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Last Updated: Friday, 1 October, 2004, 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK
Bosnian Serbs reject rape plaque
Foca during war
Foca was devastated during the war
Hundreds of Bosnian Serb protesters have prevented Muslim women from placing a memorial plaque on a building used as a rape camp during the war.

The crowds stopped members of the Women Victims of War Association from getting to the sports centre used by Bosnian Serb soldiers in Foca in 1992.

Many of the women held at the site say they were raped and tortured by troops.

Riot police, keeping the groups apart on Thursday, let the women leave the plaque and flowers at a site nearby.

The engraved sign described the building as the scene of war crimes targeting Muslim women.

Authorities in Foca, known as a hardline Bosnian Serb town, said the women did not have permission to install the plaque.

Pelted

Members of the Serb Republic's Association of Wartime Camp Inmates were among the crowd of around 200 people protesting at plans to erect the plaque.

They told Bosnia's independent TV Hayat that they objected because they were not allowed to erect similar memorial signs in Sarajevo or Tuzla.

Slavko Jovicic, vice-president of the inmates association, told the station he did not deny the offences were committed in Foca, but urged the council of ministers to regulate the laws so such incidents could be avoided.

A reporter for TV Hayat said the Muslim women were "seen off out of Foca with insults and pelted with eggs and stones".

Foca, about 70km (45 miles) southeast of Sarajevo, was one of the first Bosnian towns to fall into the hands of the Bosnian Serbs in 1992.

During the 1992-1995 war, most Muslims were expelled from Foca, but others were abused or killed in camps like the sports hall.

A mass grave, containing up to around 350 bodies, thought to be Muslim detainees killed during the war, was found near Foca in August.




SEE ALSO:
Unemployment mars Bosnia revival
30 Sep 04  |  Europe
Mass grave found in Bosnia mine
09 Aug 04  |  Europe
Ashdown calms nationalism fears
13 Feb 04  |  Europe
Serbia waits for a government
30 Dec 03  |  Europe
Country profile: Bosnia-Hercegovina
22 Sep 04  |  Country profiles


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