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Positive Reactions to “Silent Scream” in Trebinje

Tuesday, 16.12.2014 (19:00-21:00)
Participants in a discussion that followed the screening of the “Silent Scream” film produced by the Balkans Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, of BiH in Trebinje conclude that people should speak about crimes, so the truth can be reached and perpetrators processed.

"The aim of the 'Silent Scream’ documentary is to encourage victims of sexual violence to testify with the key interest of proving the crimes,” said Vukan Kovac, President of the Association of Detainees of the Trebinje region with the Association of Detainees of Republika Srpska.

Following the screening of the documentary dedicated to victims of sexual violence, a former detainee in Dretelj detention camp, near Capljina, stood up in front of about 40 guests and briefly said that she was taken away, along with her family, and subjected to sexual violence.

“I am a victim of the most horrible crime against women. I am not ashamed. I still do not have the status of a civil victim of war. I have nothing. I do not have any income,” said the former detainee in Dretelj, speaking about this issue in public for the first time.
Several victims featured in the 'Silent Scream' documentary recall the traumas they survived during the war and share their own experiences related to court proceedings. Their key message is that people should speak about these crimes.

Another former detainee Damjan Tripkovic said that the film should be screened in judicial institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, BiH, in order for them to speed up the processing of war crimes. He pointed out that he had given tens of statements and that he could not understand the slowness of judicial institutions. Olga Drasko, President of the Female Detainees Section with the Association of Detainees of Republika Srpska, presented a similar opinion.    

“Judicial institutions need to regain victims’ trust in them. We just keep giving statements again and again. We have spent thousands of sleepless nights. And then, instead of seeing a trial happening, we give more statements,” said Drasko, former detainee in Dretelj detention camp.

Rajko Capina, Chief of the War Veterans and Disabled Persons Protection in Trebinje, said that there was no excuse for delays in processing of war crimes by judicial institutions.

The victims, who are members of the Association of Detainees in the Trebinje region, particularly stressed the fact that witnesses were dying and getting old as a big problem.   

The documentary was shown in Trebinje on December 16. Screenings previously took place in Sarajevo, Mostar, Banja Luka, Zenica, Brcko, Prijedor and Bihac.

The film presents the process through which the survivors go during trials. The 'Silent Scream' also calls on the responsible authorities to speed up the processing of war crimes and the state to offer them more adequate care, because many of the victims are marginalised, live in very bad conditions and, very often, without any income.

Besides people, who were subjected to sexual abuse during the past war, the film also features representatives of judicial institutions and NGOs, which help those victims, as well as psychiatrists and psychologists.   

Following the screening of the film, BIRN representatives met Slobodanka Gacinovic, Chief Prosecutor of the District Prosecution in Trebinje and gave her a copy of the 'Silent Scream' documentary.

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