1995 Congressional Hearings
Intelligence and Security

US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Washington, DC
Wednesday, DECEMBER 6, 1995


The Commission met at 2:06 p.m., in room 628 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Honorable Christopher H. Smith, chairman of the Commission, presiding.

Commission members present: Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Chairman; Hon. Steny. D. Hoyer; and Hon. John Edward Porter.

House members present: Hon. Bill Zeliff; Hon. Benjamin Gilman; and Hon. James Moran.

Witnesses present: Ivan Lupis, David Rohde, and Barbara Wolf.


Chairman SMITH. The Commission will come to order.

The conflict in the former Yugoslavia, and in Bosnia in particular, has been a constant issue of the U.S. foreign policy agenda during the past 4 years. In these past few weeks, the working-out of a peace agreement with its accompanying commitment for NATO forces has been the leading issue on that agenda.

Today's hearing on Bosnia, however, is about a gruesome and solemn subject matter: namely, the atrocities against children, against women, and against men. These indescribable atrocities are the realities which warranted giving Bosnia such a place of prominence in our foreign policy.

While the international community deals with the formalities of exchanging territories among the warring parties and populations, the reality of Bosnia has been a land in which people-innocent civilians-have been raped, tortured, expelled from their homes, and executed by thugs. Documenting the war crimes, bringing the evidence before the War Crimes Tribunal, and pursuing justice through the tribunal are the foundation stones for reconciliation and a genuine peace.

The Helsinki Commission has an obligation, among other things, to document the violation of human rights. The role is vital, in and of itself. We owe it to the victims, and it is our hope that the attention given to the violations in Bosnia may deter future violations. Making the details a part of the official record of the Commission also helps those of us who must consider diplomatic and military responses to stay grounded in the reality of the situation that we are facing.

We have today three expert witnesses who have spent time in Bosnia and who have met the real victims of this war or their surviving family members and documented their almost incomprehensible ordeals. We will first hear from Ivan Lupis, a researcher from Human Rights Watch/Helsinki, who will describe how and why the U.N.-declared safe haven of Srebrenica failed to deter militants and generally what happened thereafter.

We will then hear from David Rohde of the Christian Science Monitor, who was able to visit the sites of the alleged mass graves in eastern Bosnia and confirm their existence. He also had the unfortunate experience of being caught by the Serb militants and held by them for about 10 days. Mr. Rohde, therefore, has not only firsthand experience with the victims, but also with the perpetrators of crimes against humanity.

Finally, we will have testimony presented by Barbara Wolf, a forensic pathologist from Albany, New York, who has visited many mass grave sites in Bosnia and neighboring Croatia under the auspices of AmeriCares in order to help identify the remains. Press reports about this effort indicate the importance of this work for those families who may suspect, but do not know, the actual fate of their loved ones, not to mention for the possible prosecution, at the International Tribunal in the Hague, of those who created and filled these graves with victims.

I want to welcome our panelists to the Commission and thank them for the great work that they have done in documenting these heinous acts which have been perpetrated against civilians. I would also, at this point, like to yield to my very good friend, the ranking member of the Commission, Mr. Hoyer.