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15 December 2008
News

Trbic: The trauma of Srebrenica victims

BIRN BiH
Two additional Prosecution witnesses speak about the trauma, suffered by Srebrencia victims, and their day-to-day problems.

 
Teufika Ibrahimefendic, psychotherapist with the "Vive zene" NGO, claims to have worked with women and children, who lived through the tragedy of Srebrenica in 1995, adding that, to them this "was a shock", whose consequences they still feel.  

"Women from Srebrenica, who came to Tuzla after July 11, 1995, said that they had been through a chaotic situation, disorder and helplessness. This led to break-down of their psychological structure," Ibrahimefendic said. 

She was examined as an additional Prosecution witness at the trial of Milorad Trbic, who is charged with genocide and participating in the forcible resettlement and execution of Bosniaks from Srebrenica in July 1995.  

The indictment alleges that Trbic was assistant commander for security with Zvornik Brigade of the Republika Srpska Army. 

As explained by this witness, the Srebrenica tragedy was traumatic for the children, who survived it, so some of them "felt afraid, left to their own, while some were afraid of going to school and could not concentrate on learning and so on".  

"I have been a therapist to those children since 1995. Some improvements have been recorded. Those who did not take the therapy consume alcohol, drugs and so on. This is what usually happens to children living in refugee centers," Ibrahimefendic said. 

Talking about her working experience, she said that she had been working in "Viva zene" NGO since 1993, adding that this association offered support to traumatised victims, including the victims of Srebrenica. 

"Some Srebrenica victims suffer from clinical depression, showing symptoms such as emotional instability, loss of self-respect, frequent nightmares," Ibrahimefendic said. 

The witness said that those victims, whose family members are still missing, speak about that in different ways, adding that some of them "deny that a person is dead" and look at it as if "nothing had happened". 

The witness said that in some other cases, victims "talk to the missing person every day, or secretly carry some objects with them, such as photos, and mourn when nobody can hear them".  

"Some people want the missing persons to be with them, but they never say that to anyone. Whatever you do not say is very frightening. They are afraid to admit that," Ibrahimefendic said. 

Lawyer Saliha Djuderija, Chief of the Human Rights Section with the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, appeared as the second Prosecution witness.  

Djuderija says that she meets victims, some of which are from Srebrenica, in her daily work.  

"After having lost their male family members, the Srebrenica victims were ruined, because they lost 'the heads' of their families. They found themselves in a bad situation, because they lost their key supporters," Djuderija said, explaining that many wives also lost their real estate, because their husbands' property was registered in their father-in-laws' names.  

"Over the past years parents do not want to declare their sons dead, while wives and children want to do it in order to solve some basic existential problems," Djuderija said. 

According to her, 4,000 persons from the Srebrenica area are recorded as missing. Their family members ask for their "bones to be found so that they could bury them".  

According to the official timetable of the State Court, this trial is due to continue on January 12 next year.
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