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“Silent Scream” Shown in Banja Luka

Monday, 24.11.2014 (11:00-13:25)
The Balkans Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN of BiH, screened in Banja Luka its documentary about the victims of sexual abuse from the past war.
The documentary was screened as part of a presentation of an International Protocol on documenting and investigating sexual violence committed during conflicts.

Richard Rogers, an international law expert, explained that there were three problems in processing sexual abuse committed during wars.

"The first problem is the absence of laws dealing with those crimes. The second one is the fact that victims are afraid to speak about their experiences and the third one is gathering evidence about these crimes,” Rogers said.

BIRN’s documentary “Silent Scream” points to problems facing sexual abuse victims today. Some of them are different rights of sexual abuse survivors, which includes the inability to achieve the status of civil victims of war, inability to get reparations and the absence of judicial processing of perpetrators.

BIRN’s documentary features survivors of sexual abuse, who belong to various ethnic, gender and age groups.

Bozica Zivkovic Railic of the “Women – Victims of War” Association of Republika Srpska expressed her dissatisfaction with the war “Serb victims are depicted in the documentary”, saying that the facts were presented in a non-objective, biased and discriminatory manner.

Nada Golubovic, President of “United Women of Banja Luka”, said that the society had to change its narrative when speaking about support to survivors of sexual torture from the past war.

“We must be aware of the fact that, each appearance in court represents a re-traumatization for the victim. We must make sure that they will get all the support available,” Golubovic said, pointing out that the Protocol on investigating and documenting sexual violence committed during conflicts was most important for victims.

Students from various faculties of the Banja Luka University commented BIRN’s documentary, as well as the Protocol.

Some of them said that Serb victims were marginalised and that the Protocol should be presented to prosecutors, policemen and judges from Republika Srpska, while some considered that the rights of survivors should be solved irrespective of their ethnic affiliation.

Following their presentation in Sarajevo, Mostar and Banja Luka, the documentary and Protocol will be presented in Brcko District and Zenica as well.
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