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Bosnia & Herzegovina - UN envoy welcomes conviction for rape during conflict

[United Nations, New York, 09 November 2011] The envoy spearheading United Nations efforts to combat sexual violence in conflict today welcomed the conviction of a Bosnian Serb ex-soldier for acts of murder, rape and enslavement during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s. Sasa Baricanin was found guilty and sentenced to 18 years in prison by a court in Bosnia and Herzegovina of various war crimes carried out in the city of Sarajevo in 1992-93, according to media reports. In a statement, Margot Wallström, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, said the verdict sent a strong signal that justice must ultimately prevail for victims of sexual violence. Yet she warned that for the majority of the estimated tens of thousands of victims from the Balkan conflicts, there is still no justice. “ To date, there have been just 30 convictions in response to an estimated 50,000 rapes during the years of war,” she said....... This case is yet another testament to the resilience of Bosnian women who have joined forces in their quest for justice, both within and beyond the courtroom.” ______________________________________________________________________


[UNFPA, 18 March 2011] She does not have a first name, nor a face. “No photos, please. ” Seated in a small dark room, her psychologist at her side, the “woman of Tuzla” will be her name. She is surrounded by cigarettes and medicines. Hers is a voice that tells the story of a war that ravaged Bosnia and Herzegovina a little over a decade ago. In April 1992, she was 35 years old and worked as a hotel maid in the provinces while living peacefully with her mother near the town of Svornik, close to the Serbian border….She lights a cigarette…“Disguised in Serbian clothing I went to town to buy medicine for my mother. The soldiers recognized me and they took me to the other side of the Drina river. ” Laying on a wooden bedframe she was raped many times and imprisoned for many weeks.

Through a partnership between the Ministry of Human Rights and the United Nations Populations Fund, a project “trust fund” was submitted for approval to the Bosnia and Herzegovina Council of Ministers to “simplify the procedure for securing the legal status of “victim” and to offer real financial and social support to women in Bosnia and Herzegovina, ” says the Vice Minister for Human Rights.

Living with a sense of permanent “victimization” “Bosnian society no longer wants to be hostage of its past,” says Faris Hadrovic, UNFPA’s representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “ But until today, there has been little political will to address this issue.”

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