Amnesty urges Balkans to probe war disappearances
BELGRADE, Serbia -- Ljiljana Alvir is convinced Serbian authorities know how her brother died during the war in Croatia, and where his remains are. She just doubts they want to tell her.
"Serbian institutions have the information where he was killed, and where his bones lie," but they are hiding the truth, she alleged during a news conference Wednesday ahead of the International Day of the Disappeared. "Everyone deserves to find where the bones of their loved ones lie."
Alvir, a Croat from Vukovar - who lost both her fiancé and brother during the Serb conquest of the city in 1991 - is one of the many people across the Balkans that Amnesty International says are still searching for news on the whereabouts of the some 14,000 people missing since the end of the Balkan conflicts in 1990s.
Amnesty says most of the more than 10,000 missing are linked to the 1992-95 conflict in Bosnia, about 2,400 disappeared during the 1991-95 war in Croatia, and 1,800 during the 1998-99 conflict in Kosovo. The wars erupted when the former Yugoslavia broke up and its former republics and ethnic groups turned against each other.
Croatia's decision in 1991 to declare independence triggered a war with the Serb-led Yugoslav army which overran the eastern parts of the country, including Vukovar. The town fell in November 1991 after months of siege and heavy battle reduced it to rubble. Hundreds of people were killed by Serb troops when they took control and thousands more disappeared, including Alvir's brother.