Leader Development & Education for Sustained Peace Program: Cross-Cultural, Geopolitical & Regional Education

Human Interest: War Crimes – Wounds Live on after the Fighting Ends

Sex As A Weapon: Throughout history, sexual assault has been used as a weapon of war. On 8 June 2012, SETimes Published the article, “Wartime rape victims: ‘We live out of spite'”, reminding us of the sexual assaults and trauma inflicted on tens of thousands of women in BiH and Kosovo during the 1990s conflict. Unfortunately, rape victims were not included in respective laws for the victims of war in either BiH or Kosovo. However, in 1995, the tribunal charged a number of people with crimes of sexual violence in the camps around Prijedor. Two years later, the ICTY became the first international tribunal to hand down a conviction for sexual violence in the case of Dusko Tadic. Another landmark judgment followed in 2004, when General Radislav Krstic was sentenced to 35 years in prison for involvement in the Srebrenica genocide, including sexual violence committed by his soldiers. This was the first case in history where rape was declared a tool of ethnic cleansing. The Sarajevo-based Association of Women Victims of War says more victims are breaking their silence. Association founder Bakira Hasecic told SETimes that “98% of war crimes have been against Bosniak women,” though the association has Bosniak, Croatian, and Serbian members. More recently, Roma women joined.

Moving Forward On The Rule Of Law: According to the SETimes article, Britain has announced that it will establish a team of police officers, lawyers, forensic experts and psychologists who will travel to war zones to gather evidence about mass sexual violence for use in the trials of rape suspects. (…) As of late 2010, 28 people had been convicted of sexually violent crimes in BiH and four were additionally convicted of failing to prevent crimes.

The SETimes article quoted Feride Rushiti of the Centre Against Torture in Pristina, “It is said that the number of women raped ranges from 10,000 to 20,000. In our society, people do not talk openly yet about this kind of violence.”


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