5 February 1993

Doc. 6770



on the systematic gang rape of women and

children on the territory of former Yugoslavia

presented by Mrs ROBERT and others

1.       The systematic gang rape of women and children in former Yugoslavia, which is being used as a weapon of ethnic and cultural destruction, has been strongly condemned by public opinion and the various national and international bodies. These barbaric acts cannot be denied. Yet, in the face of this human suffering, disgraceful controversies are arising as to their number and scale in the absence of direct evidence, the victims being in most cases unable to testify.

2.       These crimes against the human race should remain neither unknown nor unpunished. There are said to be detention centres for women which have not yet been located. The victims who have remained in former Yugoslavia or who have gone into exile are asking for assistance in their suffering and guidance in their decisions. The action of the voluntary workers - mostly women - who are already endeavouring to bring them help and comfort should be supported.

3.       The Assembly therefore recommends that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and the governments of the member states:

i.       Re-affirm without delay that these violations of the integrity and dignity of women and children are unquestionably war crimes and even crimes against humanity and are not, therefore subject to limitation;

ii.       Bring these crimes before a permanent international criminal court - whose establishment is advocated by the Assembly - to be quickly set up on the basis of the experience gained by the organs of the European Convention on Human Rights;

iii.       Support all action to put an end to these shameful acts and demand that detention centres for women be closed immediately;

iv.       Entrust, within the Council of Europe, either a parliamentary commission of enquiry assisted by experts or a woman special rapporteur with the task of helping to establish the facts, inter alia by visiting detention centres and collecting evidence;

v.       Launch an emergency programme of psychological, health and social measures to provide the victims with assistance and advice; measures should also be taken to support the efforts of the voluntary workers, particularly from the financial point of view;

vi.       Review all the texts governing the protection of civilian populations in conflicts, with particular attention to the situation of women and children.

Signed:       Robert, Hadjidemetriou, Palacios, Severinsen, Schiesser, Haarstad, Aguiar, Roseta, Worms, Fleetwood, Guirado, Kozlowski, Tummers, Hawlicek, Büchel, Ruffy, Beix, Astgeirsdottir, Böhm, Pahtas, Brito, Özver, Stoffelen, Baarveld-Schlaman, Muehlemann, Talay, Gjørv, Haller, Pilarski, Dromberg, Graenitz, Halonen, Pini, Oehry, Seiler, Iwinski, Ryynänen.