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Bosnia

Volume 229: debated on Tuesday 27 July 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 19 July, Official Report, column 18, whether previous investigations into allegations of rape as a tool of war in Bosnia-Herzegovina applied equally to such crimes committed by members of all groups involved in the conflict.

Investigations carried out by a range of non-governmental and international organisations and special missions into sexual abuse of women in the Bosnian conflict indicate that such abuse has been carried out by combatants from all parties to the conflict.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 19 July, Official Report, column 18, what steps he has taken to collect information on rapes by (a) Muslim forces, (b) Croat forces and (c) Serbian forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina; what are his sources of information; what steps have been taken to ensure the objective collation of evidence, regardless of the ethnic origin of either the perpetrator or the victim; and if he will make a statement.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is collecting substantial information about breaches of international humanitarian law, including information about rape, committed by all parties to the conflict in former Yugoslavia, for submission to the United Nations commission of experts in Geneva. The information collected has come from a variety of sources including non-governmental organisations, the media and individual witnesses.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 19 July, Official Report, column 18, if he regards existing investigations into rape as a tool of war in Bosnia-Herzegovina as having given an accurate picture of this practice, regardless of the ethnic origin of either the perpetrator or victim.

A number of international and non-governmental organisations and special investigative missions, such as the EC mission led by Dame Anne Warburton, have reported on the abuse of women in the Yugoslav conflict. We believe that these reports provide an accurate picture of the situation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what information Her Majesty's Government received on the role of Sefer Halilovic, newly appointed commander of the Bosnian Muslim army in his previous commission as a JNA officer leading Yugoslav army units engaged in the siege and destruction of Vukovar;(2) what information he has as to the identity of the commander of the Bosnian Muslim army; and when this information became available.

The newly appointed commander of the Bosnian Muslim army is Rasim Delic; Sefer Halilovic was the previous commander.