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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 9, 1995
                    Statement By The Press Secretary
                  on Bosnia and the Former Yugoslavia

During his mission to Central and Northeastern Bosnia last week, Assistant Secretary John Shattuck was presented with evidence of egregious human rights violations committed by Bosnian-Serb forces in the aftermath of their attack on Srebrenica and Zepa. The assistant secretary heard eyewitness accounts of mass executions, beatings, rape and other flagrant violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. To date, thousands of civilians from Srebrenica and Zepa are missing and unaccounted for.

The United States calls on the Bosnian Serbs to provide international humanitarian organizations access to all persons still being detained. Bosnian-Serb forces also must provide a full accounting of people from the two areas whose fate remains unknown and not harm those who have survived the Bosnian Serb onslaught. The United States will continue its efforts to collect information on what is happening on the ground. All information will be turned over to the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and serve to prosecute those culpable of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Such criminal actions must not and will not remain unpunished.

Since Assistant Secretary Shattuck's return, events in the former Yugoslavia have provided additional cause for concern. Tens of thousands of persons have been forced to flee their homes as the lines of confrontation have shifted, most recently in the Krajina region of Croatia. This has led to a refugee crisis of massive proportions. It is imperative that all parties respect the rights of these refugees and displaced persons and, in particular, that access to this population be granted to international humanitarian organizations.

The United States has urged and will continue to urge all parties in the former Yugoslavia to show restraint and, most importantly, to respect human rights and international humanitarian law. The United States is making these concerns known to all relevant parties. At U.S. urging, the United Nations Security Council is expected to adopt resolutions condemning crimes on all sides, highlighting Bosnian Serb atrocities against refugees from Srebrenica and Zepa. The council also is expected to call upon the parties to comply with their obligations toward civilian populations.