War Crimes in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina
to the International Humanitarian Fora

International community should address
plight of "disappeared" and "missing"

For two weeks, each day since Bosnia Peace Talks started at Wright Peterson USAF AB in Dayton, Ohio, USA, hundreds of Croatian mothers and family members of the imprisoned, detained, abducted, held captive and missing, wounded Croats from the Vukovar hospital, soldiers and civilians, are gathering in front of the US Embassy in Zagreb, Croatia, beseeching the US authorities and other participants of Peace Talks in Dayton to impose energetically such conditions on the war criminal Slobodan Milosevic, who started this war, that would impel him to reveal the truth about the fate of the disappeared. On June 19th, 1995, Croatian mothers went on hunger strike in front of CroatianParliament (Sabor) building in Zagreb , thus entering a protest, both warning and inviting compassion. The desperateact has been pursued by the grieving mothers, seeking assistance in locating their sons, husbands, brothers, and grandsons who were taken away by force to be held in captivity by the Serbs in the year 1991. The fourth year now the ominous fatality has been deeply effecting their saddened motherly hearts.

All of the endeavours they have made to find out what may be the sad bittertruth about what was befallen the 2,862 persons captured and missing during thepresent cruel war have remained to be in vain. What happened to to the helplesscolumns of death that were taken to Serbia along unknown routes during thosegory days of the autumn of 1991 is the question haunting the desperate motherswith the same painful intensity during their sleepless nights, their bitterdeliberations, their searching through keepsakes, memories, and shades oftragic images.CROATIAN MOTHER'S APPEAL

Propelled by the purity of their love, the mothers do not crave abstract wordsbut the actual facts. They demand to know the truth so that the turbulentwhirlpools of open questions with no answers could be eased. They are left tothe mercies (tender or none) of the international humanitarian organisations(because all the attempts made by the Croatian government have continued to be futile) so as to elicit the truth, even though it may be the most ghastly, as well as the factual of what has happened, however worrisome, from the institutions concerned.

Unfortunately, from among all those international organisations and commissionsin office, not a single one has revealed to date the bloodstained factsconcerning the missing Croats and persons fromCroatia so that the tragic condition of the detained and helpless victims could be halted.

Whatever has happened to all those numerous humanitarian organisations in Europe that have been presenting themselves openly as dependable guardians of human rights , under the banner of their democratic philantropic slogans? Why have organisations such as International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) , the UN Commission on Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Centre in Geneva, Helsinki Watch, Amnesty International kept their eyes closed to the de facto situation, refusing to shed light on and disclose the criminal terror of human rights violations that have been committed frenziedly on the Balkan - Serbian polygon for as long as four years now? What about all those grand and many peacekeepers' committees and commissions seemingly acting out their lofty aims pertaining to the defence of civil and human rights?

Can the criminal killings of the civilians, inocent citizens, old men, women and children be swept under the carpet beguilingly and go unpunished? Whatever has been done for the benefit of the prisoners of war, the civilians captured and taken away en masse , the detained and raped women and girls, the abused and tortured children?

Let us remind you of all the anxiety, concern and involvment leading to the rescue of just one American pilot , who had got lost in Bosnia a while ago and was saved from the Serbian combat units' siege. And how many diplomatic actions and mediation efforts were taken, quite understandably too, which ended un in the kidnapped UNPROFOR soldiers' being rescued. How to account for such inconceivable standards in treating the entity of man in jeopardy? How to comprehend the inconsistency in the application of the universal principles of morality of humankind? Any human existence being based on the same values, one would expect to see the same universal principles of humaneness consistently applied.

The whole complex war situation notwithstanding, we find if hard to believe that - provided there was enough commitment - the wounded Croatian prisoners/ detainees and missing civilians could not be located and registered. The victims of the revages of war ar not a phantom escaping disclosure and publicizing.

Further more, the futile rotation of international monitors and political humanitarian institutions just testifies to the frightful overgrowth of bureaucratic consciousness, on the basis of the laws of hierarchical boureaucratism and spiritual sluggishness, they have been turning into hypnotists of public opinion as well as the involuntary negators of their own reason for being. Such inertness, anaesthesia, legal anaemia, moralimpassiveness have been receiving nourishment and vindication for the whole four years through being supported by always the same repetitious impotent arguments routinely, rhetorically, enigmatically. All of this reflects the level of inefficiency of the international humanitaruian organisations that have increasingly been no more than a mirage and the pathetic orchestration of some seemingly sublime ethical ense.

The Croatian mothers, however, that have been meekly waiting for four years to receive word about their missing sons still sincerely beleive that international cryptology and political cosmogony of the Balcans. The grieving mothers have awaited persistently and steadfastly the magical word of truth and evidence as could, on the strength of its moral and humane effecitiveness, brighten up their fatal uncertainties, sickening expectations, and bitterness of ill fate. For a full four years' time the word has been craved after, e.g.such a rewarding international report as could dispel the unbearable motherly anxiety. In the presend darkness of unpredictability, suspense, hopelessness, deceit, self-deception, lacking perspective and vain expectations there is no break of dawn, moral prospects are not hopeful.

This is why the Croatian Sabor has joined the mothers in their desperate protest and plea urging all of the international humanitarian fora into a determined spiritual mobilization, into taking a firm step as could lead to a vital trace of the destiny of the missing sons, husbands and inocent youth. Following the imperative of the heart rather than the rigid logic of political thinking, the mothers have made a request for the moral mission of spirit, for silent and genuine human compassion. The members of the Croatian Sabor also plead that the deseperate wail of mothers may not remain confined to the unfeeling emptiness of the heart.

We call upon the conscience of humanity to do its best to dry the mothers'teardrops that have been running for four years, to dispose of the permanentanxiety of pain and grief, to reverse the pitful condition of the mothers indistress who, Neobe-like, with their heads between their hands, continue toweep over their dearest: the missing and detained sons, husbands, andgrandsons.

Zagreb, Croatia ,
June 23, 1995

War Crimes in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina