Jezik / Language:
23 January 2007

Jankovic: Stockholm syndrome in victims of rape

The Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina has questioned additional witnesses and a neuropsychiatrist at the trial of Gojko Jankovic.
Doctor Alma Bravo-Mehmedbasic, a neuropsychiatrist from Sarajevo, has described women who were detained and sexually abused in Foca as "dolls without a soul who used to be human beings".

The Prosecution called Dr Bravo-Mehmedbasic to give her expert opinion on whether protected witnesses 191, 190 and 186 could develop feelings towards people who kept them in detention.

Dr Bravo-Mehmedbasic testified in the case against Jankovic, who is charged with taking part, jointly with other persons, in the rape of women in 1992 and 1993. Some of them were separated from their families and kept in houses and apartments in Foca municipality for multiple months, where Jankovic and his soldiers raped and abused them. According to the prosecution, Jankovic was leader of a paramilitary formation that operated jointly with Serb forces.

The Defence has tried to prove through witnesses' testimonies that the three witnesses, two of whom were 16 years old at the time of their detention, developed positive emotions towards Jankovic.

One of the Defence witnesses described witness 186 as "madly in love with Gojko".

"They were victims of sexual torture for a long time. Such victims can develop dependence on those who had power over them," said Dr Bravo-Mehmedbasic, who gave her opinion based on witnesses' testimonies.

The doctor also said that, in her opinion, the victims "developed dependency with elements of idealising Jankovic, who was the authority and could stop them from being tortured, in order to survive".

"These were not emotions, but instead an effort to adapt to abnormal living conditions in order to protect their own lives," the doctor said, and added that the girls were victims of "aggression expressed sexually".

Doctor Nuradin Asceric, a gynaecologist who lived and worked in Novi Pazar, Serbia, in 1992, also testified as an additional Prosecution witness.

According to this witness, "the Foca group" of women came to Novi Pazar during the summer of 1992. His medical office offered them free assistance.

"The group looked pathetic, frightened. They even had difficulties speaking at the beginning," Dr Nuradin Asceric said.

He testified that many of the women who came in the summer of 1992 from Foca territory to Novi Pazar were raped, which they themselves said, but also which he confirmed in some cases after examining them.

According to him, the women who came from Foca most often mentioned the names of Gojko Jankovic, Janko Janjic, "Dragan Gagovic, Janko Vasiljevic, certain Vukovic, a certain Rasevic, Paprica" as the rapists.

The Prosecution announced that it would question two more witnesses on January 26, including Ziba Dzin. Doctor Asceric said that she was one of the patients who came from Foca to Novi Pazar.

"I remember that young girl because when the war began she just finished her junior year in high school. I remember her green eyes and how helpless she was".

"She described how a certain Paprica took her to himself after a group of Serb soldiers raped her. He then took her around and raped her many times in multiple locations. She knew his name because he dropped his driver's license once in front of her and she saw his name. Of course, he didn't know that," Doctor Asceric said.

The Prosecution identified one of the defence witnesses, Milenko Paprica – the indictee's brother-in-law who was with him in the same unit during the war - as the girl's rapist.
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