead of them -- but had been ambushed by Muslims. The bodies were hardly recognizable as such, she said.

On June 7 Croatian and Muslim forces together attacked the Serb village of Tasovcici near the town of Capljina. According to two witnesses, Predrag Glibo and Ilija Zurovac, armed men led by members of a Muslim family named Sejtanovic from nearby Oplacic, as well as the Croatian Suta family from the same village, killed several people by cutting their throats in front of their homes. Those killed included Bosa Ijacic, 63, Radoslava Zdralic, 62, Milan Misita, 47, Ilija Misita, 63, Bojana Lecic, 16, and many others.

There appear to be fewer eyewitness accounts of massacres and barbarities in the war in Croatia. Possibly -- but not necessarily -- that may be an indication that the atrocities are far worse in the war in Bosnia.

One massacre of the Croatian war was reported by a Serb woman, Nevenka Despotovic from the village of Marsicka Sagovina near Nova Gradiska. Her foot was blown away by a hand-grenade thrown into the basement by Croat forces surrounding a home in which she and several others were hiding in a basement. Everyone else in the basement was machine-gunned to death as she watched. Those who surrendered, including her brother, were taken away and killed.

Rapes and torture are also taking place. One woman, Liliana Sjeran, said she listened as a Serb doctor, Olga Drasko, 40, was raped repeatedly in a camp in Caplina. ''She was raped perhaps a hundred times. She has gone crazy,'' Ms. Sjeran said.

Both sides are said to have camps in which they hold hostages for exchange. The Bosnian Bureau of War Crimes said it has information of extremists moving into the camps and massacring 30 or 40 people at a time. It is also clear that whole villages are being razed and families forced to leave homes in order to create ''ethnically pure'' areas; countless such cases have been documented on all sides.

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