Foca Trial

Tribunal Update 176 Last Week in The Hague (May 15-24, 2000)

Foca Trial

Tribunal Update 176 Last Week in The Hague (May 15-24, 2000)

Wednesday, 24 May, 2000

The latest witness accounts described a now familiar pattern of abuse.


Protected witness 205 said Kunarac and two other soldiers arrived in the village of Kalinovik in early August 1992. The three men then removed seven women prisoners from the local primary school building. Witness 205 was one of the seven women.


Witness 205 said she was then taken to a house, which served as a base for Kunarac's unit. Over several days, the witness said she was raped repeatedly. She cannot remember how many times.


The witness said she was not raped by Kunarac but that he knew the assaults were taking place. "I don't know who was the commander there, but the soldiers always asked Zaga [Kunarac] for everything," she said.


Witness 205 said, for example, that the soldiers would ask Kunarac for permission to go to the Partizan sports hall (a detention centre for women in Foca) to collect girls.


One of the women brought from Kalinovik was pregnant, witness 205 said. When one soldier said the woman should be returned to where she was taken from, Kunarac disagreed and decided to send her instead to the Partizan sports hall, the witness said.


In addition to individual charges of rape, Kunarac is also accused of responsibility for rape offences committed by soldiers in his unit. The prosecution has stressed that a commander has an obligation to prevent crimes and punish the perpetrators. Kunarac, the prosecution alleges, did not only fail in these duties but actually encouraged soldiers to rape women.


"There is simply no 'off-duty' status which relieves the commander of responsibility over the conduct of his subordinates," the prosecutor said.


Support our journalists