Bosnia Civil War: Brutal Massacre Of 8000 Muslim Men And Sexual Harassment Of 50,000 Muslim Women
Each year across the world, thousands will gather to mark the anniversary of Srebrenica genocide, the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War.

In Srebrenica, the white marble gravestones remind the death of thousand victims who almost all were Muslim men and boys.

On July 11, 1995, in Srebrenica 8,000 Muslim men and boys “of fighting age” were brutally massacred over the course of three days, buried in mass graves then reburied near the frontlines.

Although the assault is generally considered to be an act of genocide, Bosnian Serb militants continued to use the gendered nature of the killings to deny the fact. Milorad Dodik, president of Republika Srpska, the Serb part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, said in 2010: “It wasn’t genocide because the women and children were not killed.”

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Besides, an estimated 20,000 – 50,000 women, generally Bosnian Muslim, were subjected to sexual violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the war. Although they remained silent, due to stigma, shame and the ongoing struggle to rebuild lives devastated by sexual harrasment.

Read More: Srebrenica Genocide: More Than 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks Were Massacred During Bosnian War

Bakira Hasečić one of those women established the Association of Women Victims of War in 2003 as a way of uniting the women who were raped and sexually abused during the civil war in Bosnia.

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Bakira challenges impunity and denial every day by raising her voice and speaking out about the sexual violence that she suffered at the hands of Bosnian Serb forces. She has told how in 1992 the local police officer, called Veljko, brought two Serbian soldiers to her home. They raped her eldest daughter, a teenager, in front of her. When Hasečić tried to stop the soldiers hurting her daughter, she too was raped.

“They tell us that rape happens in every war,” Hasečić said: “that all armies commit rape, but this aggression, this genocide that happened, the rape of Bosnian Muslim women cannot be compared with any act of war or aggression. It had to be one big project that would include planners, commanders and executors. Simply, rape was used as a weapon for ethnic cleansing and genocide.”

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The sexual violence was by Serb militants as a deadly weapon. The rapes in Bosnia were designed to terrorise and humiliate – by raping women in public, the Bosnian Serbs intended to drive people out of their homes permanently. The brutality of the rapes and the policy of forcible pregnancy was also designed to prevent further generations of Muslims being born, especially when paired with mass murder of the male population.

Muslim rape victims were told that they would bear “Serb babies”. Rapes were filmed and distributed as pornography. The few accounts that exist by perpetrators even show that gang rape was treated as a male bonding exercise. In all these cases, individual women were dehumanised to the point of objects – props in the theatre of war.

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