Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War

A Case Study exploring the Use of Sexual Violence in the Bosnian War 1992-1995

Master's Thesis, 2016

71 Pages, Grade: 2:1






Chapter 1
Literature Review
2.1 Sexual Violence and War
2.2 Ethnic Cleansing in the Bosnian Conflict
2.3 Patterns of Sexual Violence in Bosnia
2.4 Patriarchy in the Bosnian Society

Chapter 3
3.1 Methodological Approach
3.2 Access and Sample
3.3 Conducting the Interviews
3.4 Pilot Study
3.5 Data Analysis
3.6 Ethical Considerations

Chapter 4
4.1 Theme 1: Widespread/Systematic/Targeted
4.2 Theme 2: Ram-Plan/Tolerance
4.3 Theme 3: Patriarchal Society/ Stigma-Rejection

Chapter 5


Appendix A: Participant Table (not included for copyright reasons)

Appendix B: Interview Guide

Appendix 3: Participant information sheet


I would like to give special thanks to my supervisor, Dr Mike McGuire, for his valuable guidance, critiques, support and help through these two difficult years. Also, I am grateful to all the lecturers at the Department of Sociology-Criminology for the important things that I was taught. I am particularly grateful to the participants of this study as they immensely contributed to my work and made this dissertation a reality by sharing their experiences.

I would like to sincerely thank my family for their unconditioned love, support and belief to my abilities. Finally, I am grateful to Eleni, a woman who has been a moral and physical support throughout many years and of course during my postgraduate degree.

This dissertation is dedicated to my aunt Katerina and my uncle John without whom I would not have been able to do this master’s degree. Thank you for your support and love; they will never be forgotten!


Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


On 13-15 June 2014, the largest global summit that has ever been held to end sexual violence in conflicts took place at ExCel London with the participation of 1,700 delegates and 123 country delegations, including 79 Ministers. The Summit agreed to take practical measures in order to tackle impunity for the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and to begin changing global attitudes towards these crimes. This makes obvious that, although some progress has been made in recognizing rape and other acts of sexual violence as war crimes, the international and national response thereon remains to this day unclear and inadequate. The case of Bosnia offers a unique example to understand the systematic and organized form that sexual violence can take during war, its consequences and the steps required to prevent future crimes of such nature, as this was the first time in history that sexual violence was officially recognized as a war crime and a crime against humanity.

This qualitative study explores if and how sexual violence was used as a weapon of war in Bosnia, its aim and the socio-cultural circumstances under which it took place. Drawing upon findings from six semi-structured interviews with a group of individuals who have expertise on this topic and from official documents of the ICTY, the conclusion of this research is that sexual violence was undoubtedly used as a wartime weapon by the Serbian and Bosnian Serb forces in order to achieve ethnic cleansing of—mainly— the Bosnian Muslims and the Croats. The findings also show that, even if this campaign of sexual violence was not organized by the highest levels of political and military leadership, it was definitely tolerated by them.

Chapter 1


The purpose of this chapter is to provide information regarding my own personal interest in this subject and introduce some general characteristics about the use of sexual violence in war, the aim of this research and the chapters that will be discussed. A photographic exhibition by the photographer Velija Hasanbegović about a 40-year-old woman who, at the age of eighteen, was forced to endure the horrors of sexual violence while being detained in what was once her high school during the Bosnian war, prompted me to do a research about the use of sexual violence in the Bosnian conflict. Upon my research on the subject, the evidence of the mass number of rapes that took place in Bosnia, the circumstances under which they occurred and the fact that sexual violence was so widespread in a Western country during the twenty-first century, constituted a very strong motive for me to write my dissertation on this topic.

Wars are characterized by extreme standards of violence and unimaginable brutality mainly targeting innocent citizens. Amongst several types of wartime violence, sexual violence has inevitably become the focus of journalists and academics, especially in the last two decades. The frequency of sexual violence in wars and its widespread and systematic usage against civilians has hardened perceptions about the modern reality of an age-old concept: strategic employment of sexual violence as a weapon of war. In recent decades, the methodical use of sexual violence as a wartime weapon has been present in civil wars in Uganda, Liberia, Rwanda and in Former Yugoslavia (Aranka, Joffres, Mills, and Spiegel 2008; Beltz 2008; Benard 1994).Over the last hundred years, systematic sexual violence was reported in anti- Chinese riots in Indonesia, in the war for independence in Bangladesh and, on a massive scale, by Japanese soldiers in Korea and China during World War II(Watts and Zimmerman 2002).However, what makes the Yugoslav conflicts noteworthy is that sexual violence was exposed as a method and instrument of war not supplementary to militaristic objectives but inherently associated with them (Ni Aolain 1997).

Sexual violence can be described as any unwanted sexual action or activity and can take many forms such as rape, mutilation rapes, sexual torture and slavery, enforced pregnancy and prostitution (ICRC 2013). For the purpose of this dissertation, since most of the victims during the war were victims of rape: “rape should be understood to be the insertion, under conditions of force, coercion, or duress, of any object, including but not limited to a penis, into a victim’s vagina or anus; or the insertion, under conditions of force, coercion, or duress, of a penis into the mouth of the victim. Rape is defined in gender neutral terms, as both men and women are victims of rape. However, it must be noted that women are more at risk of being victims of sexually violent crimes and face gender-specific obstacles in seeking redress”(Farwell 2004 cited to McDougall 1998: 8).According to Winker and Hanker (1995), during the act of rape the perpetrator controls the situation, commands the act and decides about the continuation and perpetration of rape, showing his dominance and the forced submission of the victim.

This dissertation seeks to explore if and how sexual violence was used as a wartime weapon in Bosnia, its aim and the way in which the strong patriarchal society of Bosnia facilitated this practice. The second chapter will review the literature in relation to the theories which try to explain the use of sexual violence as a weapon in wartime and the forms that this can take. The chapter continues with a discussion of the literature on the campaign of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and the patterns of sexual violence that were identified during and after the war. Finally, examples from the literature that demonstrate the strong patriarchal society of Bosnia which is related to sexual violence will be introduced, especially for the Bosnian Muslims.

Chapter three will outline the methodological approach that was used for this study and the limitations along with the composition of the research sample. Lastly, details on data analysis will be provided together with an outline of the ethical issues that had to be considered. In chapter four, the main themes of the analysis will be presented; an analysis of the data on the experiences of the participants in accordance with ICTY official documents (statements, judgements, convictions, testimonies) is presented, which makes the findings more solid. In chapter five, the last chapter, the main findings of the research and its importance will be outlined.

Some suggestions for future research and recommendations for preventing the use of sexual violence in conflicts will also be made.

Chapter 2

Literature Review

Sexual violence has been a part of virtually every war the world has known and has long been considered criminal conduct under national criminal laws and international law, yet war-related sexual violence has seldom been prosecuted. For many years the use of sexual violence in wars was considered as a spoil of war, as a collateral damage rather than an illegitimate act that violates humanitarian law and can be carefully planned at high levels(Human Rights Watch 1995; Langeveldt 2012; Mukgewe and Nangini 2009).However, the news of the mass rapes that took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s attracted great international attention and condemnation and forced the International Community to take steps in order to punish the offenders (UN 1993). Specifically, the conflict in the former Yugoslavia has taken sexual violence to new levels, not only in terms of the scope and scale of the crime but in its systematic use to force civilians from their homes and ensure they will never return. This policy, using sexual violence as a means to achieve this goal— created and enforced at the highest levels—has become known as ethnic cleansing.

Except that, the war in Bosnia was significant because it was the first time in history that an international body, the Commission of Experts, established by the Security Council of the UN, investigated allegations of sexual violence among other war crimes and recognised wartime sexual violence as a war crime(Bassiouni and McCormic 1996).

2.1 Sexual Violence and War

When discussing sexual violence during war, different theories are described in the literature that try to illustrate the use of sexual violence in conflicts: the biology- impunity theory, the feminist theory on sexual violence during war and the strategic sexual violence theory. These three theories, which will be discussed further below, regarding the practice of sexual violence in wartime, provide a deep understanding of the causes and the circumstances allowing this form of violence to occur.

The biology-impunity theory (White and Post 2003; Ghiglieri 2000; MacKinnon 1994)

is the classical explanation for the use of wartime sexual violence that “boys will be boys”. Men are more aggressive than women because of their high testosterone levels and they will commit sexual offences when they have the opportunity because of an innate biological drive. Rooted in the Darwinian selection (that each man is predicted to transgress) masculinity will be increased during war because opportunity elevates as legal rule and socials enforcement norms disintegrate(White and Post 2003). As Brownmiller (1975; 1994) states, the permission, granted to soldiers during wartime, to kill, steal and commit many more illegal actions without getting punished, might also lead to the use of sexual violence by them, especially against women, if such an opportunity arises. The biology-impunity theory constitutes the basis in understanding the connection between war, impunity and sexual violence. It especially appears in old social systems which have been disrupted but the state has not taken actions to implement the state legal system, suggesting that a number of men of a society will use sexual assault if no consequences ensue.

(Mansfield 2010; Beneduce et al 2006).

According to the classical feminist theory, sexual violence during war reflects the same characteristics of sexual violence during peacetime. Dominance over women and exertion of power are the main motives that lead men to use sexual violence (Stiglmayer 1994; Sajor 1998; Barstow 2000; Baaz and Stern 2009; Farr 2009).This is further supported by Seifert (1994:55) who claims that sexual violence is not “an aggressive manifestation of sexuality, but rather a manifestation of aggression”; it is entirely about exerting power and proving male dominance. The significance of Seifert’s view is that she discusses the patriarchal nature in which sexual violence takes place, enforcing the importance of values and culture of a society when regarding sexual violence (Seifert 1994).The usage of sexual violence during wartime can be considered as a means to reaffirm patriarchal hierarchies amidst women and men and aims at establishing the military masculinity of the male offenders.

Militaristic masculinity is connected to power and women are sexually abused not for being the enemy, but for being the object of the hatred, telling of the cultural unconscious, which comes to be reality in turbulent times. Militaries need “real” men and the use of sexual violence is a way for an individual soldier to prove his masculinity and to suppress feelings such as kindness and insecurity, which can be defined as feminine (Enloe 2000).

As a report by Rehn and Sirleaf (2002) notes, both men and women are the victims of this targeting, but it is mostly females who endure sex-based violence. Their bodies become a battleground over which contradicting powers fight. Women become victims of sexual violence in order for humiliation and shame to be brought upon the male members of their families, who are often being forced to watch the rape taking place. In countries where ethnicity is acquired through the male line, ‘opponent’ women have to succumb to sexual assaults. Women in many cases are also utilized as sexual slaves to the enemy soldiers (UNIFEM 2002). Particularly, if the main goal is to devastate a society, women are the ultimate target because of their significance within the family structure (Seifert 1994). This is further supported by

Stiglmayer (1994) who states that sexual violence targeting mostly women in wars can humiliate, destroy and demoralize not only the victims but also their families and communities because of their importance in the society. Particularly in a very strong patriarchal society like this of Bosnia and the Balkans as a whole, where women are considered to be men’s belongings in peacetime, they will be considered as such and even more so during war. This serves to clarify the long-term objective of sexual violence in the Bosnian culture (Skelsbaek 2001; Seifert 1994).

According to the strategic sexual violence theory (Gotschall 2004; Allen 1996;

Littlewood 1997), sexual violence can be a logical, facilitated and ruthless method for causing great harm in targeted groups through their introduction to most appalling practices such as rapes, sexual mutilation and forced incest. The strategic theory explains that sexual violence is not merely used to humiliate the victim and the community but it can serve as a planned strategy in order to achieve certain militaristic or political goals. In the case of Bosnia this goal was the usage of sexual violence as a wartime weapon in order to achieve the ethnic cleansing of the non- Serbian population. However, if sexual violence is defined as a wartime weapon, it is necessary to firstly define the term weapon: during wartime, a weapon can be used as an instrument of battle with the aim to kill, injure or defeat an enemy. However, it can also be used in order to inflict pain and harm upon the opponent. In order to be efficient, it is essential to take advantage of the weaknesses of the target population whether these are psychological, structural or physical. By recognizing and using these weaknesses, it can cause long-term impacts, making the enemy even weaker, exposed and liable to more exploitation and damage, which will drive it to its defeat

(Maciejczak 2013).

According to Koo (2002:525), sexual violence “can be utilized both as a weapon and a wartime strategy. As a weapon, it attacks women’s physical and emotional sense of security while simultaneously launching an assault, through women’s bodies, upon the genealogy of security as constructed by the body politic”. Sexual violence as a weapon is not just an attack upon a woman’s body but also an attack on the community, religion and culture where she belongs. On the other hand, as a strategy, it is an efficient and sanctioned instrument for accomplishing particular political goals by utilizing sexual violence as a method of fear, control, torture, political restraint, humiliation and intimidation. Aims such as gaining control over a specific community, infliction of ethnic hate in order to achieve ethnic cleansing and genetic imperialism, or even the destruction of an enemy’s identity, spirit and consistency, can be achieved through the employment of sexual violence as a weapon of war (Farwell 2004).

The strategic use of sexual violence is further supported by Cherry Bernard (1994) who claims that sexual violence as a weapon of war has many different strategic objectives such as facilitating ethnic cleansing by breaking up the society, making people flee their homes, demoralize the adversary and inflict trauma and psychological damage upon the enemy. Sexual violence as part of ethnic cleansing can cause a massive exodus of ethnic populations from disputed territories, ensure that the displaced will not return to their homes and marks women of opposing ethnicity as “sexually contaminated” (Cohen 2011).

Additionally, Human Rights Watch (1995:1) found that “distinctive sexual violence against civilian women has been used as a strategic tool to terrorize civilian communities or to achieve ethnic cleansing in Peru, Kashmir, Somalia and Bosnia”.

Particularly for the genocide in Rwanda it supported that the authoritative, political and military leadership on national and regional degree, as well as leaders of volunteer army, administered or supported both the executions and the rapes to forward their political objective: the annihilation of the Tutsi as a group(Human Rights Watch 1995).More specifically, the ICTR (1998) against the accused Jean-Paul Akayesu recognized sexual violence as an act of genocide as it was executed in order to partially or completely eradicate the Tutsi ethnic group. Lastly, Meznaric(1994),while analysing the armed conflicts in Bosnia, argued that sexual violence was utilized as a method for breaking off the relations among the different ethnic populations and indicated that sexual violence became a political act.

In summary, all three theories provide various explanations about the usage of sexual violence in conflicts. However, the strategic theory about wartime sexual violence clearly states that sexual violence can be utilized as a weapon of war in order to serve strategic militaristic and political objectives. The combination of the strategic and feminist theory(especially in Seifert’s view about the breaking up of communities) about sexual violence are the most applicable in the case of Bosnia because they provide a clear explanation of the different forms that sexual violence can take in wartime and how it was transformed into a weapon of war.

2.2 Ethnic Cleansing in the Bosnian Conflict

Bosnia which was the geographic centre of the Former Yugoslavia represented a microcosm of the country where 750,000 Croats, two million Bosnian Muslims and 1.3 million Serbs lived in peace. The Bosnian Muslims were differentiated as an “ethnic group”, which is a means of national self-definition and religion. When Bosnia became independent in 1992, it was open, unarmed and vulnerable to invasions from its hostile and heavily armed neighbours. Bosnia was the region where the Croats and Serbs continued their separate quests for territory and where the most devastating conflicts in Europe since the Second World War occurred (Naimark 2002; Human Rights Watch1995).

According to a European Union Investigation, approximately twenty thousand women and young girls fell victims of sexual violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina and many of them were held captive in detention camps of different types. The UN Commission of Experts that investigated sexual violence in the Former Yugoslavia supported that most of the victims were Bosnian Muslims and most of the perpetrators were Bosnian Serbs (Goldstein 2001; Enloe 2000; UN 1994).The Helsinki Report (1992), which was the first official report, provided evidence of many occurrences of sexual violence, primarily against Bosnian Muslim women. Even if some rapes were the outcome of individuals acting without orders, the majority of the cases seemed to follow an overall pattern. Interviews conducted with many victims of sexual violence in Bosnia by the Helsinki Report provided information on rapes of women and girls in detention camps, public rapes, frequent sexual assaults for the purpose of forced impregnation and some instances of sexual violence against men.

The Helsinki Report concluded that the use of sexual violence aimed to force families to flee and never return, not just for their lives but to safeguard the honour of their women. These cases strongly suggested that “the practice of so-called ethnic cleansing and rape and sexual assault, in particular, have been carried out by some of the parties so systematically that they strongly appear to be the product of a policy. The consistent failure to prevent the commission of such crimes and the consistent failure to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of these crimes, clearly evidences the existence of a policy by omission. The consequence of this conclusion is that command responsibility can be established” (UN 1994:71,Rule: 313).

According to Bell-Fialkoff (1996: 3-4), “cleansing is a planned, deliberate removal from a certain territory of an undesirable population distinguished by one or more characteristics such as ethnicity, race, class, or sexual preference”. These characteristics serve as the grounds for this removal to be qualified as cleansing.”Ethnic’’ refers to what we call today an ethnic group deriving from the Greek word “ethnos” or nation. Therefore, an integrated definition for ethnic cleansing is the following:

an act intended to render an area ethnically homogeneous by removing members of a given group through the use of concentration camps, torture, sexual violence, mass killings, forced deportations, destruction of private and cultural property, pillage and theft, and the blocking of humanitarian aid( Salzman 1998: 354).

‘’Cleansing’’ campaigns for religious or ethnic reasons have existed throughout history in varied places and have taken many forms, involving constrained relocation, population trade, genocide and expulsion (Bell-Fialkoff 1996).The 19thand 20th century were marked by an exceptional level of ethnically stimulated cruelty. In 19th century, the Turkish mass killings of Armenians constituted an act of ethnic cleansing and it was estimated that 1.5 million Armenians were killed and about 90% of their ethnic territory was lost. Furthermore, from 1933 to 1945, almost six million Jews were killed by the Nazi campaigns which constituted an ethnic cleansing policy in the sense that they aimed to forcibly remove the Jews from the territories of the Reich.

The German term ‘’Judenrein’’ (“clean of Jews") which was utilized to describe regions from which all Jews had been deported, confirms this fact (Bell-Fialkoff 1993;Beevor 2002).

Especially the atrocities witnessed in the 1990s in Bosnia revealed the character of modern war methods, targeting particular groups for the purpose of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and the inadequacies of conventional notions of security. It is estimated that, from the beginning of the war in Bosnia in 1992 until its end (15 November 1995), almost 100,000 individuals (eighty per cent of which were Bosnians) were killed and more than two million people were forced to leave their houses. In the summer of 1995, the worst atrocity of the conflict took place in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica. Srebrenica, which was declared as a safe area by the UN, was attacked by the Bosnian Serb forces led by Commander Ratko Mladic. As it was officially recognized by the ICTY more than 8,000 mainly Bosnian Muslim boys and men were executed by the Serbian forces in an act of genocide (ICTY 2007; Cigar 1995).At this point, it is essential to say that, according to many scholars, even though genocide and ethnic cleansing are different concepts, they are related because ethnic cleansing bleeds into genocide, as mass murders are committed with the purpose to rid the land of a people (Naimark 2001; Mann 2005; Schabas 2000).

The example of Bosnia demonstrated how threats to the peace and safety of countries or individuals inside these countries originated from ‘’ internal’’ sources of tension. The ethnic cleansing campaigns and the different ways through which this can be achieved, called for greater attention so as to comprehend the internal dimensions of the conflicts and represented a compelling case to rethink means of administrating peace in high risk regions (Ni Aolain1997; Park 2007).

2.3 Patterns of Sexual Violence in Bosnia

The war in Former Yugoslavia was actually a war against non-combatant population who had been targeted on the base of ethnicity. According to Salzman(1998), the utilization of sexual violence in Bosnia was an effective and essential means of ethnic cleansing of the Bosnian Croats but mainly the Bosnian Muslims.“This policy is clearly spelled out in the so-called RAM plan written by Serb army officers around the end of August 1991” (Salzman 1998: 356).According to this plan, the army should attack the religious and social structure where this is more fragile and the female population offered exactly that. Serbian army officers associated with the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) Psychological Operations Departments observed that Bosnian Muslims morale, group spirit and willingness for fight could be discouraged and crushed easier by sexually abusing women and mostly young girls. This could create panic, confusion and fear within the communities and could lead to a possible Muslim retreat from their territories (Allen 1996; Judah 2000; Ramet 2006).As Allen (1996:65) further notes, many places like “restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools, factories and peacetime brothels and other buildings which were occupied by Serb army officers from the Yugoslav Army, irregular Serb soldiers, Chetniks (Serb Monarchists) and civilians, were used as rape camps” in order for this plan to succeed.

As indicated by Sells (1996:11), regarding the practice of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia,

“the more obscene the crime, the less visible it is”. Sexual violence in armed conflicts is an instance of such an obscene crime, where emotions such as humiliation and guilt as well as culturally imposed taboos are responsible for keeping the victims of such violence afraid, silent and disgraced. Although the victims were afraid to talk about the incidents of sexual violence, evidence by various humanitarian missions and organizations like the UN and the HRW, which will be mentioned below, indicated that the usage of sexual violence in Bosnia was too widespread, calculated, constant and effective for it not to be a part of a larger political agenda and therefore a wartime weapon (Salzman 1998).

Roy Gutman, a journalist from Newsday, was the first individual who reported the use of sexual violence after his visit to a concentration camp in Manjaca, in the northwest of Bosnia. Gutman was a witness of Serb forces terrorizing and using sexual violence mostly against Bosnian Muslims prisoners (Gutman 1994). According to Smith (1997) and Vranic (1996) there were also more rape camps in others regions of Bosnia like Brecko, Foca, Keratem, Luka Goradze, Doboj, Kalinovik and Visegrad. Sexual violence and concentration camps were used by all sides of the war but the reports about rape camps were vague and undocumented. This could be explained by the fact that when a camp was identified as such, it was instantly dissolved and transferred somewhere else where it would be unreachable to outsiders, such as humanitarian organizations (Stiglmayer 1994).

Early reports about the use of sexual violence in Bosnia suggested that this practice existed and it was a part of an overall strategy of the Serbian forces in order to ethnically cleanse all the Serbian domains in Bosnia mostly from the Bosnian Muslims (UNSC 1994; Human Right Watch 1995).Even though, no hard evidence existed at that time, probably the most persuasive indication of the Serbian plan was demonstrated by the establishment of some distinctive patterns of sexual violence from the reported cases documented by the United Nations Commission of Experts (Human Rights Quarterly 1998).The analysis of these five patterns (sexual violence 1) before fighting, 2) during fighting, 3) in detention camps, 4) in Not just rape camps, and in 5)‘’bordello” camps) indicated that all sides of the conflict(Bosnians and Croats) but mainly Serbs, utilized sexual violence to oppress the enemy and particularly the women of the enemy.

As Professor Cherif Bassiouni (1996:15), who chaired the Commission of Experts, concluded: “sexual violence was not a merely by-product of the conflict in Bosnia but a tactic of the war. It was deliberately and systematically employed as a tool of ethnic cleansing”. It was emphasized that the Serbs ran most of the detention camps where sexual violence occurred and the policy of ethnic cleansing to create a "Greater Serbia" was a specific political and military objective unique to the Serbs.

The use of sexual violence associated to the murders, the forced displacement, the destruction of entire villages and cultural and religious objects of the Bosnian society intended to ensure that the victims and their families would not return to the places that these incidents had occurred (Pegorier 2013; Bassiouni and McCormick 1996).As further described by Nizich(1994),Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats committed sexual assaults as well but their actions were carried out independently and on a smaller scale, after watching Serb violence going unpunished.

The relationship between the prevalence of sexual violence and political agenda behind identity-based conflict was further illustrated by the ICTR for the Rwanda case, which recognized that military objectives and sexual violence could be one and the same (Park 2007).In order to understand why sexual violence was so systematically deployed against mostly the Bosnian Muslims of Bosnia, it is very important to examine the society and the culture of the country they lived in.

2.4 Patriarchy in the Bosnian Society

Slavic society can be characterized as a strong patriarchal culture where the male is the leader of the family in a community. An ideology known as ‘’Zadruga’’ holds sway where a corporate family unit under which all holdings, such as livestock, land and property are held communally by the patrilineage. In this traditional culture, females are valued as mothers, workers and sexuality focuses on woman’s virginity. Morality and the sanctity of the womb are directly linked to the honour of the husband, family and hence to the society (Byrnes 1976;Olujic 1998).

As Weitsman(2008) and Sychder(2006) further support, in a patriarchal society where unmarried women are criticised on the base of virginity and chastity before marriage any act of sexual violence would make the victim unsuitable for marriage or motherhood. Particularly, in Bosnian society, not all women keep their virginity until they get married but mainly in the Muslim faith, virginity is considered as a vital element of a woman’s honour and her family’s honour. If a woman does not remain a virgin until her marriage, she will have shamed not only herself but also her entire family. For this reason, the shame and the guilt brought upon a woman victim of sexual violence in such a society are worse for her than the pain of staying silent about it, because her honour is blemished.

It is plausible to assume that if Serbian military and political leaders understood the importance that women have in the enemy’s culture as symbols of the men’s honour and as essential workers of the community, they might have attempted to plan an overall militaristic operation including the use of sexual violence on women (Enloe 2000).Therefore, it seems highly likely that particularly women were the victims of sexual violence during the Bosnian war because, firstly, they were situated in a very strong patriarchal gender relations society and secondly, because they constituted the female embodiment of other socio-cultural characteristics such as religion and ethnicity (Skejabek 2001).

The usage of sexual violence against these women can be viewed as a message, as a symbolic attack sent to all the men of a society such as brothers, fathers, husbands and others, underlining their failure to keep their women and their community safe.

As a traditional Muslim aphorism states “as our women are, so also is our community”. Women being sexually abused should, therefore, constitute a metaphor for a defeated community (Diken and Laustsen 2005: cited to Zalichic and Kaurin, 1994:17).In patriarchal societies like Bosnia such an offence is equal to social ‘’murder’’ because the victims are considered to be ‘’damaged goods’’ and are rejected by their families and the society.

Such a tactic served the ultimate aim of breaking up the Bosnian society by inflicting humiliation and shame to the individuals who lived in this society (Maciejczak 2013;

Baaz and Stern 2009). As Stiglmayer(1994) claims, a significant number of sexually abused Bosnian Muslim women interviewed by the HRW and other organizations reported that they feared to reveal the abuses because their husbands would reject them and many of them were afraid that they might be killed. The humiliation that sexual violence brings, not only to the victim but also upon the husband might provoke a desperate action through which the victim would be punished once more (Salzman 1998).That was the reason why many victims of sexual violence of the Bosnian war remained silent for many years about the abuses that they had suffered.

It was not until April 2000, when witness 99 first took the stand in The Hague at the ICTY and described the abuses that took place in Bosnia. The ICTY, based on the evidence provided by different organizations and the testimonies of many individuals, became the first international criminal tribunal to introduce convictions for rape as a form of torture and for sexual enslavement and rape as crimes against humanity. Significantly, on 22 February 2001 the ICTY’s judgement on the Kunarac et al. case was the first indictment in the history of war crimes prosecutions with charges exclusively on sexual violence crimes against females. All three accused were found guilty of rape as a crime against humanity and as crime of war. In the context of a systematic and widespread attack on civilian population, rape had been utilized to “implement a strategy of expulsion through terror, the ultimate aim of which was to forcibly move the Muslims out of the region of Foča” (UN Women 2012). This constituted a significant precedent for future tribunals, such as the ICC and the ICTR (Rwanda), to deal with the crime of sexual violence during war in the same manner (Buss 2009; I Came to Testify 2011).

In conclusion, there are different theories on the causes leading to the use of wartime sexual violence and how this can be transformed into a weapon of war, especially when analysing the case of Bosnia. It has been demonstrated through the discussion of numerous scholars that wartime sexual violence can be a random, opportunistic and sporadic act because of the impunity during conflicts or it can be simply motivated by male sexual aggression, dominance and control over women.

However, in Bosnia the use of sexual violence had a primary target: the exertion of terror, humiliation and shame over a specific population in order to achieve further political goals. This goal in the case of Bosnia, according to the literature, was the systematic forced removal of, mainly, the Bosnian Muslims by the Serbian forces with the intent to create an ethnically homogenous state. Finally, the literature has also shown evidence of sexual violence patterns in Bosnia, evidence of the impact of living in a patriarchal society as well as the way in which the socio-cultural dynamics of this society can facilitate the use of sexual violence as a war instrument.

The existing literature has been authored by researchers and scholars on their different and often distinct fields, so it is unusual to find a combined analysis of all these areas. This case study will focus on the use of sexual violence as a wartime weapon and its objective in Bosnia, while taking into consideration the country’s patriarchal structure. It will try to achieve this by analysing these three causal factors in depth, through the discussion and the analyses of the ICTY documents and interviews from individuals specialized in this field.

Chapter 3


3.1 Methodological Approach

Since the main aim of this research was to explore the use of sexual violence in Bosnia and to provide an in-depth perspective of the events that took place, an informed grounded theory approach was used. Grounded theory is the “discovery of theory from data systematically obtained from social research” (Glaser and Strauss 1967:1). When using this approach it is essential to delay the literature review until the analysis is almost completed in order for the researcher to remain as unbiased and open to make discoveries as possible and avoid contamination of the results.

However, in my case that was not possible because in order to gain ethical approval, if needed, and be able to conduct the interviews with the participants, it was necessary to have some knowledge about this topic (Bruce 2007; Clarke 2005).

Therefore, the informed grounded theory was the most suitable approach.

As Thornburg (2011:249) states, “informed grounded theory refers to a product of a research process as well as to the research process itself, in which both the process and the product have been thoroughly grounded in data by GT methods while being informed by existing research literature and theoretical frameworks”. Upon adopting this approach, a piece of literature review was written before the conduction and the analysis of the interviews, which was used as a heuristic device in order to concentrate on specific phenomena, aspects and see beyond the data (Kelle 2005).

Using a less restricted theory like the informed grounded theory, allowed me to take the benefit of pre-existing theories and research findings about the use of sexual violence in Bosnia in a sensitive, creative and flexible way. Furthermore, it enabled me to situate my research and its product in the current knowledge of the field with the freedom to challenge it, extend it and refine it (Thornberg 2011).

Using the original form of Denzin (1970) about triangulation which only pointed to the usage of various forms of qualitative research methods and not a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods, the data for this research was gathered by using qualitative semi-structured interviews and official empirical materials. The use of multiple methods enabled me to ensure an in-depth understanding of the use of sexual violence in Bosnia by analysing, comparing and testing the data from the interviews and the official documents. Furthermore, as Flick (2007) states, the combination of numerous methodological practices and empirical materials can constitute an approach that adds richness, breadth, rigor and depth to any inquiry.

A qualitative approach was adopted based upon the concept that “individuals’ experiences, understandings, views, knowledge and interpretations are essential in order to explain the social world”(Mason 2002:63).This approach acknowledges that there is no single reality about the use of sexual violence but multiple ones, which vary among the participants. The individual interviews offered me the opportunity to interact with the participants and investigate their understanding and experiences.

Even though the data obtained through qualitative methods cannot be generalized due to the small sample of the participants, they could provide an in-depth view about the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war from the participants’ perspective (Bryman 2008; Seale 1999).In addition, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, the analysis of the interviews along with the official documents could strengthen the arguments of this research and make the findings more generalizable.

3.2 Access and Sample

Initially the idea in order to obtain data for the use of sexual violence in Bosnia, was to interview women with such experiences. However, since the focus of the research required a deeper understanding of why and how sexual violence was used, it was decided to interview experts on this field. Moreover, sexual violence is a very delicate subject and the act of rape is such a horrific experience that I would not want to cause any distress to the victims making them relive their experiences.

Furthermore, official testimonies of the women that had been victims of rape during the war in Bosnia had already been made public from the ICTY and numerous sites.

For this reason after discussions with my tutor a form of purposive sampling was adopted in which the sample participants would be chosen on the basis of their relevance and knowledge of the research topic (Bryman 2008).In order to achieve a good variety in the resulting sample, individuals with expertise on the use of sexual violence in Bosnia, such as journalists and academics, would be the most appropriate sample. Furthermore, as Bryman (2012:427) states “purposive sampling can be applied to things like documents”. Therefore, after doing research in order to find official documents and analyse them in accordance with the data from the interviews, the electronic form of the ICTY was used, which required a registration process, and included a great amount of empirical data from official testimonies of victims and perpetrators, court data, documentaries and videos. The use of official secondary data from the ICTY combined with the primary data from the interviews would give me the opportunity to provide a richer, more valid and more detailed overview about the use of sexual violence in Bosnia and reinforce the research hypothesis.

Initial attempts to find participants proved to be very difficult. Due to limited funds it was not possible to make a trip to Bosnia in order to conduct interviews and the lack of knowledge of the local language posed a limitation. After researching online for mainly individuals who lived in the UK and had knowledge about the war in Bosnia, a list of people was created with whom I got in touch by emailing them. After finding the participants and conducting the first two interviews, the method of snowball sampling proved to be the most successful. Snowball sampling in which the participants suggest other participants who have experience and knowledge related to the research enabled me to get access to more participants (Bryman 2012). Three of the final participants were accessed in this way and three through personal research. Even though snowball sampling might include some sampling bias because it is likely that the participants will propose individuals that will have the same characteristics, the element of trust was crucial for the progress of this research.

Especially for such a sensitive topic where there was a high possibility of the ethnicity of the participants being related to the war in Bosnia, recommendation by others would help me to establish trust and confidence with the participants during the interviews.

The result of the recruitment process was a final sample consisting of six participants, who were drawn from different backgrounds and aged 34 to 60.Notably, all the participants had been working during or after the war, either in Bosnia or in Croatia. Five out of the six participants were academics and one was a journalist (Appendix A). It is important to say that all the participants had deep knowledge about the war in Bosnia and they gave me the opportunity to gain a lot of information about the conflict in the Former Yugoslavia and the use of sexual violence.

3.3 Conducting the Interviews

Six semi-structured interviews, ranging from thirty five to fifty five minutes, were conducted from February 2014 to June 2014.All the interviews were conducted in English and were recorded through a Dictaphone, always with the consent of the participant, in order to make the transcription easier. An interview guide was created prior to the interviews, which included a list of questions that focused on the use of sexual violence in Bosnia. Additionally, some general questions were included in the interview guide in order to acquire a deeper understanding about the war in Bosnia (Appendix B).However, based upon the profession and the experiences of the participants not all the questions were asked in exactly the same manner.

The use of semi-structured interviews allowed for certain questions to be answered by each participant in order to ensure the comparability of the answers. At the same time, since it is very important to know what are the issues and events that each interviewee considers important, the participants were given room to discuss their areas of interest (Leidner 1993). Particularly during the third interview, while discussing the practice of sexual violence in Bosnia, the participant did many times alter the discussion to broader events and other wars where violence of any form had taken place. The flexibility of semi-structured interviewing enabled me to interact with the participants in an organic way, to prompt for more elicit meanings and to provide clarifications in ambiguous points (Seale 1999; Mason 2002).Despite my knowledge on the topic, as suggested by the informed GT, I made certain to be objective and not divulge my opinion about sexual violence during all interviews, in order to maintain “research integrity” (Bryman 2008).

I offered to all six participants the choice of either meeting in person at a location and time of their choosing or do the interviews online. This flexibility of place and time helped the participants to feel more comfortable, to meet in familiar surroundings for them and they were free to arrange the meetings whenever they could depending on their busy schedules (Bryman 2008). Three out of the six participants were interviewed in person. The interviews were conducted at the offices and coffee shops of the university during lunchtime and lecture breaks, always following the request of the participants. Due to distance, the other three interviews were conducted through Skype: one participant lived in Oxford, one was not able to meet due to work obligations and the other one was in Holland. During most of the meetings with the participants prior to the interviews, an introductory discussion was included in which general information about our backgrounds was shared, acting as an ice-breaker and offering me the opportunity to construct the necessary conditions of trust. Furthermore, at the end of the interviews the participants were asked if there was anything else that they would possibly like to add and this prompted further discussion. The Dictaphone was kept recording all this time after an incident when, during the first interview, a very interesting conversation which had taken place after the recorder had been turned off, was lost.

3.4 Pilot Study

At this point it is essential to say, that due to the limited scope of the study and the difficulties in finding and accessing participants, the first interview worked as a pilot study. Moreover, this interview was appropriate for a pilot study because of an unfortunate incident with the Dictaphone, in which I realized after the end of the interview that it had not been working during it. This pilot study allowed me to test the phrasing of the questions and to identify any practical issues, as they arise, which is possible during the process of the interviews. Furthermore, according to Bryman (2008), pilot studies help in ensuring that the research instrument as a whole functions well. Therefore, the pilot study allowed me to refine some of the questions, after asking the participant for feedback and I was also able to reflect on the experience myself. As the qualitative research permits the use of the data from a pilot study to be included in the final results since the ‘’process is progressive’’, the data from this interview would have been a part of my final analysis (Teijlingen and Hundley 2001).However, since the interview was not fully transcribed because of the problem with the Dictaphone, only the notes that were taken during the interview will be used.

3.5 Data Analysis

Prior to the data analysis five out of six interviews were fully transcribed verbatim.

These transcriptions were complemented with notes taken about interesting points throughout all seven interviews. Each interview was transcribed by the researcher within 24 hours after conducting the interview. The transcription of the interviews enabled me to read the data and make conceptual memos. Memo writing—which is the pivotal intermediate step between collecting the data and drafting the theory— provided me with the opportunity to analyse data and codes early in the research process, which is very crucial (Charmaz 2006; Glaser 1978).

After all the data had been gathered, including the transcribed interviews, notes and memos, the initial coding began, namely the process of labelling the data for the purpose of identifying specific themes or categories (Charmaz 2006). After repeatedly reading the data, several code labels were written, which represent incidents, events, objects and actions of the data. These code labels were generally descriptive with some being the actual words of the interviewees. After labelling these concepts, they were analysed and compared throughout all the transcripts and they were grouped under a more general label which constituted a broader category (Corbin and Strauss 1990; Strauss and Corbin 1998). On the course of this process several categories emerged, more than those that could fall within the scope of this research. Therefore, these categories had to be refined into core themes, more dominant and descriptive in answering the research questions.

The second stage of coding included the selective coding: “the procedure of selecting the core category, systematically relating it to other categories, validating those relationships and filling in categories that need further refinement and development” (Strauss and Corbin 1990:116).In accordance to the informed GT, the use of the literature helped me make conceptual links between the perceptions and the experiences of the participants with the existing theories on sexual violence.

After repeatedly reviewing the data until no more themes could emerge, a core category was identified. This category was to some extent present in all of the interviews and all the other categories subsequently became subcategories (Bryman 2007).

During the analysis of the interviews, but mainly after the core themes of the interviews had been identified, a documentary analysis of several documents from ICTY was used. This chronological order of analysing the documents after the interviews helped me to directly link the documents to the main themes which emerged from the interviews. All the documents were selected based on the four criteria of Scott (1990) for assessing the quality of documents: authenticity, credibility, representativeness and meaning. These documents included transcripts from court proceedings in which individuals had been prosecuted and convicted for sexual war violence as well as judgements and indictments of cases related to the use of sexual violence in Bosnia. Furthermore, testimonies of victims, witnesses, experts and accused were used in the analysis. Significantly, since this research did not aim to interview victims of sexual violence, the unobtrusive character of the ICTY as a source of information, offered me the opportunity to use these testimonies in order to gain deeper insights about the sexual violence in Bosnia from the victim’s perspectives.

3.6 Ethical Considerations

One of the first and most important aspects of any research process is the consideration of the ethical issues and the potential harm to the participants and the researcher (Bryman 2008).Therefore, the University of Surrey Ethical Guidelines were closely followed. Since the participants did not belong in any vulnerable group according to the aforementioned guidelines no ethical approval was needed.

Nonetheless, systematic steps were taken in order to protect the integrity and the safety of the participant and the researcher.

To ensure that the participants comprehended the aim of their participation in the research, an information sheet was handed out before the interviews and further information regarding the research was provided if requested (Appendix C).

Subsequently, the participants were asked to sign a consent form agreeing to the research terms(Appendix D). Additionally, the participants were informed that they participated of their own free will and they could decline to participate at any time during the research process. At the end of the interviews, due to the fact that some of the participants were related in terms of ethnicity with the conflict in Bosnia, they were asked if they would prefer for their anonymity to be kept. However, none of the participants had an issue with their identity being mentioned in the research.

Lastly, all the participants were informed that at the end of the research they could have a copy of it if they wished to.

All interviews were solely transcribed from the researcher. Throughout the research all data were stored on a protected hard drive of the researcher in order to ensure that the integrity and security of the data had been maintained. At the end of the study, all the data will be stored in a secure place as per policy. Concerning the use of the documents of the ICTY, it should be noted that they are publicly available and they can be accessed following a registration process. Although this research will use as a source of information the testimonies of sexual violence victims, the ICTY has ensured the anonymity of these victims. Additionally, any further names of individuals or places that appear in the testimonies and could potentially reveal the identity of the protected witnesses in the relevant cases, have been redacted from the published transcripts.

The next chapter will present an analysis of the findings in relation to the data retrieved from the ICTY. The three main themes that emerged from the interviews and will be discussed are: the widespread/systematic/targeted sexual violence, RAM plan/tolerance and the patriarchal society/stigma-rejection.

Chapter 4

Findings and Discussion

As suggested in the literature, sexual violence can be utilized as a weapon of war; in the case of the Bosnian conflict sexual violence was systematic and widespread and it was used in many cases in order to achieve ethnic cleansing. It is noteworthy that in the course of the interviews the use of sexual violence as a wartime weapon in Bosnia was confirmed by all the participants and reinforced by many documents of the ICTY. The first section of this chapter will focus to the scale of sexual violence and the reason why this was used. The second section will explore the hypothesis according to which the use of sexual violence against the Bosnian Muslims and Croats was organized by the highest level of the Serbian forces. Finally, in the third section the suggestion of some scholars that the patriarchal structure of the Bosnian community facilitated the sexual violence and ethnic cleansing policy of the Bosnian population will be discussed. However, before proceeding with the analysis and the discussion of the data it is important to state that, as will be presented, sexual violence was used by all the sides of the conflict, but with differences nonetheless in the scale and the purpose of this use.

4.1 Theme 1: Widespread/Systematic/Targeted

The most significant theme that emerged from the interviews was that all participants referred to the scale of sexual violence. At the beginning of the war, as some of the participants lived in Bosnia, they revealed that at that time they could not believe the rumours about rapes that were being spread because the numbers mentioned were unbelievably high. As a participant stated, he could not remember any previous situations in the war history to be identified from such harsh accusations of rapes of women.

“I never actually wanted to leave the country. I was happy. I left in 1993. It affected my life completely. Almost everyone else’s. They discovered unbelievable stories for Bosnia. To be honest for long time, I couldn’t believe that it was true. In the beginning I thought that sexual violence was a consequence of the war. Because the wars are perfect situations for idiots really” (Neven) “There were stories coming out of eastern Bosnia that among other things, among other horrors, rape was a part of the torture and the violence” (Tihomir)

During the conflict in the former Yugoslavia the desire to expel, intimidate and commit violence against victim populations was evident particularly in Bosnia, in parts of Croatia and in certain parts of Serbia. The issue of ethnic cleansing in order to establish their ethnic territory was an extensive enterprise and the sexual violence campaign was a small part of it, although probably the deadliest part in terms of the degree to which people were affected. At this point, it should be stressed that the ethnic cleansing had been initiated prior to the war. A participant who lived in Sarajevo for forty years and remained there for the first five months of the siege of the city claimed that everything started in November 1990, when the first multi- party elections took place in Bosnia. The victory of the National Party at the elections marked the initiation of a wave of ethnic cleansing and people were being fired from work because of their ethnicity(all three parties were involved in ethnic cleansing).

The Muslim political party, then the Serb political party and the Croat political party obtained control over certain parts of Bosnia according to the results of the elections. In Sarajevo, where the Muslim party was in control, they appointed their men to different top positions, such as city halls or ministries and then the Serbs were given the same opportunity in parts of Bosnia, where they held the majority following the elections(Eastern Bosnia).On the other hand, the Croats controlled the southern part of Bosnia. “Even in joint, common institutions of Bosnia, like courts, ministries, judges, everyone that was in the city with wrong ethnicity at the wrong place, at the wrong time, anywhere, lost their job”. That was a huge wave of ethnic cleansing which forced many people really to try and flee from Bosnia Herzegovina, either to Serbia or Croatia or to foreign countries.

“Then of course the war came and ethnic cleansing took different course. Different forms like expelling people from villages, from their homes, raping women, taking prisoners, taking hostages of the other ethnicity. Sexual violence was just a part, I would say one probably most appalling form” (Zoran) “I would agree that generally the kind of theme of the war from the beginning was that of capturing territories in order to identify them as ethnic territories. An integral part of it was what it became ethnic cleansing. So any type of violence that could go in and support of that, was in certain circumstances welcome” (Tihomir)

Since the Tribunal started, 78 individuals out of the 161 accused, had charges of sexual violence included in their indictments. As of February 2014,“thirty individuals have been convicted for being responsible for crimes of sexual violence, as defined under Article 7(1) of the ICTY Statute. Four of them were additionally convicted for their failure to prevent or punish the actual perpetrators of the crimes, under Article 7(3) of the Statute. According to Article 7(1), a person who planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted in the planning, preparation or execution of a crime referred to in articles 2 to 5 of the present Statute, shall be individually responsible for the crime. As for Article 7(3): The fact that any of the acts referred to in articles 2 to 5 of the present Statute was committed by a subordinate does not relieve his superior of criminal responsibility if he knew or had reason to know that the subordinate was about to commit such acts or had done so and the superior failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures to prevent such acts or to punish the perpetrators thereof” (ICTY 2014). The majority of the thirty convicted individuals were Bosnian Serbs and Serbs (26), three of them were Croats and one Bosnian. As there are many cases of people being convicted for the use of sexual violence only some of them will be presented.

One of the most significant cases was that of Anto Furundzica (IT-95-17/1) which was the first case of ICTY to focus completely on sexual violence charges. At that time he was a commander of the "Jokers", a unit of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO), in the town of Vitez in central BiH and he was found guilty as a co-perpetrator, aider and abettor for the multiple rapes of a Bosnian Muslim woman. Miroslan Bravo(case IT-95-17) was another member of the ‘’Jokers’’ unit who was sentenced to twenty years of imprisonment for murder and persecutions on rape, torture and inhumane treatment of Bosnian Muslim civilians. Another case (IT-94-2) that shows the widespread use of sexual violence was that of Dragan Nikolic, a Serbian Commander of the Sušica detention camp in the town of Vlasenica, in the east part of BiH.

Significantly he was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment convicted of crimes against humanity as he created and maintained an atmosphere of terror in the camp by subjecting Muslim and other non- Serb detainees to rape, torture and murder.

The only case until now that Bosnian soldiers have been convicted for sexual abuses is that of Mucic’et al.(case IT-96-21) in which Hazim Delic who was a deputy commander of the Čelebići camp was sentenced to eighteen years of imprisonment.

According to the ICTY, he violently raped two women during interrogations inside the camp with the purpose to intimidate and force his victims into giving information (ICTY 2000; 2001; 2005; 2007).

As set forth in the official documents of the ICTY and the literature, all sides of the conflict committed acts of sexual violence. Sometimes sexual violence was opportunistic and took place because the circumstances allowed it and at least there was no particular objective to promote a certain political or war related agenda.

However, as Iva stated, there was a big difference in the way the two sides used sexual violence that lies in the degree of systematic preparation and execution of the crimes which is something that can be said about the majority of concentration camps in many places of Bosnia. All sides had set up detention camps but the Bosnians Serbs had the largest number of them. Furthermore, as argued in the literature, the reports from many humanitarian organizations provided evidence of many instances of sexual violence in camps, known as rape camps, primarily against Bosnian Muslim women in which most of the perpetrators were Bosnian Serbs.

Additionally, the number of the Bosnian Serbs and Serbian officers that were convicted for acts of sexual violence, strengthen this perspective. As all the participants agreed, regarding the scale of violence, the frequency and even the territorial spread where the Serbs were in control, the same pattern could be identified. Sexual violence served as a mechanism of violent intimidation that took place and traumatized victim population in order for the latter to flee from certain sites. Accordingly, another participant stated that sexual violence in the former Yugoslavia, especially in Bosnia, was most definitely used as a tool to perpetuate a war goal and promote a certain policy in a systematic manner.

“So my conclusion is that there was a tendency there was a trend there was a repeated pattern of behaviour of the Serbian military forces”. (Zoran) “I have no doubt that it did happen (sexual violence). There are many many credible witnesses, there are first of all victims, they can’t all be lying. It is also perfectly clear that it happened more on the Serb side than on the other sides for whatever reasons .It was probably an important element to claim territories”. (Tihomir) “Yes, it has been used as a weapon of war you know it would be in my opinion both naive and inappropriate I think to say that it has not been. And you know that comes from reading the testimonies from ICTY about Bosnia. You know this is quite clear that there is a systematic use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, in my opinion from reading those testimonies”. (Alex)

The most notable example of the systematic and targeted use of sexual violence by the Serbian forces primarily against Bosnian Muslim women and Bosnia Croats, is the case of Kunarac et al.(IT-96-23 and 23/1) in which all of the accused were found guilty of enslavement and rape as crime against humanity. The accused Zaga Kunarac, Zoran Vuković and Radomir Kovač, were Bosnian Serb army officers and played a leading role in planning and running the notorious rape camps in Foča, a town in the eastern part of BiH. In the spring of 1992, the Bosnian Serbs took over the town of Foča and a campaign of sexual violence was initiated. The Bosnian Serbs grouped Muslim females in detention centres where the latter were sexually abused.

Furthermore, Serb soldiers took many women to apartments and hotels which were used as brothels. The testimonies of over twenty women revealed repeated acts of rape, gang rape and other kinds of sexual assault and intimidation. As the judges of the ICTY stated, the summary of the evidence demonstrates that:

“The actions of the three accused were part of a systematic attack against Muslim civilians. Some of their acts, in peacetime, could doubtlessly be characterised as organised crime. They knew that one of the main purposes of that campaign was to drive the Muslims out of the region. They knew that one way to achieve this was to terrorise the Muslim civilian population in a manner that would make it impossible for them ever to return. They also knew of the general pattern of crimes, especially of detaining women and girls in different locations where they would be raped. The actions of all three accused show beyond any doubt their knowledge of the detention centres, and of the practice of systematically transferring the women and girls to locations where they would be abused by Serb men. The three accused were not just following orders, if there were such orders, to rape Muslim women. The evidence shows free will on their part” (ICTY 2001:2).

The testimonies of some of the victims in the Kunarac et al. case clearly demonstrate the systematic, widespread and targeted use of sexual violence against mostly female Bosnian Muslims and also Croats. The Trial Chamber defined the word “widespread” as “referring inter alia to number of victims of the attack and to its being carried out on a wide scale and systematic as referring to the organized or repetitive character of the acts of violence”(ICTY 2001: 45).

Witness 87 (Case IT-96-23-T and IT-96-23/1)

“A. Zaga Kunarac was never alone, and I was never alone. There were always several girls with me. Usually there would be several soldiers there. Then, of course, I should say, they would rape each one of us (ICTY 2000: 1694).

Q. Did you feel that you were targeted because you were Muslim?

A. Yes.

Q. Who else was in the woods with you?

A. My family and two other families. That as at the beginning .Later a short while before we were attacked, there were several families in one group.

Q. What ethnicity were all these people in the woods with you?

A. They were all Muslim (ICTY 2000:1666)”.

Witness 50 (Case IT-96-23-T and 23/1-T)

“Q. Did the fact that you were a Muslim have anything to do with why you were scared?

A. Well, yes, because only the Serbs were armed, nobody else (ICTY 2000: 1235).

A. Always they were saying, “You Muslim women, you Bule, we will show you’’ and that’s what they said, all of them, the same things (ICTY 2000: 1254).

Q. How often would you say other girls were taken out from the high school?

A. It’s hard to tell .They would take them out when they wanted to, when they felt this urge to take this out on them. But at any rate, every night some girl would end up someplace with the same soldier or with a different soldier (ICTY 2000:1255)

A. He had a knife. He said to me,‘’You will see , you Muslim. I am going to draw a cross on your back. I am going to baptise all of you. You are now going to be Serbs’’ (ICTY 2000: 1278)”.

4.2 Theme 2: Ram-Plan/Tolerance

One of the most important research questions of this study was about the so-called RAM plan. As suggested by the literature, this plan was developed by a team of senior Serb officers of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and experts from the JNA's Psychological Operations Department and it has been considered as the manual for the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia. Sexual violence was just a part of this strategy in order to disintegrate and eliminate the Bosnian Muslim and Croat community from the disputed territories and subsequently build a state founded on ethnic borders.

The existence of this plan will be explored in this section, with the help of the knowledge and the experiences of the participants and based on important cases and statements from the ICTY. Based on the following findings it will be attempted to be clarified, if the use of sexual violence against the Bosnian Muslims and Croats was organized and ordered at the highest level by the Serbian forces.

The Kunarac et al. case according to the interviewees and the judgement of the ICTY clearly defined sexual violence —and specifically rape— as a weapon of war with the aim to drive the Muslims out of the region of Foča. Bearing these cases on mind, one can make the hypothesis that sexual violence in Bosnia was an act aimed at obtaining certain political and military goals. The perception of sexual violence as a specific form of political and military violence is an element of the concept of strategic rape. According to some authors and scholars (Salzman 1998; Allen 1996;

Judah 2000; Ramet 2006), this strategy was translated as the RAM plan. When the interviewees were asked if they believe this plan even existed, a very interesting dichotomy was observed. At first thought, almost all the interviewees were cautious, but at the end, as presented below, the theme of tolerance emerged from the discussion with all of them.

“That’s what I am not sure. I didn’t see anyone providing firm argument that it was a chain of command .Numbers are truly hard to believe them. Horrible .It’s possible”. (Neven)

“Ram plan of course it had been mentioned a lot and I am sure that there were different plans, different strategies, different scenarios. ’I don’t know whether it was a part of a formal plan, the sort of plan we rape, we kill, we expel. I don’t think I have seen evidence that war was prosecuted for a particular plan”. (Tihomir)

I did not see an evidence that it was a plan, there was nothing enlightening. But as an academic I am always suspicious that there must be something between the lines”. (Zoran)

“I think there is a natural tendency for the defenders of rights of women and others that are victimized, there is a natural kind of impulse to think that always must be a plan but sometimes in my experience working on specific cases of rape and sexual violence in Bosnia, the Prosecutors office, you also see things that I think irrelevant to be recognized as policy approaches”. (Iva)

As the discussion continued, most of the interviewees referred to examples that might suggest the strategic and organized use of sexual violence in Bosnia. Neven stated that when he actually read that the Supreme Command —which was the highest headquarters of the Yugoslav (Serbian) army— formed a special team with the objective to attempt and take down American planes from the sky, solely with their will and the strength of their mind, he thought that there wasn’t really anything they couldn’t have thought at that time. Furthermore, he supported that these people were levels of colonels, civilians and he knew some of them. Therefore, if well respected, high-rank army officers would actually think that with the power of their will they could take down an American plane, then he could certainly believe that another team might had been formed based on the belief that if you rape a significant number of Bosnian Muslims women, you will manage to defeat them and force them to flee from certain areas of Bosnia. Lastly, at the end of the conversation, Neven stated that shortly before the war, in 1991 in Sarajevo, he interviewed Radovan Karadjic on live television. Radovan Karadzic was at that time the Bosnian Serb President of the Republika Srpska and he was seeking for the direct unification of that entity with Serbia. One of the questions that Neven asked him concerned the RAM plan, as the first rumours regarding that plan had started there back then. Karadzic answered that he had never heard of it. However, according to Neven, later on he actually contradicted himself.

“There are plenty of lies and again something to think was very difficult the case that in some form whether it was called RAM or not, I definitely think it did exist as a plan”. (Neven)

“No matter the name of the plan there was definitely a plan”. (Marco)

“I think, there probably in a general direction was set somehow that theme was perfectly clear: capturing territories, claiming territories, doing whatever violence they consider necessary in order to kind of credibly clean them as their own territories”. (Tihomir)

Another participant narrated an event in order to express his opinion about the existence or not of this plan. According to a colleague of him, who was very close to Milosevic at the time of the conflict in Yugoslavia—when Milosevic was the President of Serbia— the way he operated was the following: “He was someone with main associates. In a meeting to discuss the situation in Kosovo for instance he would ask the ministers or the chief of police what is happening in Kosovo. They would say ‘’Mr President Kosovars are attacking villages where the Serbs are in a majority, they are destabilizing our country, they were committing crimes, they are cutting all the connections with Belgrade’’ and Milosevic would not say a word; he would just listen and listen. Nothing enlightening. And then at the end of the meeting when all of the men reported to the president, he concluded the meeting by saying: ''well, I think after hearing your reports I can say that the constitutional order of Serbia has been put in danger, do your duties men''. That’s it. Now, of course, the men would go even beyond the wildest thoughts of Milosevic to do their duty. Just do your duty according to the constitution. So if you think of the way that they operate, it must have been something like that. Even when the rape campaign is concerned”.

Accordingly, another participant supported that she could not imagine that the leaders, all the way up the chain of command, military and police were involved in ordering the violence or specifically directing it, because these people are smart.

They would never just sent a memo ordering the soldiers to go rape a village and kill them all. Especially, really competent commanders often refrain from giving a specific order but they make sure that everyone understands what is expected of them by the context. When you attempt to create a political environment sometimes just a wink or a nod of the head can be understood as “do whatever is necessary”. Leaders such as Milosevic, Mladic or Karadzic were not going to be caught in something that would undermine them before the international law.

However, even if it was not explicitly ordered, the use of sexual violence was so massive and widespread that many commanders, civilians, police officers and military leaders knew about it and within a couple of months the media around the world was talking about it. This proves that high-rank politicians and commanders knew about the use of sexual violence and they did nothing to prosecute it or stop it; on the contrary, they tolerated it.

“I think it was tolerated at least if not orchestrated from the very top”. (Iva)

It was much larger scale and ordered. Even if not ordered from the commanding officers, if it was tolerated, this is it!” (Neven)

As set forth above, some of the participants confirmed the existence of a plan organized by the Serbian forces, while others were not certain. Nevertheless, all of them supported that the use of sexual violence especially from the Serbian side was widespread and systematic and even if there was no specific order or set of orders, sexual violence was tolerated by the officers and the commanders on the highest levels. Another case of the ICTY, which further supports this argument, was the case of Radislav Krstic (IT-98-33-T). While the Kunarac et al. judgement undoubtedly defined rape as an instrument of war, Radislav Krstić’s case demonstrated the connection between rape and ethnic cleansing, which —within the context of the crimes in Srebrenica—was closely connected to genocide. On 13 July 1995, Radislav Krstic, Deputy Commander and Chief-of-Staff of the Drina Corps within the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS”), was appointed commander by General Ratko Mladić. Drina Corps was the VRS military formation which executed more than seven thousand Bosnian Muslim boys and men from Srebrenica in July 1995 and led about 20-30,000 of its Muslim residents, mostly women, children and the elderly, to flee to the nearby village of Potočari. Soldiers of the Bosnian Serb Army also committed many acts of sexual violence. The Trial Chamber (2 August 2001) found Krstić responsible for the crimes that took place in Srebenica, involving the use of sexual violence, which was considered as “natural and foreseeable consequence of the ethnic cleansing campaign”. On 4 April 2004, the Appeals Chamber verified that acts of genocide had taken place in Srebrenica and confirmed Krstić’s participation in supporting these acts. Therefore, the Appeals Chamber sentenced him to thirty five years of prison. It should be noted that according to the Trial Chamber at that time, General Mladic was the Chief of the General Staff of the armed forces of Republika Srpska and the number two man in the military hierarchy, right below President Karadzic. On 11 July, General Mladic along with General Krstic and many other VRS officers entered into Srebrenica and by nightfall, Srebrenica had become a graveyard in the hands of the Bosnian Serb forces.

The evidence also leads to the conclusion that all these forces acted in a co- ordinated manner and were organised for the same objective. The presence of General Mladic in Srebrenica and Potocari was mentioned on several occasions” (ICTY 2001:10184).

The parties agreed that General Mladić was the main figure behind the killings. The Trial Chamber found that Generals Krstić and Mladić were in constant contact throughout the relevant period”(ICTY 2004:28).

Until today in the majority of cases subjected to the ICTY, has not been proved a link between sexual violence and the decisions of political and military superiors which would fit the RAM plan. However, the trials of Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadjic continue till today and the findings of this section indicate, even if RAM plan did not exist, even if not organizing the genocide in Srebenica and a sexual violence campaign in other regions of Bosnia, participating (Ratko Mladic-Srebenica) and tolerating it.

4.3 Theme 3: Patriarchal Society/ Stigma-Rejection

Finally, the last theme to be examined is the hypothesis based on which the use of sexual violence, committed mainly by the Serbian forces, was a very effective practice to achieve the breakdown of the Bosnian society and hence, the ethnic cleansing campaign due to the patriarchal structure of the Bosnian community. As presented in the literature and the previous chapter, the decisive intervention in the social structure of the Bosnian community in order to cause panic and fear was part of the RAM plan. This intervention involved the use of sexual violence which led the Bosnian Muslims and Croats to move out of Bosnia.

As argued by a number of scholars (McClintock 1993; Braceweeel 1996; Drezgic 1999), many societies in conflict areas, like this of Bosnia, are characterized by a traditional, patriarchal structure where men are regarded as the defenders of the nation, the heroes, while women are given a more symbolic role, that of the reflections of the nation’s purity and honour. In Bosnia women’s role was restricted to the reproduction and nurturing of the new members of the nation: future soldiers and mothers. Based on this important duty, women of the nation were admonished to marry among their people, to remain chaste and religiously devout, to give birth to as many children as possible and to care for the home rather than ‘’meddling’’ in politics. This logic was intensified when the Bosnian conflict started, as it was women and children who were to be defended by the nation’s men, especially from rape, which was defined as a violation of the national territory as well as pollution of ethnic purity (Massad 1995). The best way to humiliate and incapacitate the male enemy was to rape his women and sexually abuse him, placing him in feminized roles and thus taking his manhood. Such abuses are precisely what happened in the Bosnian war.

As Iva further described, in patriarchal societies like the Bosnian, the concept of a female kind of purity is present based on which women are not supposed to be promiscuous but to get married, to be mothers and housekeepers. Even though women generally tend to hold lower positions in terms of social standing, economically and politically, woman are idealized as far as the family is concerned.

Therefore, it is believed that if they rape their women, they are going to dishonour their men causing the communities of the victims to fall apart; they will not be able to take care of their children, their husbands will reject them or they will be ostracized from the community resulting in the breakdown of the community. Neven advocated this argument by stating that in the traditional patriarchal society of Bosnia, the rape of women brings shame on the victim as well as on the men of the victim’s family, as it is considered a great failure for them not to be able to protect women from any kind of violence and especially from sexual abuses committed by the enemy. “This horrible crime is then almost celebrated by the side of the criminals who committed the rape, because in a sense they have defeated the other side men by raping their women”.

As Tihomir mentioned, patriarchy is not specific to the Balkans: all cultures are patriarchal and conservative and probably adopt similar attitudes to rapes. However, coping with rape was especially difficult for Muslim women because, in many cases, they were rejected by their families and their community for being damaged goods.

Virginity before marriage was especially prized. Chastity, marriage and motherhood were the unavoidable norm for women and for this reason rape was a particularly harsh blow for Muslim women (Helms 2013). Fisher(1996:123) asserts that “a policy of rape is particularly damaging in the Bosnian Muslim culture,because of the norms of gender and sexuality in traditional Islamic culture, that consider rape victims unfit to become wives and mothers”. As Zarkov (1995) stated, it is undoubtedly argued that the rural culture and religion of the Bosnian Muslims meant for their women that the trauma caused by rape was even more intense for them and that they suffered from an even greater shame and stigma and therefore they refused to speak about their experiences. Neven supported that sexual violence in Bosnia was obvious and widespread but it was underreported for several reasons: it was very difficult for the victims of sexual violence to publicly talk about having been raped.

Instead they would keep it inside and suffer quietly.

From what I heard through the years from people that happened to them, they never told their husbands if it happened, they would never say that, they would just be quiet about it and fear some kind of rejection”. (Iva)

The testimonies of female Bosnian Muslim victims in the Kunarac et al. case demonstrate the fear of rejection, the shame and the silence of the victims of sexual violence due to the patriarchal structure of the Bosnian Muslim community especially.

WITNESS 50 (Case IT-96-23-T and 23/1-T)

“Q. Did you tell her at that time what had happened to you?

A. I don’t think I told her, but she was smart enough to understand what had happened.

Q. Why didn’t you say anything to her about what had happened to you?

A. I thought that if I had to suffer, they didn’t have to know about it (ICTY 2000:1246).

A. I never talked to anyone about anything from that event onwards; I kept silent” (ICTY :1254).

WITNESS 87 (Case IT-96-23-T and IT-96-23/1)

“Q. Did you tell your mother what had just happened to you?

A. No

Q. Why not?

A. I think that at that time I didn’t have the strength to, to even look her in the eyes .Not only her, but anybody, to look anybody in the eyes.

Q. How did you feel at that time?

A. It’s very difficult to describe that. I know that I was terribly frightened, I felt ashamed in a way, and in a way I felt very, very dirty, soiled(ICTY 2000:1676).

Q. Did you tell your mother what had happened to you?

A. No.

Q. Was there anything about the way you looked that might have led her to conclude what happened to you?

A. I think so, yes. She never asked me, nor did I ever tell her, but I think she knew, with some certainty” (ICTY: 1685).

The clearest example demonstrating the patriarchal structure of the Bosnian society is the case of Radislav Krstic (IT-98-33-T). At the trial of the Bosnian Serb General

Radislav Krstic—as the judgment itself put it—it was common knowledge that the Bosnian Muslims of Eastern Bosnia represented a patriarchal society where men were more educated, trained and provided material support to their families. The Prosecution successfully countered that the Serbian forces were aware that killing the men would lead the community in despair and this combined with the sexual violence trauma suffered by their women would inevitably result in the physical disappearance of the Bosnian Muslim population of Eastern Bosnia. Finally, as Tihomir suggested “sexual violence was used in order to inflict shame on the victim’s family and force the family to move away. Maybe it worked like that in some cases.

Especially patriarchal structure in some parts of Bosnia, could probably be part of the explanation but I don’t think it’s the whole explanation. It is a piece of the explanation”. The findings set forth in this section, show that the Bosnian society adopts a patriarchal structure and the use of sexual violence, primarily against female Bosnian Muslims, played a prominent role in breaking up the cohesion of the community and causing panic and fear which led to their departure. Apart from this, the aftermath of sexual violence was suffering, shame, fear of rejection and stigma for the abused women that forced them to keep silent for many years due to the patriarchal structure of Bosnia.

Chapter 5


This research has revealed multiple complications pertaining to conflict and the massive use of sexual violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The discussion and debate of the war and the consequences for the innocent population, make it clear that there are no simple answers. It is very difficult to explain precisely why this happened. In the Bosnian case, the widespread sexual violence utilized as a weapon of war with the ultimate goal of ethnic cleansing, left the country shattered and unable to fully address the problems which had arisen. The aim of this study has been to provide some answers to these questions. The main research questions were if sexual violence was used as a wartime weapon in Bosnia and how, its goal and the social circumstances under which it took place.

The literature, the data from the participants and the official documents of ICTY

clearly demonstrated that sexual violence in Bosnia was systematic, widespread and targeted to such a degree that it indeed constituted a weapon of war. Although sexual violence was used by all the sides of the conflict, the victims of these acts were mainly the Bosnian Muslims and the Croats. Reflecting back to the literature many rapes in Bosnia can be characterized as opportunistic with the aim to establish the military masculinity of the male offenders or as a result of the impunity that dominates in wars. However, the findings of the first section of the analysis and especially the case of Kunarac et al. demonstrated that the usage of sexual violence by the Bosnian Serbs was a part of a campaign in order to drive the Bosnian Muslims out of the region. The ethnic cleansing practices in Bosnia prove the use of sexual violence beyond traditional notions of rape and as part of wider political agendas.

The findings of this study are significant, as the personal experiences of the participants and the transcribed cases from the ICTY in the second section of the analysis demonstrated that, even if there was no overall plan organized by the Serbian forces at the highest level, these definitely tolerated the use of sexual violence and took part in it. The number of Bosnian Serbs and Serbs army officers convicted for the systematic and targeted use of sexual violence against Bosnian Muslims, the presence of the Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic in the Srebenica genocide and the accounts of the participants reinforce this aspect. This study has also presented the impact of a life within the patriarchal society of Bosnia and how the socio-cultural dynamics of this society facilitated the use of sexual violence as an instrument of war. Since the end of the war, only a small percentage of the sexually abused women has felt safe enough to step up and report the rapes that had taken place. In the strong patriarchal community of Bosnia revealing that you have been fallen a victim of sexual violence still constitutes a taboo. For a large percentage of women, it is impossible to come forward due to the morals of their community.

Especially for the Muslim women who were sexually abused, humiliation, shame and stigma still exist. This only prolongs their pain as they have to remain silent about their past experiences.

There are various avenues for further research which have been highlighted by this study including the need for larger participant samples. A bigger sample of participants related to the conflict in Bosnia would have enabled this research to provide an even deeper understanding of the use of sexual violence in Bosnia. Also

Serbs and Bosnian Serbs participants could have voiced the opinion of the other side regarding the use of sexual violence and the reasons why it took place. Another area of sociological and criminological interest for further research would be the investigation of sexual violence against men and boys during the Bosnian conflict.

According to a research by Zeljka Mudrovcic (2001),during the war in the former Yugoslavia, it has been reported that 5000 victims, out of the 6000 concentration camp victims in the Sarajevo Canton, were men and 80% of them had been sexually abused. It is generally accepted that sexual violence in wars is underreported and male sexual violence even more. This is because of a mixture of feelings of shame, confusion, guilt, fear and stigma. It is especially difficult for men who have been sexually abused to talk, as they consider it incompatible with their masculinity, particularly in communities in which men are deterred to talk about their feelings(Stanko and Hobdell 1993; Sivakumaran 2005; King, Coxell, and Mezey 2000).

Therefore, it is suggested that a further study about the sexual violence of men and boys in Bosnia could provide some clarity in these dark figures.

What can be considered as a positive from this tragedy is that the Tribunal, in a number of landmark judgements, advanced the establishment of international justice in the realm of gender crimes by empowering the prosecution of sexual violence as a war crime against humanity and genocide. Fundamentally, sexual violence stopped being considered as the unrestrained sexual behaviour of individuals and was identified as a powerful instrument of war, utilized to oppress, persecute and terrorise the enemy. The significance of including sexual violence in the worst crimes committed under international law, lies in comprehending that, within the context of interstate and non-interstate armed conflicts, sexual violence may have intentional and organized features amounting to a warfare mechanism.

Furthermore, the definition of sexual violence as a wartime weapon manifests the reconsideration of post-war reconciliation and practices to establish respective understandings of security in order to minimize the likelihood of future sexual violence in armed conflicts.

The military pledge of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a fine example of the importance of the recognition of sexual violence as a weapon of war and of the steps that can be taken in order to end sexual violence in armed conflicts. In 31 March 2015, the commanders of the armed forces of Congo (FARDC) took an important step forward by signing a landmark declaration to fight sexual violence in war. Army commanders and politicians of FARDC along with UN representatives about sexual violence in conflicts decided to take significant actions including: the respect of human rights and international humanitarian law related to sexual violence in armed conflicts, the punishment of soldiers who committed acts of sexual violence, sensitizing soldiers about the zero tolerance policy on sexual violence in conflict, reporting to the leaders of FARDC any incidents or accusations of sexual abuses in their field of responsibility and taking certain measures in order to protect victims, witnesses, judicial actors and other stakeholders involved in addressing sexual violence. As Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, stated:“this is a day we will all remember as a giant leap forward in the fight against conflict-related sexual violence. The signing of this declaration by commanders, and the implementation of the FARDC action plan, represent the progress we can make when political will and commitment are coupled with concrete action and support from the international community”(UN 2015).


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Appendix A: Participant Table

Not included for copyright reasons.

Appendix B: Interview Guide

- How are you connected to the conflicts in the Former Yugoslavia?
- Why do you believe that sexual violence in wartime especially in the last 30 years became a focus for journalists and academics?
- Do you believe that sexual violence can be used as a weapon of war or it is just a consequence of war? And if it can be used as a wartime weapon in what way?
- The patterns of sexual violence in detention camps and rape camps, mostly against female Bosnian Muslims documented from several humanitarian organizations during the 1990s indicated the existence of an overall plan organized by the Serbian forces. What is your opinion?
- Specifically Salzman referred to the so called RAM plan which was organized by Serb officers associated to Yugoslav National Army (JNA) Psychological Operations Departments before the war in order to achieve the policy of ethnic ‘’cleansing’’. Do you believe in the existence of this plan? And do you believe that sexual violence was a component of this ethnic cleansing policy?
- In your opinion which was the reason the Serbian forces wanted to forcibly remove the Bosnian Muslims mainly out of Bosnia? Do you believe that religion was an important factor for this war?
- Many scholars supported that the success of the ethnic cleansing policy, by widely using sexual violence as a tool to humiliate, terrorize in order to remove the Bosnia Muslim population, was because of the patriarchal structure of Bosnia. Do you advocate this opinion?
- ICTY recognized rape and sexual enslavement as a form of torture and crime against humanity and convicted individuals from all the sides of the conflict but especially from the Serbian army. Do you believe that this helped to internationally recognize sexual violence as a weapon of war in order to prevent future use of sexual violence in armed conflicts?
- Do you believe that sexual violence can be prevented in future wars? And if yes how?

Appendix 3: Participant information sheet

“ Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War: A Case Study Exploring the Use of Sexual Violence in the Bosnian War 1992-1995”

I would like to invite you to take part in a research project. Before you decide you need to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve for you. Please take the time to read the following information carefully and ask questions about anything you do not understand. Talk to others about the study if you wish.

What is the purpose of the study?

This is a dissertation project about the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war in Bosnia- Herzegovina for a postgraduate course in criminology, criminal justice and social research at the University of Surrey. The study will include gathering information on the views of individuals with expertise on this topic and official documents of ICTY. This research will try to shed light on some questions concerning the widespread and targeted usage of sexual violence and its purpose.

Why have you been invited to take part in this study ?

You are being invited because of your knowledge and experience in the research area. This would help provide a very useful insight about the use of sexual violence in Bosnia. Your ethnic background is also very important and most importantly you are a best suited candidate for the study.

Do I have to take part?

No, you do not have to participate. There will be no adverse consequences in terms of your legal rights and your care / treatment / employment status / education, that is, there will be no impact on your assessment or class of degree, if you decide not to participate or withdraw at a later stage. You can withdraw your participation at any time.

What will my involvement require ?

If you agree to take part, I will then ask you to sign a consent form. If you do decide to take part you will be given this information sheet to keep and a copy of your signed consent form. You will be involved in a 40-60 minutes interview and this will include asking questions based on your professional opinion and your experience. The interview will be audio recorded for transcript purposes once the dissertation has been marketed, the audio evidence will be destroyed

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

The study will help understand how sexual violence was used as a weapon of war and its aim. This may help future research, as taking part will help to explain some important issues about the utilization of sexual violence in wars.

What I say in this study, will it be kept confidential?

All information collected will be kept strictly confidential. Your name and personal details will not be shared with third parties and any views in the dissertation report will be anonymous. Your confidentiality, privacy and anonymity will be ensured throughout and only I, the researcher, will have access to your personal information which will be destroyed after the dissertation report has been marked. The research material will be kept in a locked cupboard until it is no longer needed and then it will be destroyed.

What will happen to the results of this research study?

The results will be used to create a report which may or may not be published. If you wish to obtain a copy of the report, you may do so by contacting the researcher. You may contact the researcher on the information provided below.

Who is organising and funding the research?

The research is organised and funded by the researcher (MSc student at the University of Surrey) and this research is supervised by a dissertation supervisor at the University of Surrey.

Who has reviewed the study?

The School of Sociology at the University of Surrey has reviewed and granted Ethical approval for this study.

Contact for Further Information

Student name: Ioannis Derziotis

School of Sociology

University of Surrey

E-mail: xxx

Thank you for taking the time to read the information sheet.

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Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War
A Case Study exploring the Use of Sexual Violence in the Bosnian War 1992-1995
The University of Surrey
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sexual, violence, weapon, case, study, bosnian
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Ioannis Derziotis (Author), 2016, Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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