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Breaking the Silence

Twenty years after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the scars have not yet healed. Too many war crimes have not been resolved, too many perpetrators are not taken to court. This represents a significant threat to the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina. AMICA and her partner organization in Tuzla engage in a new project to support witnesses of war crimes, raises public awareness on the issue and how to deal with the past.

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Fights fot the rights of survivors: Bakira Hasečić

Why We Get Involved - The Scars have not yet Healed

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe estimates that almost 20,000 women were raped during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Many of them were taken to special detention centers. These crimes were part of the war strategy. Officially, however, only 2,000 people are registered as victims of sexual violence. The majority remains silent - and this unwillingly saves perpetrators from being taken to court. Shame and fear: These are the main reasons why women do not report what happened to them.

No one likes to look back and deal with the wounds of the past. Young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina state they want to live their lives now, to look forward and not behind. This is understandable - but dangerous. Ethnic tensions are increasing and the events of 1992 - 1995 remain a field for speculation, interpretation and accusations.

What We Do - Strengthen Witnesses, Train the Environment

What does a woman need in order to be strong enough to testify against her rapist? What kind of support does she need, what kind of psychological care is neccessary? With our partner-organization Prijateljice in Tuzla, we analyze the situation and provide for the requirements of women, who have witnessed or suffered from war crimes.

We offer trainings for people in key positions: prosecutors, staff of health and social ministries, medical and social services. We improve the cooperation between authorities and local non-governmental organizations. We also invite students of all ethnic groups to meet and discuss the impact of the past, the consequences of war-time atrocities and the chances of common future.

What We Achieve - Breaking the Silence

We empower victims of war crimes so they are able to testify - this is the main goal of the project. It is only possible if there is respect, acknowledgement and cooperation. At the same time, we advocate for peace, mutual understanding and and a political culture of dealing with the past.

The project is funded by the Federal Foreign Office and by donations to AMICA.

Read more about our Projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina