From 1991 through 2001, a series of conflicts, including the Bosnian War, were fought on the territory of the Former Yugoslavia. During that time, ethnic, sexual and economic violence against women was rampant and rape was used as a tool for “ethnic cleansing”. Neither international nor domestic trials adequately addressed these multiple forms of violence against women, and neither was focused on the interests of victims. It was evident that a court designed by and for women was needed in order to develop a feminist approach to justice in this context.
By Marieme Helie Lucas, Algerian sociologist, founder and former International Coordinator of Women Living Under Muslim Laws
Sarajevo, Bosnia – May 8, 2015 - Yesterday May 7, the Women’s Court on war crimes against women during the war in the 1990’s formally started in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
Women have come together from all the corners of the former-Yugoslavia to participate in the Women’s Court in Sarajevo, to demand justice for the crimes committed against them during the wars and the enduring inequalities and suffering that followed.
SARAJEVO / GENEVA (5 November 2012) – United Nations human rights expert Rashida Manjoo said that heightened domestic violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina is linked in many cases to the legacy of the war, and women and men suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and other war-related mental health problems as well as unemployment, poverty or addiction.
It is time the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina enacted its 2010 commitment to ensure justice, truth and reparation for hundreds of survivors of wartime sexual violence, Amnesty International said in a briefing published today.
"Nearly two decades after the end of the war, hundreds of women continue to live with the effects of rape and other forms of torture, without proper access to the medical, psychological and financial assistance they need to rebuild their shattered lives. Meanwhile, most of the perpetrators go unpunished," said Jezerca Tigani, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Programme Director.
Amnesty International is urging the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina to reject a draft law, prohibiting wearing in public, clothes which prevent identification which is set for debate tomorrow. “If adopted, such a law would violate the human rights of women who choose to wear a full face veil as an expression of their religious, cultural, political or personal identity or beliefs," said Marek Marczynski, Amnesty International’s researcher on Bosnia and Herzegovina. "It would violate their right to freedom of expression and religion. At the same time, a general ban on wearing full-face veils in public could result in some women being confined to their homes and unable to participate in public life.”
In 1950 Sarajevo's local parliament introduced a law to ban veils "with the aim of removing the centuries old tradition of oppressing the female population," but today many daughters and granddaughters of these women have put the hijab back on again.
After long negotiations with the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the necessary preparatory activities, the International Initiative for Visibility of Queer Muslims (IIVQM) has become legally recognised and registered as an NGO.