Sunday, Apr 20th

Last update07:37:00 PM GMT


Miljevina is a village in the Foca municipality, where many war crimes and gross human rights abuses reportedly took place during the takeover. According to several persons from the town who were interviewed by Human Rights Watch, Miljevina had its own power structure which, although under the authority of the Crisis Committee in central Foca, also made decisions on its own regarding the "ethnic cleansing" of the non-Serb residents of Miljevina. Bosniak and Croat citizens of Miljevina were arrested and detained for short periods of time in the Miljevina police station.

Miljevina is the site of the Miljevina coal mine, which prior to the war provided coal for most of the surrounding region. Prisoners from KP Dom were allegedly taken to work in the coal mine during the war. In late 1996, Human Rights Watch received allegations that non-Serb individuals were still being held prisoner at several locations in the Foca municipality, one of which was the Miljevina mine. The allegations suggested that such persons may have been or may be held under false Serb names in order to hide their identities. In-depth investigations into these allegations not only in Miljevina but in the entire region were inconclusive. However, as long as the Foca authorities continue to obstruct SFOR's and IPTF's free and unlimited access to any and all alleged places of detention--access they are required to provide under the Dayton Accords--these allegations may never be totally disproven and the possibility, though slight, remains that persons may still be held.


Four witnesses from Miljevina reported that Pero Elez(81) was the head of the Bosnian Serb military in Miljevina. They also said that a local crisis committee was established in Miljevina to organize and direct the "ethnic cleansing" campaign and the takeover of Miljevina, and that the committee headquarters was located in the Motel Miljevina.


K.J., a man from the village of "Poljica," located very near Miljevina, informed Human Rights Watch that although he escaped from the village as it was being attacked, his aunt and cousin remained in the village and witnessed the attack. Although these relatives of K.J. refused to speak to Human Rights Watch representatives out of fear, K.J. alleged that his aunt had seen dead bodies of eleven civilians, which remained in the village after the Serb army pulled out. The aunt and cousin both alleged to K.J. that fifteen elderly persons had stayed in the village, unable to escape, and were never heard from again.

81. According to the Foca municipal government-in-exile, Pero Elez is deceased.