Justice Finally Served for Bosnian Communities
November 22 2017, London Women for Women International and its affiliate organisation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Žene za Žene welcome the landmark decision to convict Ratko Mladic for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, and violations of the laws or customs of war. The victims and survivors of atrocities committed by Mladic have waited more than two decades for this day and although the lives lost will never return, this is an important step for sustainable justice and reconciliation in the country.
“Today I listen to the radio and read the newspaper and am reminded of what that monster did to people, to the men, women, children and entire communities. It was a horrible crime. I am satisfied that he was sentenced. It is proof to the world of our suffering. We have waited a long time. After 20 years, justice is finally served,” Seida Saric, Žene za Žene’s Director, said about the verdict.
During the 20-year trial of Mladic, many graduates from the early days of Women for Women International’s programme travelled to The Hague to testify against Mladic and the other leaders of these crimes. Women like Fazila who, nearly two decades later, was finally able to bury the remains of her son and husband who died in the Srebrenica massacre.
With the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia closing after this trial, it is now more important than ever that the world continues to invest in reconciliation, supporting the survivors and focusing on the needs of the most marginalised women in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“We have to work every day for reconciliation because reconciliation is never done in Bosnia,” Saric adds.
Women for Women International was established in 1993 to help survivors of sexualised violence during the 1992-1995 conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The legacy of genocide, sectarian violence, and systematic rape that occurred during the war remains evident today as the country struggles to rebuild and redefine itself as a 21st century democracy. Today, Žene za Žene International Association Sarajevo continues this work as an independent organisation, and in affiliation with Women for Women International, helps women create economic opportunities and strengthen their civic engagement so that women can be active participants in rebuilding Bosnia and Herzegovina and bringing peace to their communities.
About Women for Women International
Since 1993, Women for Women International has served more than 462,000 women survivors of war in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Sudan. With a long-term vision for sustainable change and development, Women for Women International works with the most marginalised and socially-excluded women so they have the skills, networks, and tools they need to rebuild their lives, communities, and nations. Through Women for Women International’s comprehensive 12-month programme, women learn about their rights and health, and gain key life, vocational, and business skills to access livelihoods and break free from trauma and poverty. To learn more, visit www.womenforwomen.org.uk