Friday, July 24, 2009

COMMENT: Horrific crimes against women in Bosnia ...

This month is the 14th anniversary of the massacre in Srebrenica, a city in the Republic of Bosnia Herzegovina (BiH). That massacre took place in July 2005 and saw some 8,000 men and boys massacred in cold blood in an area the United Nations had declared a "safe haven". Dutch peacekeepers were in the area "protecting" the civilians during the massacre. The massacre, deemed genocide by the International Court of Justice, is sometimes referred to as a gendercide in that Bosnian men were specifically targetted for slaughter.

Of course, women also suffered the most horrific crimes in the BiH conflict. A number of these are chronicled in Beverly Allen's 1996 book Rape Warfare: The Hidden Genocide in Bosnia Herzegovina and Croatia. The book seems to focus only crimes committed against Bosnian Muuslim and Catholic women as well as Croatian women, though we know that Bosnian and Croatian Orthodox Christian woman were also victims of atrocities by Bosnian Muslim, Catholic and Croatian forces.

Allen defines "genocidal rape" as:

... a military policy of rape for the purpose of genocide [then] practiced in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia by members of the Yugoslav Army, the Bosnian Serb forces, Serb militias in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the irregular Serb forces known as Chetniks,and Serb civilians.

She identifies three kinds of genocidal rape. The first is where paramilitaries enter a village with a view to terrorising villagers into abandoning their homes. The soldiers ...

... take several women of varying ages from their homes, rape them in public view, and depart. The news of this atrocious event spreads rapidly throughout the village. Several days later, regular Bosnian Serb soldiers or Serb soldiers from the Yugoslav Army arrive and offer the now-terrified residents safe passage away from the village on the condition they never return.

The second form took place in concentration camps where women ...

... are chosen at random to be raped, often as part of torture preceding death.

The third form involved detaining women in rape centres where women would be repeatedly and systematically gang-raped (often until they were impregnated and safe abortions were not possible). Often women were kept in rape camps for weeks or months at a time. The rape facilities included:

... restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools, factories, peacetime brothels, or other buildings; they are also animal stalls in barns, fenced-in pens, and arenas.

Allen notes that all such rapes constitute war crimes including genocide.

All forms of genocidal rape constitute the crime of genocide as described in Article II of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

But as Amnesty International notes, thus far no one has been charged for mass-rape and other sexual crimes by the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Rape victims don't seem to matter.

The then-leader of the Bosnian, Radovan Karadzic, is currently on trial, living in relative luxury compared to hundreds of innocent Afghans who have been detained and then released without charge at Bagram Airbase. Funny that.


Peter said...

Beacuse, like, there is no concept of 'temporary marriages' (a.k.a. rape as an instrument of official state policy) in purported 'Islamic' countries, is there Irfan?

Irf said...

By temporary marriage, do you mean mut'a in Iran? Wow, I've never heard mut'a being compared to rape. Care to share some evidence?

Irf said...

Also, Peter, are you suggesting that systemic gang-rapes in war can be justified?

Anonymous said...

Didnt your own prophet massacre all the men and boys of a jewish tribe? You wouldnt dare call him a war criminal, or a rapist, and he undoubtedly raped women, as he took the pretty jewish wives of jewish men he had just killed and took them to his bed that very night. He won the war and established the religion so he got to write his version of events.

War is war. Armenia, Bangladesh, Bosnia-only monsters from Bosnia end up hated and on trial.
In this world there really is no justice or law, only hypocrisy. You win a war and you write the history, you lose and you're a 'rapist' or 'war criminal'.
War is war. When you were young you wanted to fight in Afghanistan. With a bit of combat exposure who knows what you mightve become? Mujaideen were mass killers and rapists, perhaps under different circumstances you might've become a rapist-killer rather than a lawyer? No-one can judge until they've walked the path of war. War is murder.

Irf said...

"Didnt your own prophet massacre all the men and boys of a jewish tribe?"

=> You mean the Old Testament prophets? They are my prophets too. But I don't believe they did all that.

"Bosnia-only monsters from Bosnia end up hated and on trial."

=> Actually those monsters included Muslims, Croats and Serbs. A fair few Muslims and Croats have already been tried and convicted.

"No-one can judge until they've walked the path of war. War is murder."

This is absurd logic. It's like saying: "No one can judge a pedophile until they themselves have done some kiddie-fiddling". We have laws of war that proscribe genocide in war. There is a difference between killing combatants and pushing civilians into mass graves.