Sunday, November 08, 2009

What is Medica Zenica?

In a video on last night’s post you saw Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff confronting the OSCE “Human Dimension” roundtable on the subject of religiously-inspired violence. On behalf of Pax Europa, Elisabeth is in the process of writing a report about her efforts — and those of her colleagues from Akademikerbund and Mission Europa — at the OSCE meeting last week.

Her insistence on bringing up religious violence was not well-received by some of her fellow delegates. She and her colleagues were careful not to mention Islam or Muslims, but the some of the Muslim delegates who took offense decided to break the taboo against using the I-word. After that Elisabeth was free to refer to Islam, as she did in her videotaped intervention.

She gives this brief description of what happened:

The discussion was helpful for our cause because we were able to table the word Islam for the first time. Up until now, we have always shied away from using the I-word — it was always about “certain religious groups”. Mission Europa boldly asked the Kyrgyz representative was religion we were talking about, and — boom! — there it was. The I-word!

Sabiha HusićAt the end of the civil society roundtable the three rapporteurs delivered their statements summing up the discussion. A delegate from a Bosnian NGO, Sabiha Husić, as well as one from Kyrgyzstan took the floor and said: “We are against Islam being seen as the main source for violence as Islam cherishes human values.” CARE Austria weighed in, saying that we should not mix the perpetrator’s background with the act of violence itself. In their experience there is no religious background to violence.

The Bosnian organization whose delegate verbally attacked me is Medica Zenica. Sabiha Husić was also the introducer of a session, meaning that she was in somewhat of an official role — as an introducer, she presented Medica Zenica to the plenary.

I had never heard of Medica Zenica, so I asked our Flemish correspondent VH — who has a knack for internet research — to do a little investigating on behalf of Pax Europa and Gates of Vienna. Below is his report.

The most interesting quote I found in his information was this excerpt from Angela Christina Whyte’s paper:

The possible complementary approaches include the establishment of a formal truth and reconciliation commission… or the utilization of local women’s groups such as Medica Zenica. The truth commission would allow for a reduced burden of proof and allows for (and encourages) multiple truths and Medica Zenica has empowered women sociologically, politically, and economically. [emphasis added]

In other words, a recipe for a multicultural kangaroo court.

The devil is in the details, and VH has delved deeply into the details. Readers are invited to hunt down the diabolical nuggets in his report.

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Notes on Medica Zenica
by VH

Medica Zenica was founded by the Swiss (born) Italian (passport) gynecologist Monika Hauser. She then also founded Medica Mondiale.

The impression is that Hauser is only focused on the Bosnian (Muslim) victims in the Balkans and mainly or solely accuses the Serbs. She seems to have turned a blind eye to the other part of the story: Serbian victims and Bosnian perpetrators. I have added below excerpts from a study, which says it is also important to study the background, the history. Not to excuse criminals, but to gain some understanding that helps to estimate possible bias involved in the claims made.

Nothing of that all with Miss Hauser!

She is also active in Israel and … of course, again, not with female Israeli terror victims, but with “Palestinians”. Hauser gives the impression she has zoomed in on politically correct victim groups in the Balkans and Israel. I have not looked further yet, but I would not be surprised if she is also a gutmensch in all the other countries she is active in.

Below is a little background information on Hauser and on Medica Mondiale, which is cooperating with organizations in “Palestine”, and some excerpts of a research (a pdf) on sexual violence in the Balkan war, which also had a chapter on Medica Zenica.

Monika Hauser [founder Medica Mondiale]

From 1992 to 1994, Monika Hauser planned, set up, and later served as head of Medica Zenica, a women’s therapy centre, together with Bosnian women experts. In connection with these activities, Medica Mondiale gradually evolved..

In 1999, she initiated the project Medica Mondiale Kosovo, involving numerous project visits to Albania and Kosovo.

From the Global Sisterhood Network:
- - - - - - - - -
Setting up Medica Zenica, Hauser insisted on a multi-ethnic team. The creation of such a centre in a war situation was pioneering work, even more remarkable in a highly patriarchal and hostile war context.


Medica Mondiale has independent projects in Bosnia and Hercegovina (27 staff), Kosovo (25 staff) and Albania (12 staff), and own projects in Afghanistan (72 staff) and Liberia (17 staff). It supports partner organisations in Cambodia, DR Congo (6 co-operative partners), East Timor, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Turkey, Uganda and Israel, supported by an office in Cologne, Germany, with 29 staff, plus a similar number of volunteers and 100 women in action groups in several German cities.

Hamburg (Der Spiegel) — When the Federal President Roman Herzog in 8 October 1996 wanted to hang the Federal Cross of Merit around her neck, she was not there. Monika Hauser protested with her absence against a decision by the German Interior Minister to deport Bosnian refugees to their homeland. A “cynical politics”, as the doctor then argued.

Hamburg — Als Bundespräsident Roman Herzog ihr am 8. Oktober 1996 das Bundesverdienstkreuz um den Hals legen wollte, war sie nicht da. Monika Hauser protestierte durch ihre Abwesenheit gegen einen Beschluss der deutschen Innenminister, bosnische Flüchtlinge in ihre Heimat abzuschieben. Eine “menschenverachtende Politik”, wie die Ärztin damals argumentierte. Nun, zwölf Jahre später, wird die 49-Jährige geehrt: mit dem Alternativen Nobelpreis…

Medica Mondiale e.V. (ed.)

Texts and materials about sexualized wartime violence against women

40-page booklet with texts on sexualized violence in war from World War II until today.

Forced prostitution in Kosovo: “They were mostly German soldiers, very decent ones.”

Medica Mondiale e.V. (Hrsg.)

Texte und Materialien zu sexualisierter Kriegsgewalt gegen Frauen

40seitige Broschüre mit Texten zu sexualisierter Kriegsgewalt vom zweiten Weltkrieg bis heute.

Zwangsprostitution im Kosovo: “Es waren vor allem deutsche Soldaten, sehr anständige.”

Global Sisterhood Network:

Champions of independent journalism, peace-building and social justice honoured in 2008 with SEK 2 million prize shared between four recipients: Krishnammal and Sankaralingam Jagannathan, and their organisation LAFTI (Land for the Tillers’ Freedom, India), Amy Goodman (USA), Asha Hagi (Somalia) and Monika Hauser (Germany)

Medica Mondiale:

More than fifteen years have passed in the meantime since the first reports of mass rapes of Bosnian women became known. Several thousand women were systematically raped during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina by Serbian soldiers, tortured and kept imprisoned in camps — some of them for weeks. Women of all ages were part of a pernicious tactic of war, which served to demoralize the enemy and contributed to the expulsions from the areas claimed by ethnic Serbs. According to estimates by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), there were 20,000 rape cases. Other sources speak of up to 50,000 cases.

Original: Mehr als fünfzehn Jahre sind inzwischen vergangen, seit die ersten Berichte über Massenvergewaltigungen von bosnischen Frauen bekannt wurden. Mehrere Tausende Frauen wurden im Krieg in Bosnien-Herzegowina systematisch von serbischen Soldaten vergewaltigt, gefoltert und in Lagern gefangen gehalten — manche von ihnen wochenlang. Frauen jeden Alters wurden so Teil einer perfiden Kriegstaktik, die der Demoralisierung des Gegners und der ethnischen Vertreibung der von den Serben beanspruchten Gebiete diente. Nach Schätzungen des UN-Kinderhilfswerkes (Unicef) waren es 20.000 Vergewaltigungsfälle. Andere Quellen sprechen von bis zu 50.000 Fällen.

Medica Mondiale:

“Grbavica Grbavica” —

The winner of the 2006 Berlinale (Film Festival) concerns the systematic sexual abuse of women by Serb soldiers during the Bosnian war. On the occasion of the film, Medica Mondiale, together with the German film distributor Ventura, started a nationwide campaign in support of the many impoverished Bosnian women.

“Esmas Geheimnis” — Grbavica

Der Siegerfilm der Berlinale 2006 behandelt den systematischen sexuellen Missbrauch von Frauen durch serbischen Soldaten während des Bosnienkrieges. Anlässlich des Filmes startete Medica Mondiale gemeinsam mit dem deutschen Filmverleih Ventura eine bundesweite Kampagne zur Unterstützung der vielfach völlig verarmten bosnischen Frauen.

Women Against Violence (WAV)

Project in Nazareth

Since 1992, the Israeli women’s organization Women Against Violence (WAV) supports Arab-Palestinian women living in Israel who are affected by sexual violence. Women Against Violence encourages these women to go to court and defend themselves against injustice. Medica Mondiale supports the committed project since 2005 with currently around 10,000 euro.

[…] as a minority in the State of Israel they generally experience not support from the side of the Israeli authorities, but are often discriminated against.


Palestinian women are treated worse in almost all institutions in Israel, than Israeli women. In court, there often is no translator, although it is compulsory, and the police stations in the Arab communities often lack female police officers, for among others conducting physical investigations. WAV has organized over 300 workshops for this reason, among others with the police, the judiciary, among teachers, parents and lawyers. Always the aim was to provide understanding for the victims of violence and to clarify the consequences of possible impunity.

Medica Mondiale:

Since 1992 WAV has involved itself with work in alliance with several other organizations for peace in the region, by promoting, inter alia, exchange and dialogue between Arab-Palestinian and Israeli women. In the acknowledgment of this important peace-policy work, Aida Touma-Suliman, the director of WAV, has been nominated as one of the 1000 Peace Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005.

Projektförderung in Nazareth

Seit 1992 unterstützt die israelische Frauenorganisation Women Against Violence (WAV) — Frauen gegen Gewalt — arabisch-palästinensische Frauen, die in Israel leben und von sexualisierter Gewalt betroffen sind. Women against Violence ermutigt diese Frauen dazu, vor Gericht zu gehen und sich gegen das Unrecht zu wehren. Medica Mondiale fördert das engagierte Projekt seit 2005 mit bislang rund 10.000 Euro.

[…] als Minderheit im Staat Israel von Seiten der israelischen Behörden in der Regel keine Unterstützung erfahren, sondern vielfach diskriminiert werden.


Palästinenserinnen werden bei fast allen Institutionen in Israel schlechter behandelt als israelische Frauen. Vor Gericht gibt es oft keine Übersetzung, obwohl das vorgeschrieben ist; in den Polizeistationen der arabischen Kommunen fehlen häufig weibliche Polizeibeamte, so unter anderem für die Durchführung körperlicher Untersuchungen. Über 300 Workshops hat WAV daher unter anderem bei der Polizei, bei der Justiz, bei Lehrern, Eltern und Rechtsanwälten durchgeführt. Immer geht es darum, Verständnis für die Gewaltopfer zu vermitteln und die Folgen einer möglichen Straflosigkeit zu verdeutlichen.

[…] Darüber hinaus engagiert sich WAV im Bündnis mit verschiedenen anderen Organisationen für Frieden in der Region, indem sie unter anderem den Austausch und Dialog zwischen arabisch-palästinensischen und israelischen Frauen fördert. In Anerkennung dieser wichtigen friedenspolitischen Arbeit wurde Aida Touma-Suliman, die Direktorin von WAV als eine der 1.000 Friedensfrauen für den Friedensnobelpreis 2005 nominiert.



“I am happy to be sharing with you the experience and issues of feminism in Canada, and to be learning from your own experience here in Palestine. There is a lot in common between the two experiences concerning the historical context, but also many differences. Canada is also a colonialist racist settler society, which was established on antagonism to the native Aboriginal people and depriving them from property and rights.” These were the words Professor Sonera Thobani started her lecture to an audience of tens of feminist activists who attended the seminar organized by WAV and the Feminist Studies Program in Mada Al-Carmel organization under the title of “Anti-racialized Feminism” on Wednesday, June 24th 2009.

Right-hand top corner: an Arabic banner on 9-11: the link leads to this (Arabic, all machine translations):

At the Arab version of the website it says: “Launching the global campaign ‘one day the struggle of one’ in Women Against Violence” with the link to that banner.

“Launching the global campaign “one day struggle of one” at the Women Against Violence”, links to this text (Arabic):

Society launched the “Women against violence” with the beginning of November, the global campaign entitled “One day one of struggle,” organized by the “coalition of the global gender”, and falls on the ninth of this month. Participates of “Women against violence” in the campaign along with more than 20 women’s societies and institutions in 11 countries in the world to assert more rights to women and sexuality Jsdhn. Will the various associations and institutions to hold an event or a mass demonstration or display of films related to honor crimes, violence against women, arbitrary laws against women in life, right to education, the right to physical and sexual equality, the same day in the various participating countries.

It is expected to gather on this day thousands of people in the world on university campuses in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Lebanon, Sudan, and held a news conference in Cyprus, Egypt, Malaysia, Tunisia, Pakistan, and in the streets of Turkey and Palestine to emphasize the right of women to her body and sexuality as human rights.

WAV is associated with The Working Group on the Status of Palestinian Women in Israel: A coalition between Addalah, Human Rights Association, Al Tufula, Maan-Union of Naqab Women’s Organizations [Union of Bedouin Women’s Organizations in the Negev], and Kayan, dedicating its work to developing the shadow report to CEDAW committee in the UN on the status of the Palestinian women in Israel, advocating for the report and follow-up on the implementation by the Israeli Government of the recommendations given by the Committee.

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Excerpts (containing portions about Medica Zenica) from Angela Christina Whyte, “Placing Blame or Finding Peace: A Qualitative Analysis of The Legal Response to Rape as a War Crime in the Former Yugoslavia”

Department of Sociology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba 2004 (pdf here):

[p.68] V. Alternatives to Formal Legal Mechanisms

The fourth area I examine includes alternatives to legal methods. The previous chapters analyze the shortcomings of law and its inability to respond to the diversity of women’s experiences with war. While critiquing law was my primary objective, I felt it necessary to offer not necessarily alternatives, but supplemental options. In addition, after reading the women’s stories it was evident that many women were not only receiving assistance but were in return assisting others. Most of these interactions occurred outside the realm of international law. The women’s words spoke of local women’s NGO’s. In this section of my analysis I have included [p.69] an examination of one women’s group—Medica Zenica and I examined the possibility of establishing a truth and reconciliation commission and the recent work if the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ).

This Chapter outlined the methodology and research design utilized in my research and analysis. Combined with the previous two chapters that addressed the relevant literature and the theoretical approach that guided my research, these three chapters have set the stage for my analysis of the data. The following four chapters take an in depth examination of the data of my research.

[p.182] I. Introduction

While the international legal recognition of rape as a war crime could be considered as a major legal victory for women, previous chapters have illustrated that international law and its statutes have been unable to respond to the diversity of women’s needs and expectations. Law with its restrictive methodology and classification system fails to sufficiently listen to the multiplicity of women’s voices. The women’s stories reveal that women are more than just victims of war and more than just victims of rape. Rather, these stories show that women’s experiences of war are multiple and complex, and that the effects continued beyond the confines of the war and beyond the borders of the former Yugoslavia.

Noting the deficiencies of international of law, the intent of this chapter is to examine alternatives (or complimentary approaches) to law that might empower women survivors at the local level in the former Yugoslavia. After briefly outlining some of the other responses to the war in the former Yugoslavia I will address two alternatives to formal legal responses in greater detail. These alternatives include the possible establishment of a truth commission(s) in the former Yugoslavia (one in each — Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia and Montenegro) and the response of one local women’s group in Bosnia—Medica Zenica.

[p.184] Local NGO’s in the former Yugoslavia include the Association of Citizen’s Women of Srebrenica, Medica Zenica (Bosnia Herzegovina), Association of Citizens Truth and Reconciliation (ACTR-Bosnia), Croatian Helsinki Committee (Croatia), Centre for Women Victims of War (Croatia), Humanitarian Law Canter (Serbia and Montenegro), Centre for Collecting documentation and information and Document Centre ‘Wars 1991-1999‘ (Serbia and Montenegro) (listed in Djordjevi, 2002a).

In addition to the women’s groups in Bosnia listed above, there were at least fourteen other groups operating in Bosnia. These groups include Women to [or “for”] Women, Women 21, SOS Telephone Women 21 (Sarajevo), BosFam, Viva Women of Bosnia, Amic/Girlfriend, Rainbow Association, Allied Women (Women and Law), SOS [p.185] Telephone for women Victims of Violence (Banja Luka), The Way of Hope, Femina Women Alliance, Nada, SOS (Mostar), and Women in Black (IGC, n.d.).

[p.198] IV Women’s Groups in Bosnia — The Example of Medica Zenica

While the women of Bosnia were being represented by the international community as victims or a ‘war affected population’, local women were actively engaged in humanitarian organizations to address the multiplicity of women’s needs relating to war time abuses (Walsh, 1998). A great number of women from the former Yugoslavia found themselves immersed in humanitarian organizations involved with local and international efforts during and after the conflict (Mertus, 2001 and Beli, 1995). These organizations provided women refugees with physical, psychosocial, economic, and political assistance. Many women involved in organizing and delivering services at these women centred groups were themselves refugees in the former Yugoslavia (Beli, 1995 and Mertus et. al., 1997).

However the extent of local women’s involvement of rebuilding the community and empowering individual women has been overshadowed by formal legal mechanisms (i.e. the ICTY) created by the international community. Mertus explains that while some women were assisting those involved with the ICTY, many more women helped other women at the local level:

[p.199] Some women found themselves immersed in local and international efforts to highlight that wartime rape and sexual violence are crimes and to support the efforts of the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to bring the perpetrators to justice. Many more local women turned their attention instead to more immediate local matters, such as the rebuilding of their families and communities (Mertus, 2001: 36).

However, these local initiatives are rarely acknowledged, endorsed or funded by the international community
(Walsh, 1998).

Previously in this chapter, the work of Djordjevi(2002a) identified several women’s groups and organizations operating in the former Yugoslavia at the local level. Many additional female researchers have studied some of these groups and the impact that they have had on local women in detail.

Many of these organizations involved very basic functions such as providing connection with other women. For example, áuänjara (1999) explained that local initiatives in the Lasava Valley, most notably Majka I Dijete (which in English translates to Mother and Child). Majka I Dijete served as a mediator between international humanitarian organizations and local women and facilitated basic interchanges linking women during the war. In some instances women were isolated or kept hidden in cellars for long periods of time. One woman interviewed by áuänjara explained, ‘I was afraid of spiritual poverty through this war. I exchanged books that I had with other women’ (1999: 133).

In addition to providing interconnectedness, the common goal of many of the women’s groups were to help women achieve independence, self-support, self esteem, and control over their lives (Zvizdi, 2002 and Boriand Desnica, 1996). In general many of the women’s organizations hoped to spread women’s solidarity to [p.200] not only to transform and empower individual women, but also to create a domino effect; that is to have the women actively involved in helping other women. Boriand Desnica (1996) explain that many women’s groups attempted to change despair into language and action for women. This was achieved by pulling women survivors into focus. Boriand Desnica (1996) state:

Although the circumstances are very hard, women find creative ways to survive by themselves or are encouraged by others — they consider themselves survivors. They pride themselves on being able to cope with everything that comes along and think that they deserves recognition, sometimes asking for it for the first time in their lives (143).

While it is evident that local women were providing essential services and immediate assistance to those women in need, we are left asking the question: what can the international community do to assist these local efforts? Mertus (2000a: 50) suggests, ‘Instead of subverting the plans of local women’s organizations and using local women as cheap service providers, internationals should respect local agendas and involve local women in decisions-making processes over the design of internationally sponsored projects.’ Julie Gerte (cited in Mertus, 2000a: 37) of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Mostar stated, ‘One of the best things internationals can do is to foster and support networks of local groups and then withdraw and let these groups decide on their own programs.’

The one women’s organization that I have chosen to elaborate on is Medica Zenica because it, as Gerte suggests, fostered the permanent creation of a local group, and the international figures left once the organization could run independently. By selecting this women’s group in particular I am not suggesting that it is the best, or the most effective group. I am not is a position to provide such an endorsement. [p.201] While such an analysis would be a valid endeavour, my intent at this time is to provide a snap shot of one organization. Medica Zenica was chosen because I was able to access the most information on this organization in English. Unfortunately the language barrier makes analyzing local women’s groups more difficult for an outside researcher like myself.

[p.201] Medica Zenica was started in Bosnia in 1993 by a German [actually Swiss Italian — VH] gynaecologist Monika Hauser. Its creation was a direct response to the systematic rape occurring in the former Yugoslavia. Unlike the ad hoc nature of the ICTY, Medica Zenica is a permanent organization. Medica Zenica is a non-profit non-governmental organization that advocates for and assists all women (despite ethnicity) who survived the war in the former Yugoslavia.

The initial response of Medica Zenica was to combine psychosocial, political, and legal support for the women in Bosnia. However, acknowledging the lack of positive prospects in post-war Bosnia, it has since expanded its mandate to also provide training opportunities, networking abilities, and long term assistance. Medica Zenica was premised on feminists’ notions — it is made up of women working for women and endorses non-hierarchical gender relations.

When it began, Medica Zenica worked with local experts in multiple areas including the documentation of crimes, political lobbying, networking with national and international governments, and preparing sociological and analytical work. It was also asked to contribute its research to the Tribunal by educating and supporting those witnesses testifying.

[p.201] Medical Zenica began as a local [see cv Hauser] response, with assistance from women outside the former Yugoslavia, and has now developed into an international organization ‘Medica Mondiale’ that empowers local women. Since the creation of Medica Zenica, Medica Mondiale has set up similar responses in other war torn countries such as Kosovo, Albania, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

The current staff of Medica Zenica — which is all women and all local Bosnian women, has doubled since its creation. In 1993 there were 40 employees, in 1996 there 60, and in 2002 a total of 80 employees. Medica Zenica currently has a website which is in Bosnian only.11 The website provides similar information that can be found on the Medica Mondiale web page.

Medica Zenica is only one of many women or ‘zene’ groups that operated during the war and continues to be in existence today. Unlike law it appears that it is women centred and attempts to address the multiplicities of women’s needs. Medica Zenica provided a space for women to come together and connect with other women. As revealed by the women’s stories interconnectedness was something that women say they need. It also identified the women of Bosnia as having something to contribute and not merely as a ‘recipient population’ (Walsh, 1998). Medica Zenica is a permanent organization that acknowledges the need for long-term assistance and involvement to deal with not only the immediate effects of war, but also the long term consequences such as increased domestic violence..

[p.202] Due to language barriers it is difficult for me to adequately assess the impact Medica Zenica has had on the women of Bosnia. However, I have attempted to identify it as one possible alternative to the formal legal mechanisms.

In noting the inadequacies of formal legal mechanisms, the intent of this chapter was not to provide a holistic overview of all agencies operating in the former Yugoslavia. The objective was to provide general information concerning local and international responses (government and NGO), and additional information concerning the possible alternatives of a truth commission and women’s groups as means to hear women’s stories.

[p.206] In noting the inclusion of women in all areas of the ICTY structure (the Chambers, the Office of the Prosecutor, and the Registry) it is evident that their inclusion has been consistent with the ‘add women and stir’ approach. As a result this approach has failed to adequately challenge or change the structure of the ICTY. Ultimately with the inclusion of women in the application of law, the importance of gender was overridden by the power of law. While my approach has been survivor centred it is unknown how the law will respond to women who are war criminals. It is possible that law, if it continues to use the ‘add women and stir’ approach, will either deny women a place as an aggressor or mistakenly assume that their violent acts are equivalent to that of their male counterparts. Thus leaving the gender social scripts unchallenged.

After noting the short comings of law I have attempted to offer possible options that can supplement the ICTY in its attempts to fulfill its objectives that include the delivery of reconciliation to people of the former Yugoslavia, to act as deterrence, to bring those accused to justice, to render justice victims and to establish truth. The possible complementary approaches include the establishment of a formal truth and reconciliation commission as described by Hayner (2001) or the utilization of local women’s groups such as Medica Zenica. The truth commission would allow [p.207] for a reduced burden of proof and allows for (and encourages) multiple truths and Medica Zenica has empowered women sociologically, politically, and economically.

II. Obstacles

The obstacles I encountered during my research and analysis can be organized into three different categories. These categories include the notion of an unfamiliar subject matter (which includes: a foreign country, international law, mass rape, and the criminological interest (or lack thereof)), the sensitivity of the subject matter (sponges of trauma), and the methodological obstacles (wholesale borrowing of testimony).

In order to understand the legal response to rape in the former Yugoslavia I first had to research the country. This included examining its people, politics, culture and its history. This process of setting the stage for my thesis took considerable time. Yacoubian (2000) validates my experience by stating that researchers examining war and war crimes are often required to spend a significant amount of time researching the basics.

[p.208] Third, I was limited by what Lindsey (2002) identifies as the lack of precedent studying mass rape in an academic context. Initially it was very difficult to find reliable publications by academics concerning mass rape in the former Yugoslavia. As a result, a great deal of my initial research was based on media stories, books, and reports. However as of recent (between 2000 and present) more analyses of academic quality have been published. The passing of time has also allowed for the translation of work by local researchers from the former Yugoslavia to be translated from Serbo-Croatian/Bosnian into English.

[…] Sensitivity of Subject Matter

Every day rape is disturbing. However, during war rape is more brutal, more frequent, and occurs against the backdrop of complete social, political, and economical disruption of every day life. The lingering presence (Schott, 1996) of war makes rape even more disconcerting not only for those women who survived, but also for those who choose to research it. Many times I have had to step away from my [p.209] research as the women’s words had a tremendous impact on me. Hayner (2001) describes how the collection of stories often leads the researcher to be a ‘sponge of trauma.’ In her work with truth commissions Hayner explains:

A number of commissions have found that the staff who are the most disturbed by the harrowing tales of torture and abuse are not those taking statements directly from the victims, but instead data entry staff charged with coding and entering the information into the database. Perhaps this is because statement takers can see signs of resilience as the victim tells the story, and put the account into context thus easing the horrors. (Hayner, 2001: 151).

[p.211] With the eruption of international and civil wars all over the globe, the fact that women and girls will continue to be raped remains an unsettling reality. For example Amnesty International reports on the rape in Dafur:

When we tried to escape they shot more children. They raped women; I saw many cases of Janjawid raping women and girls. They are happy when they rape. They sing when they rape and they tell that we are just slaves and that they can do with us how they wish (Amnesty International, 2004).

[p.214] As criminologists we cannot respond only to the crime itself. We must address the social context in which the crime takes place. That involves not only examining what happened during the war, but also examining what preceded and what followed the war. In order to ascertain the social implications of the war as researchers we must look beyond the legal narratives. We must look beyond the immediate crime and expand our analysis to include the impact of these crimes.

Previous posts about the OSCE and the Counterjihad:

2009 Jul 25 A Report on the OSCE Roundtable
  Sep 30 ICLA Tackles Fundamental Freedoms at the OSCE Meeting in Warsaw
  Oct 1 The ICLA Meets the OSCE, Round 2
  Nov 5 The OSCE: Islam and Violence Against Women
    7 Proposed Charter of Muslim Understanding Under Fire At OSCE Meeting in Vienna
    7 “Hate Speech” Accusations at the OSCE Meeting