XI. SFOR CONTRACTOR INVOLVEMENT
Human Rights Watch did not find direct evidence that SFOR soldiers engaged in trafficking of women and girls in Bosnia and Herzegovina.84 Substantial evidence, however, pointed to involvement by SFOR U.S. civilian contractors, who had more freedom to move around Bosnia and Herzegovina than the SFOR peacekeepers and did not face the same prohibitions on visiting nightclubs.85 The contractors, many of them employed by DynCorp, faced allegations of buying women, transporting trafficked women, and violence against trafficked women. DynCorp issued a statement in January 2002 stating that the corporation "took prompt action to understand and deal with the situation," including termination of contracts of individuals found to be involved in improper behavior.86 DynCorp, a Reston, Virginia-based government contractor, with annual revenues of approximately U.S.$1.9 billion in 2001, provides numerous and varied services to U.S. and foreign governments around the world.87
U.S. SFOR Contractors and Trafficking
About 1530 [3:30 p.m.], 1 May 2000, a CID source notified... this office, that several U.S. government contractors [approximately five] were involved in white slavery. Source stated that several members of DynCorp, who live off base, purchased women from local brothels and had them live in their residences for sexual and domestic purposes. Source stated that the individuals purchased the women from local "mafia" and when tired of the women would sell them back....88
Four of the five DynCorp employees named in the above investigation as purchasers of the women denied the allegations.89 One, Kevin Warner, confessed. In a sworn statement provided to U.S. Army criminal investigators, Warner admitted that he had purchased a woman from a brothel near the military base:
I have been working for DynCorp for the last six months. During my last six months I have come to know a man we call "DEBELI" which is Bosnian for fat boy. He is the operator of a nightclub by the name of Harley's. Harley's is a nightclub that offers prostitution. Women are sold hourly, nightly, or permanently. I was told by one of the employees at Harley's that Debeli goes to the Republic of [Srpska] to buy women. From speaking with people, I have learned that the women, mostly from Moldavia [Moldova], come to Serbia to find work. Once in Serbia the women fall into a prostitution ring and [are] sold into Bosnia, sold at the Arizona Market.... DEBELI makes an arrangement with the women that they split what they earn 50/50. The women work off their debt to DEBELI until he [has] made the money he paid for them back. Until then, DEBELI keeps their passport. I have come to know DEBELI well to the point that he offered me an UZI to purchase. Around that same time I was approached by one of the women working there, [name withheld]..., who asked me to help her. I wanted to help her get back home to Moldavia so when DEBELI asked if I wanted to purchase the UZI I asked him what it would take to get [name withheld] to stop prostituting. He told me I could have them both [the Uzi and the woman] for 1,600 Deutschmarks [€821/U.S.$740]. Ever since then [name withheld] has lived with me as a housemate. She does not speak much English but knows that she could leave any time she wanted.90
The subsequent investigation yielded evidence suggesting that the women in the clubs were trafficking victims and indicating contractor involvement in illegal activities. The report confirmed that Kevin Werner,91 a DynCorp employee, provided investigators with a pornographic videotape that appeared to document a rape. The CID report stated:
At 1802 [6:02 p.m.], 2 Jun 00, SA Scott Godwin, this office, collected as evidence one 9mm. Uzi, Automatic Sub-machine gun, a 32 round magazine, and a videotape from Werner. At 1815 [6:15 p.m.], 2 Jun 00, SA Godwin and the undersigned reviewed the videotape provided by Werner. A review of the videotape revealed a white male matching the description of Hirtz92 engaging in sexual relations in two separate occasions with a female. The first encounter disclosed the male receiving fellatio from the white female matching Hirtz's description. The second encounter displayed the same male engaging in sexual intercourse with a different white female. During the encounter the male leaves the view of the camera and returns with what seemed to be a bottle of oil. At the time the male returns to the bed, where the female was locate[d], the female sees the bottle and tells the male "no" numerous times. The male gives her a reply and begins to have intercourse with the female again.93
Warner also admitted that he had received a copy of the pornographic videotape from Debeli, copied the tape, and used it to encourage his boss, John Hirtz, to treat him "fairly." Warner alleged that Hirtz discussed layoffs with Debeli, in order to avoid laying off workers who still owed Debeli money.94 In a sworn statement, Hirtz admitted that he had discussed lay-offs with Debeli, whom he knew provided sexual services, "About three weeks ago I came to Harley's and spoke with Debeli. I asked him if anyone owed him money because I anticipated people were going to be laid off, and I did not want them to leave without paying their debt to anyone in Bosnia."95
Warner's testimony that the women could be purchased "permanently" signaled to Human Rights Watch that these women had been trafficked.96 In the final U.S. Army report, however, investigators found probable cause only to conclude:
Werner committed the offenses of illicit possession of a weapon and procuring and pandering when he purchased an UZI, 9 mm, Automatic machine pistol... and the freedom of a Moldavian prostitute for 1,600 Deutschmarks [€821/U.S.$740] from the owner of Harley Davidson's bar." In addition, the report concluded that, "Hirtz committed the offense of procuring and pandering when he solicited sexual intercourse from two female prostitutes who worked at the Harley Davidson's bar.97
Instead, the CID referred the matter to the local police for investigation of the charges of illegal possession of a weapon and procuring and pandering.100 In the final paragraph, the report stated:
...it was determined that the offense was committed by a civilian who is no longer subject to the [Uniform Code of Military Justice], there are no violations of federal criminal statutes with which the person can be charged, and no other Army interest exists. On 17 Jun 00, this Report of Investigation was referred to the Zivinice Police Department... who assumed jurisdiction in this investigation.101
But local police denied to Human Rights Watch that they had authority to arrest, detain, or prosecute SFOR contractors for crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The chief of police in Zivinice, a village near Tuzla, told investigators:
Two times DynCorp employees were sent home. Maybe four or six were sent home. The girls talked about Kevin, and they have Kevin on video. One of the guys made porno movies with two of the women. It is a crime in Bosnia. We couldn't bring charges against him under Annex IA of Dayton. That Annex states that people who are in the IC [international community] mission are not under our jurisdiction. They will be prosecuted in their own countries. When we find a foreigner is involved, this is the biggest problem for us. We can't do anything against them-they are above the law. On the video [filmed outside the nightclubs], the number plates [have the letters] CP. These are the contractors' jeeps. I'd like someone to help with this. You can't do anything about this. If we could prioritize, this is one of our main problems.102
Not only did the local police believe that they lacked jurisdiction in the case, but Warner and Hertz's quick return to the United States rendered prosecution in Bosnia and Herzegovina impossible.103
Several weeks later, it appeared that local police and IPTF found the woman Kevin Warner had purchased. According to an IPTF human rights officer in Tuzla who interviewed the woman:
One girl was sold, and her last owner was Kevin. He bought her for himself. She woke up with a new toy on her pillow and 20 [Deutschmarks] each day. She lived with him like a prostitute. He was involved in some kind of weapons case-there was suspicion involved with weapons trading, and he left. He left her here, and the crime department discovered her. She gave information about the police involved in organized crime.104
And according to the IPTF official incident report on her case:
She was promised a job in Italy as a waitress. She was sold the first time in Hungary and then in Yugoslavia. Case recommended for closure. No further meetings with her planned. We do not expect any development of the case. Her last owner was Kevin, she stayed with him in Dubrave in a private house. In all place[s] she was force[d] to do sexual services with paid clients but usually she got no money. Kevin gave her passport back before he left. [The victim stated]: "Kevin paid 3000 DM [€1,538/U.S.$1,388] for me."105
DynCorp employees faced accusations that they had purchased women and their passports from local brothels in Bosnia and Herzegovina long before the repatriation of Warner and Hertz. In 1999, DynCorp repatriated five employees from SFOR installations after allegations emerged that they had purchased women. Joseph Becker, a DynCorp manager, stated that the contractors were accused in 1999 of "buying girls out from... slavery with the intention of marriage."106 In a deposition taken on February 21, 2001 he defended the men for purchasing the women's freedom:
I had an opportunity to interview those people, and, without exception, all of them indicated that they would do it again, and they were in tears.... I had an opportunity to go [on] the world-wide web-I typed in "bought from slavery" and had 69,000 hits, and actually the history, in the history of our country and the history of the civilized world, the practice of buying people who you feel are being mistreated, beaten or used as slaves, take them and marry them produced sixty-over 69,000 hits... Those four individuals that I talked to were sure that that was the case [that purchasing the women was a morally correct thing to do].... They made a personal sacrifice to do what they thought was right.107
But Ben Johnston, a former employee at DynCorp, reported a completely different interpretation of the facts. In a deposition given under oath in connection with a wrongful termination lawsuit filed against DynCorp by Johnston (see below), he stated:
At that time I heard you could purchase women, that they knew a way... they falsified their passports or that they would get them falsified, or that you could get basically any age girl you wanted, the name of the clubs to get them at, just that type of thing... a lot of people said you can buy a woman and how good it is to have a sex slave at home.108
According to the testimony given by Johnston in his deposition, a fellow employee, Richard Ward, told him that Ward could purchase a woman for him. Johnston stated, "He says he'll get me one for-you can have one for 100 marks [€51/U.S.$46] a night or buy them for two or three thousand marks [€1,026 to €1,538/U.S.$925 to U.S.$1,388]. They can be yours, and they can be your `hoes'."109
Johnson stated under oath that DynCorp turned a blind eye to the involvement of DynCorp personnel in these activities.110
Richard Ward's name also appeared in confidential UNMIBH reports on trafficking. In a February 2001 memorandum obtained by Human Rights Watch, Maxwell Woodford, the IPTF gender officer in Sarajevo, urged reinvigoration of a stalled 1999 investigation of two local police officers who fraudulently obtained a visa "to legitimize the stay of a Mold[ovan] woman... purchased from a nightclub owner by an American civilian SFOR employee."111 Richard Ward, named as the U.S. SFOR employee in the memorandum, allegedly paid 300 Deutschmarks (€154/U.S.$138) to someone who claimed to be a police officer in order to procure the document for his Moldovan girlfriend, purchased from the nightclub.112 Only in 2001, two years later, did the two police officers face criminal charges, which were eventually dropped.113
In all, Johnston named eight DynCorp staff members who allegedly admitted to him that they had purchased women and girls in 1999 and 2000. And although five employees went home after the U.S. Army CID intervened in 1999, Johnston alleged that DynCorp employees continued to purchase women. Johnston stated that although some employees faced repatriation, "There was nothing said at work about `you couldn't do it'... so it just continues. It continued and continued."114
Johnston made the allegations outlined above in a statement filed with CID in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The U.S. Army placed him in protective custody, and he left several days later. DynCorp laid him off, refused to pay for his plane ticket back to the United States, and refused to ship his tools home. According to his official letter of discharge from DynCorp, Johnston committed the violation of "misconduct, violation of standards and conditions of employment and employment agreement" by bringing "discredit to the Company and the U.S. Army while working in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina."115 Local police in Zivinice confirmed that Johnston had assisted with the investigation.116 DynCorp settled the case with Johnston for an undisclosed sum in August 2002.
The practice of quickly repatriating contract employees severely hampered local investigations and attempts to prosecute traffickers. One IPTF human rights officer told Human Rights Watch of a case in which local authorities requested that an American, who had been caught having sexual intercourse with one of the women during a March 2001 raid of the "Istanbul" nightclub, serve as a witness against the owner of the club. When the investigative judge was ready to interview him at 2:00 p.m. the next day, the American had already departed for Croatia.117 It was unclear whether this employee worked for DynCorp or another contractor. In a March 2002 letter to Human Rights Watch, DynCorp denied that it had transferred any individuals back to the United States to avoid prosecution.118
A May 2000 UNMIBH report on trafficking also highlighted another case of an SFOR contractor, whose nationality and employer could not be determined by Human Rights Watch and who purchased two women.119 In December 1999, local police found a Romanian woman and a Moldovan woman locked inside the apartment of an SFOR civilian contractor in Vlasenica. The two, one of whom was a girl of sixteen, claimed that they were held against their will and told local police that the SFOR contractor had paid a bar owner 7,000 Deutschmarks (€3,590/U.S.$3,240) to purchase them.120 NATO declined to waive his immunity, and the man left Bosnia and Herzegovina a few days later. According to the UNMIBH report, his employer relieved him of his duties for misconduct. 121
Impunity for SFOR Contractors Engaged in Trafficking-Related Crimes
DynCorp and Corporate Responsibility
84 Human Rights Watch learned of a 1999 case of trafficking by a Russian soldier from IPTF internal reports and from the IPTF monitor who investigated the case and interviewed the women. According to the internal report, a Russian SFOR soldier named Sasha transported two Ukrainian women to Bosnia and Herzegovina and sold them to the owner of the nightclub "CAT." Human Rights Watch interview, Dawn White, IPTF monitor, March 19, 1999. IPTF Incident Report, 99/DOB/045, March 10, 1999, on file with Human Rights Watch.
85 Human Rights Watch takes no position on prostitution per se. However, when SFOR soldiers and contractors engage in direct activities related to trafficking-such as purchasing women for personal use-these activities violate both domestic and international human rights protections.
86 "Statement by DynCorp in Response to the Current Website and the Anticipated Release of the February 4, 2002 Issue of Insight Magazine," on file with Human Rights Watch. Many of the DynCorp employees on military contracts are former U.S. military direct employees. DynCorp contractors provide logistical support for the U.S. military bases in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
87 DynCorp 2001 Annual Report, http://www.dyncorp.com/Financial/annual/01report/intro.htm (retrieved November 11, 2002).
88 United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, "Agents Investigation Report," ROI Number 0075-00-CID597-49891, p. 1.
90 United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, "Sworn Statement," File number 0065-00CID597, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, June 2, 2000, on file with Human Rights Watch. According to an internal DynCorp e-mail obtained by Human Rights Watch, investigators found one of the women in the house of one employee. This was not reflected in the official U.S. Army report. E-mail correspondence from Darrin Mills, site supervisor, to Chris DiGesualdo, DynCorp, June 4, 2000, on file with Human Rights Watch.
91 In documents relating to the CID investigation and the lawsuit against DynCorp, Warner is spelled both with an "e" (Werner) and with an "a" (Warner). Human Rights Watch quotes the spelling as given in each of the relevant documents.
92 John Hirtz worked as the site supervisor for DynCorp in the U.S. military Comanche Base, Bosnia and Herzegovina. His name is spelled "Hertz" in other documents related to this case.
93 United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, "Agents Investigation Report," ROI Number 0075-00-CID597-49891, p. 3.
94 United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, "Sworn Statement," File number 0065-00CID597, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, June 2, 2000, on file with Human Rights Watch.
95 United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, "Sworn Statement: John David Hirtz," File number 0065-00-CID597, Tuzla, June 2, 2000, on file with Human Rights Watch.
96 United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, "Sworn Statement [of Kevin Warner]," File number 0065-00CID597, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, June 2, 2000, on file with Human Rights Watch.
97 Department of the Army, U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Command, 48th MP Detachment (CID), Eagle Base, Bosnia and Herzegovina, "CID Report of Investigation," p. 1, on file with Human Rights Watch.
98 The CID report included a transcript of Hirtz's sworn statement. The investigator questioned Hirtz about the apparent nonconsensual sexual intercourse in the videotape. The transcript reads:
99 Telephone Deposition of Joseph Becker, Ben Johnston v. DynCorp, Inc., District Court of Tarrant County, Texas, February 21, 2001, p. 76, on file with Human Rights Watch.
100 Letter from U.S. Department of the Army, 48th MP Detachment, to the Chief of Police of Zivinice, June 17, 2000, on file with Human Rights Watch.
101 "CID Report of Investigation," p. 3, on file with Human Rights Watch.
102 Human Rights Watch interview, Safet Huseinovic, chief of police, Zivinice, March 27, 2001. The police also noted that the U.S. Army CID had taken the videos away from the local police department and failed to return them as promised.
103 In a letter to Human Rights Watch, Charlene Wheeless, vice president of DynCorp, stated, "We categorically deny that we transferred any of these individuals back to the U.S. to avoid prosecution. Former employees who returned to the United States from Bosnia did so after being terminated by DynCorp for improper conduct." Letter of March 5, 2002, on file with Human Rights Watch.
104 Human Rights Watch interview, IPTF human rights officer [name withheld], Tuzla, March 24, 2001.
105 IPTF Incident Report, Tuzla, June 26, 2000.
106 Telephone deposition of Joseph Becker, Ben Johnston v. DynCorp, Inc., on file with Human Rights Watch.
361 Ibid, pp. 39-41. While purchasing a human being in order to free them does not constitute trafficking, Human Rights Watch maintains that these cases should be investigated to determine if this indeed was the motive of the purchaser. At a minimum, investigators must interview the trafficked women themselves to determine whether they could leave freely.
108 Deposition of Benjamin Dean Johnston, Ben Johnston v. DynCorp, Inc., District Court, Tarrant County, Texas, March 20, 2001, pp. 50-52, on file with Human Rights Watch.
109 Ibid, p. 54, on file with Human Rights Watch.
110 Human Rights Watch contacted DynCorp in December 2001. DynCorp refused to comment on the case. DynCorp settled with Ben Johnston for an undisclosed sum in August 2002.
111 Internal Interoffice Memorandum from Maxwell Woodford to Satya Tripathi, "Allegations of Forgery Against Two Local Police Officers, One of Whom is Serving in the UN Mission in East Timor," February 4, 2001, on file with Human Rights Watch.
112 Ibid. Human Rights Watch also obtained the original Bosnian police report on this incident, Tuzla Canton Ministry of the Interior, Crime Investigative Department Narcotics Division, "Information," No. 08-01/2-1, August 5, 2000. The officers did not face disciplinary action from the Bosnian authorities. Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Satya Tripathi, deputy chief U.N. human rights office, December 14, 2001.
113 Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Satya Tripathi, deputy chief, U.N. human rights office, December 18, 2001. Ultimately, neither officer faced criminal or disciplinary penalties. In late 2002, the IPTF commissioner de-authorized the two officers. Human Rights Watch e-mail correspondence with UNMIBH official [name withheld], November 1, 2002.
114 Deposition of Benjamin Dean Johnston, Ben Johnston v. DynCorp, Inc., District Court, Tarrant County, Texas, March 20, 2001, p. 57, on file with Human Rights Watch
115 DynCorp, "Letter of Discharge," June 9, 2000, on file with Human Rights Watch.
116 Human Rights Watch interview, criminal division chief, Zivinice, March 27, 2001.
117 Human Rights Watch interview, IPTF Human rights officer [name withheld], Tuzla, March 24, 2001.
118 Letter from Charlene Wheeless, vice president, Dyncorp, March 5, 2002. The letter stated, "Former employees who returned to the United States from Bosnia did so after being terminated by DynCorp for improper conduct.... [W]e never repatriated any employee or former employee to avoid the pressing of charges against those individuals."
119 The U.N. report did not divulge the nationality of the contractor.
120 U.N. Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina Legal and Human Rights officer and U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in BiH, "Report on Joint Trafficking Project," May 2000, p. 15, on file with Human Rights Watch.
122 DynCorp confirmed that none of its own contractors faced prosecution: "The Company at all times cooperated with the authorities in investigating these matters. To our knowledge, no criminal action was instituted by either the U.S. Army or authorities in either country with respect to the activities of the individuals." DynCorp letter, March 5, 2002. Under MEJA, the contractors could be prosecuted in U.S. courts for "conduct outside the United States that would constitute an offense punishable by imprisonment for more than one year if the conduct had been engaged in within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States." Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, Public Law 106-523, section 3261 (a).
123 Specifically, Human Rights Watch submitted FOIA requests to the Department of State, Strategic Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army and the U.S. European Command. None of the responses indicated that any prosecutions had occurred.
124 Letter from Thomas McIntyre, Department of Justice Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Unit, to Human Rights Watch, January 28, 2002, on file with Human Rights Watch.
125 Human Rights Watch telephone interview, attorney [name withheld], Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Department of Defense, Washington, D.C., October 30, 2002.
126 DynCorp's core values statement can be found at http://www.dyncorp.com/about/values.htm (retrieved November 10, 2002).