Heliodrom camp

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Heliodrom camp
Concentration camp
Location Bosnia and Herzegovina
Operated by Bosnian Croat military and police authorities (the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia and Croatian Defence Council)
Operational between September 1992 and April 1994
Inmates Bosniaks and Bosnian Serbs, other non-Croats
Killed 54 Bosniaks,[1][2] unknown number of other non-Croat prisoners

The Heliodrom camp (Croatian: Logor Heliodrom) was a concentration camp operated between September 1992 and April 1994 by the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia and Croatian Defence Council to detain Bosniaks and other non-Croats in order to create an ethnically pure Croatian city during the Bosnian War. Heliodrom Concentration Camp was located in Rodoc, just south of the town of Mostar, in the Mostar Municipality.[1]

The camp[edit]

The camp consisted of a sports hall and a threestorey central prison building in which thousands of non-Croatian Mostar residents, predominantly civilians, were detained and tortured.[3] Conditions at the Heliodrom concentration camp were inhumane, with severe overcrowding, inadequate medical and sanitary facilities, insufficient food and water, inadequate ventilation, and in the summer, suffocating heat. Detainees often slept on concrete floors with no bedding or blankets. On some occasions, HVO guards withheld all food and water from the detainees, in retaliation for HVO military setbacks.[1]

Herceg-Bosna/HVO forces regularly mistreated and abused, and allowed the mistreatment and abuse of, Bosniak detainees, both at the Heliodrom itself and at various locations where detainees were taken for forced labour or other purposes. There was regular cruel treatment and infliction of great suffering, with HVO soldiers and guards routinely beating detainees, often to the point of unconsciousness and severe injuries. Bosniak detainees lived in constant fear of physical and mental abuse. Passing HVO soldiers often fired their weapons indiscriminately at Bosniak detainees held in crowded areas. Other detainees were attacked by HVO guard dogs which were released by the guards for the specific purpose of inflicting injury and fear. Bosniak detainees were often humiliated in various ways, including being forced to sing nationalistic Croatian songs.[1]

Bosniak men were held and continued to be detained at the Heliodrom concentration camp without any bona fide or adequate effort by the Herceg-Bosna/HVO authorities or forces to distinguish, classify or separate military prisoners from civilian detainees, or to provide for the release of civilian detainees.[1]

The use of Bosniak detainees held at the Heliodrom in forced labour or as human shields resulted in many dead and wounded detainees. Due to challenges of identifying the detainees, in a couple limited studies, at least fifty-four identified Bosniak detainees being killed and at least 178 identified Bosniaks were wounded. However, as most victims were not identified, these numbers are expected to be much higher. In reality, thousands of prisoners were abused, hundreds of prisoners used as human shields during Croatian military activities. Most of the abuses are still unadentified and undocumented, especially those that occurred at locations outside of the camp to which the detainees were often taken.[1][2]

Recent developments[edit]

Jadranko Prlić, Bruno Stojić, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petković, Valentin Corić, and Berislav Pušić were all charged with being part of a joint criminal enterprise from November 1991 to April 1994 to ethnically cleanse non-Croats from certain areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The indictment states that members of the enterprise (along with the HVO) set up and ran a network of prison camps, including the Heliodrom camp and Dretelj camp, to arrest, detain and imprison thousands of Bosniaks. Bosniaks in the camps were allegedly starved and subjected to “physical and psychological abuse, including beatings and sexual assaults”.[1][4]

The six accused were charged on the basis of both their individual and superior criminal responsibility under Articles 7(1) and 7(3) of the Statute respectively for:[1]

  • nine counts of grave breaches of the Geneva conventions (willful killing; inhuman treatment (sexual assault); unlawful deportation of a civilian; unlawful transfer of a civilian; unlawful confinement of a civilian; inhuman treatment (conditions of confinement); inhuman treatment; extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly; appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly).
  • nine counts of violations of the laws or customs of war (cruel treatment (conditions of confinement); cruel treatment; unlawful labour; wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or destruction not justified by military necessity; destruction or willful damage done to institutions dedicated to religion or education; plunder of public or private property; unlawful attack on civilians; unlawful infliction of terror on civilians; cruel treatment), and

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h http://www.un.org/icty/indictment/english/prl-ii040304e.htm[dead link]
  2. ^ a b http://www.un.org/icty/naletilic/trialc/judgement/annex.htm[dead link]
  3. ^ Crimes in Stolac Municipality (1992–1994) (PDF), Sarajevo: DID, 2001 [First edition 1996], ISBN 9958-511-13-4, archived from the original on 9 January 2009 
  4. ^ Tosh, Caroline (23 February 2007). "Prlic Trial Shown Images of War". International Justice - ICTY. TRI (490) (IWPR). Archived from the original on 22 March 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 

External links[edit]