Sunday, January 13, 2008

Documentary Archive: Only One Bakira

Only One Bakira
Documentary Archive (BBC World Radio)

Madame Justice Florence Mumba from Zambia made legal history five years ago when she declared rape a crime against humanity.

Justice Mumba was the presiding judge at the International War Crimes Tribunal on Yugoslavia in the Hague.

Her ruling was heralded around the world. In Bosnia, rape was not just one of the spoils of war, it was a clearly contemplated military strategy, a means of terrorizing the population.

It is estimated that 20,000 women were raped as part of the conflict in the Balkans.

There have been nine or ten convictions. And now the Hague Tribunal is shutting up shop.

The remaining cases - and they are legion - will be tried in the Balkans - where the crimes took place.

Victims are still waiting for justice.

"They made us permanent invalids. Unable to go back to their origins and the places where they used to live" says Bakira Hassecic, a woman who deals with the rape she endured with a relentless pursuit of war criminals.

Croats, Bosnians and Serbs will have to deal with the past themselves. There doesn't seem to be a lot of enthusiasm for the task. Some people would prefer to forget, but Bakira will not let them.

Bakira - and the network of women she formed, the Association of Women Victims of War - act as investigators. Finding perpetrators and providing their location to the authorities.

This is their story.

To Listen to the Episode

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