Witness Reports



Mirsada, aged 17, spoke to a women’s group of her extreme abuse in a rape camp. Her story was printed in a 1993 Los Angeles Times article:

The White Eagles would come to get us every night. They would bring us back in the morning. There were nights when more than 20 of them came. That seemed to be some kind of honor. They did all kinds of things to us. It cannot be described, and I don't want to remember. We had to cook for them, and serve them, naked. They raped and slaughtered some girls right in front of us. Those who resisted had their breasts cut.

There were women from various towns and villages. There were more than 1,000 of us. I spent more than four months in that camp. It is a nightmare that cannot be talked about, or described, or understood.

One night, our Serbian neighbor's brother helped 12 of us escape. They caught two of us. We spent days hiding in the forest, in improvised underground shelters, and we managed to get away. If it hadn't been for him, I wouldn't have survived. I would have killed myself, because death is not as horrible as the treatment I suffered. I cannot talk about that.

Sometimes I think that I will go crazy and that the nightmare will never end. Every night in my dreams I see the face of Stojan, the camp guard. He was the most ruthless among them. He even raped 10-year-old girls, as a delicacy. Most of those girls didn't survive. They murdered many girls, slaughtered them like cattle.

I want to forget everything. I cannot live with these memories. I will go insane.

Witness 50, a teenage survivor from Foča, testified at the ICTY in 2000 about how war crimes convict Zoran Vuković raped her. She was raped repeatedly by a host of different men in various buildings around town. One of the first times she was attacked was in her own high school:

Shortly after the first time she was raped, Witness 50 stated that she was taken to the Foča High School, where she had been a student in 1992. The day after she arrived, a group of soldiers came into the classroom and picked out about eight girls, including her. One of these soldiers took Witness 50 to a room and ordered her to lie down and take off her trousers. He raped her vaginally. Witness 50 stated in her testimony that she did not remember exactly what he said to her, but that he and all of the men who would later rape her said the same things: "You Muslim women, you Bule [derogatory term], we’ll show you." When asked in court how she felt, Witness 50 stated: "There are no words in this world that could describe my feelings. It is the worst thing that was happening to me."

Later, she was taken to a sports venue and was held captive with about 60 others, many of whom were repeatedly sought out by Serbs, taken elsewhere, and raped, before being returned to the sports hall:

Witness 50 told the court how a man called Gica took her out of the Partizan Sports Hall to an apartment in the neighborhood of Brod, which she thinks was his own. On the second day she was there, an acquaintance of Witness 50’s raped her. Witness 50 stated that he knew her very well. They took the same bus every day: he to go to work and she to go to school. Witness 50 stated that he was certainly 30 years older than her, and was a married man. She said that he laughed while he was raping her. "I had the feeling that he was doing this precisely because he knew me, to inflict even more evil on me."

CNN interviewed a survivor named Jasmina in 2008. She was 19 when the war broke out, and was raped and tortured in her own home alongside family members:

"Every day we were raped. … The men from my family were beaten up the first day. ... My mother just disappeared. I never found out what happened. Then they started torturing me. I lost consciousness. When I woke up, I was totally naked and covered in blood, and my sister-in-law was also naked and covered in blood. ... I knew I had been raped, and my sister-in-law, too.” In a corner, she saw her mother-in-law, holding her children and crying.

“That same day we were locked in our house. That was the worst, the worst period of my whole life. That's when it started.

“Every day we were raped. Not only in the house—they would also take us to the front line for the soldiers to torture us. Then again in the house, in front of the children.

“I was in such a bad condition that sometimes I couldn't even recognize my own children. Even though I was in a very bad physical condition they had no mercy at all. They raped me every day. They took me to the soldiers and back to that house.

“The only conversation we had was when I was begging them to kill me. That's when they laughed. Their response was ‘we don't need you dead.’

“It lasted for a year. Every day. ... Not all the women survived.”

CNN reported that Jasmina was “rescued by a family friend who bought her as a prostitute with the secret intention of setting her free.”