News 23 Aug 12

Women Victims of War Remember Foca Crimes

The representatives of the association “Woman – Victim of War” have marked 20 years since the mass rapes and war crimes against non-Serb civilians took place in Foca.

Denis Dzidic
BIRN
Sarajevo

At the commemoration held on Thursday, about 60 members of the association stood peacefully in the city centre and visited notorious detention places within the city – the “Partizan hall” and the Foca prison.

The women paid their respects to those who lost their lives 20 years ago by lying flowers in front of the hall and prison buildings.

Bakira Hasecic, the president of the “Woman – Victim of War” said that the crimes represent “horrific stain” on Foca’s history.

“Since I am from Eastern Bosnia I know how hard it is to go back to the place where you suffered. I was looking closely at the faces of our members and it was hard for them. They showed courage and they proved they are not afraid and that justice will win,” said Hasecic.

“Between 1992 and 1995, mass and systematic rapes of girls and women were done in the Partizan camp, and their husbands and fathers were taken and detained in the Foca prison. Some have been missing ever since”.

She added that during their walk across Foca – which is now part of Republika Srpska and mostly Bosnian Serb dominated – there were no problems, but that the victims still had a hard time remembering the horrors they lived through while some of them fainting.  

During the commemoration, Hasecic added, the woman carried signs with the names of detention camps and photographs of the men found guilty for crimes in Foca.

Thursday’s commemoration was attended by the representatives of the Serbian NGO “Women in Black”.

Hasecic also told Balkan Insight that she is sad that 20 years since the war, the victims are not allowed to place a plaque to commemorate their loved ones who lost their lives in Foca.

More then a dozen verdicts have been passed against Bosnian Serb soldiers by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Hague Tribunal, ICTY, for crimes in Foca.

According to those verdicts,  in 1992 dozens of Bosniak women and girls were separated from men, detained at various locations and raped. Some, including girls as young as 12 and 13, were enslaved for months in private houses where they were raped, frequently beaten and abused.

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