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Message-ID: <TSA-L%95020910595583@MSU.EDU>
Date: Thu, 9 Feb 1995 10:56:33 EST
Sender: Turkish Studies Association <>
From: Andras Riedlmayer <>

Information on Cultural Destruction in Bosnia-Herzegovina

By Andras Riedlmayer and compiled by the Council of Europe, 9 February 1995

Since late 1992, the Council of Europe has commissioned at least five reports, entitled:

"Information Report on the Destruction by War of the Cultural Heritage in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina" -- Strasbourg: Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, 1993-

Reports nos. 1-5 (dated 2 February 1993-12 April 1994) were adopted as Assembly Documents nos. 6756, 6869, 6904, 6989, and 7070. The reports are based on research and site inspections of cultural institutions and architectural monuments, carried out by expert rapporteurs commissioned by the European Parliament. Copies of the reports are available from:

The Secretary, Committee on Culture and Education
Conseil d'Europe
B.P. 431
Strasbourg CEDEX F-67006, FRANCE


Excerpts from these reports were incorporated in: "Review of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict" written by Prof. Patrick J. Boylan, Dept. of Arts Policy and Management, City University, London, at the request of UNESCO. Excerpts from that review can be accessed on the gopher maintained by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). From gopher:// Withing the menu "Related Treaties" items of interest include

  • "Boylan. Review of the Hague Convention" AND ALSO:
  • "Carnegie Symposium on Destruction in Bosnia and Herzegovina (May 1994)." (a full transcript of presentations by Andras Riedlmayer, Amir Pasic, W. Hays Parks and Thomas S. Warrick -- a copy of this transcript was forwarded to the U.N. Commission of Experts Investigating War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia).

The following is a brief extract from one of the Council of Europe reports, cited in the Boylan document as Appendix XII: Report on Destruction in Croatia & Bosnia:

... The word "ethnic cleansing" is now in fashion, but it goes hand in hand with another kind of cleansing - cultural cleansing. What else can the deliberate destruction of mosques and churches be called? In the Commune of Dubrovnik, the destruction of traditional villages of great architectural value followed the mass exodus of rural people in October 1991 before the Federal Army. Yet cultural cleansing is also economic cleansing. The Commune of Dubrovnik was looted of wine, animals, farm and industrial machinery; its hotels were shelled and its tourist capacities severely damaged - not least through the damage done to its cultural heritage. The industry of Mostar was also destroyed and tourists may keep away until its minarets are restored.

6. The Need for Information and Enhanced International Co-operation. Amazingly, the picture of the extent of damage in Croatia is incomplete. The Croatian Government does not know what the situation of the heritage is in occupied Krajina and Slavonia. In Bosnia information is even more fragmentary. What is the situation on the battle fronts, and in the zones occupied by each of the parties, but especially by the Serbs, who control about 70% of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina? Without basic information - the type that the fact-finding mission found - there is nothing we can do for war-damaged heritage.

It is odd that we remain so ignorant, considering that the UN forces, the UNHCR, and the ECMM are active throughout much of the war-torn territory. They have much information, but which they are unwilling to share. They could help heritage fact-finding missions with transport, but they do not seem willing to share that either. The latest mission had to rely exclusively on the assistance of Croatians and Bosnians. If the international organizations are unwilling or incapable to help international missions, they could perhaps become more actively interested in the fate of the heritage and use the qualified personnel within their ranks as heritage observers.

7. Limitless Technical and Material Needs. It is clear that the heritage of Croatia and Bosnia needs the technical know-how of foreign experts. We cannot hide behind the false reasons that it is too early to take stock of the situation or that we should not patronise these people, for the Croatians and Bosnians demand that West Europeans finally take a real interest in their heritage, now and not later, when it may be too late.

Are these monuments stable? Can you convince our authorities not to pull them down? What can we do later with these buildings? Do you have craftsmen who will be able to help us? These are the questions that outsiders can bring answers to. The material needs are limitless: emergency materials to cover buildings and shore up walls; standard building materials to repair roofs. Satisfying these needs goes beyond the capacities of private associations. Our states must organise this aid, and coordinate it.

If you have or need further information on these subjects, please contact: Andras Riedlmayer (

The kind of information represented by this document is now being gathered on the web page