LONDON -- An international team of experts said the Yugoslav army has been cooperating with Serbian irregulars in a systematic campaign of killings, atrocities and looting in war zones of Croatia over the past six months, The Guardian newspaper reported Friday.
Members of the five-person team, who asked not to be identified, reported that they feared the campaign was still being waged in Serb- controlled areas of Croatia despite the U.N.-brokered truce, The Guardian said.
The findings of the team, which was assembled by an unidentified agency, were shown to The Guardian and a U.S. newspaper in a two-page summary, the newspaper said.
The Guardian said the report was not made public because it was too sensitive and the agency responsible did not wish to be identified, fearing it would lose all access to Serbia and the army.
'The Yugoslav People's Army, in very close cooperation with all kinds of irregular units and according to an indentifiable pattern and scenario, is systematically depopulating certain regions of people of Croatian origin,' the summary said, The Guardian reported.
The experts -- an officer, an army lawyer, diplomats and a doctor -- said a consistent pattern was found in video, photographic and documentary evidence of army and Serbian attacks. In addition, the team's findings were based on its own observations and the testimony of witnesses and refugees, The Guardian said.
'We made three investigations and reports. We saw every time the same scenario,' the team chief told The Guardian.
The team said it found army-sanctioned breaches of the Geneva Conventions, including attacks on civilians, well-organized looting of areas abandoned by Croats, and the deliberate destruction of hospitals and Roman Catholic churches, The Guardian reported.
'Lots of people were slaughtered in a bestial way,' the team chief said. 'A number of people appear to have been killed by a shovel in the throat. Most of all, their throats were slit.'
The team's studies were conducted in Ilok in eastern Croatia near the Serbian border, in Sunj south of Zagreb, and in Drnis in Krajina, The Guardian said.
Under the pattern the team said it found, the army would establish control of an area and would use threats and military pressure to force Croats out before shelling. Once the army withdrew, 'the irregulars stayed behind to terrorize the population left behind,' the chief reported.
After the territory was cleared of Croats, a looting operation was begun, The Guardian reported.
Three reports containing the team's findings were prepared and sent to western European capitals, the U.N. mission led by Cyrus Vance, and the Yugoslavia peace conference chaired by Lord Carrington, The Guardian said.