It’s been 20 years since the start of Bosnian war. All year, journalists have used this anniversary not only to revisit their coverage of the region, but also to highlight how communities and individuals continue to experience the aftermath of a conflict that uprooted families from their homes, saw widespread wartime sexual violence and resulted in the deaths of over 100,000 people between 1992-1995. Unprotected, a recent documentary by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, looks at the harrowing experience of a Bosnian woman to highlight the way people are treated when called as witnesses at war crimes trials.
The full documentary is available on Youtube:
Twenty years ago, the woman identified as Z.R. was raped, and watched as her family was murdered. In the first half of the documentary, she describes how, due to a lack of government support, she was forced to face the man who attacked her and her family, even though she was supposed to be a protected witness during the trial against him. She is still suffering the consequences of reliving that nightmare today.
The only “care” the State Investigation and Protection Agency gives to victims, according to Z.R., is simply driving them to and from the court. Protection for victims of sexual violence is nonexistent, and the documentary goes on to argue that the infrastructure to fully support victims and witnesses is missing. They have little or no protection, or proper access to medical, psychological and financial assistance needed to help rebuild their lives.