Children in Conflict
Evidence from the Archives of the International Criminal Tribunals
This online exhibition provides insight into some of the ways in which children were affected by the Balkan wars of the 1990s and the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
Cases brought before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) did not focus on the age of victims per se, nor did they record all significant attacks against children. Yet, many of the testimonies and objects admitted into evidence before the Tribunals depict how children often became the intentional target of sexual violence, torture, persecution, forcible transfer, murder and extermination, among other crimes.
Relying on a selection of photographs, video and audio materials, transcripts and other official documents that were admitted as evidence in cases before the ICTY and the ICTR, this exhibition presents a non-exhaustive picture of the plight of children in the Balkan wars and the Rwandan genocide and, more generally, of the impact of an armed conflict on a community’s youngest members.
All material displayed in the exhibition is drawn from the ICTY and ICTR public archives, which are in the custody of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals.
Photographs of Sainte Famille Church, Kigali, Rwanda
- Exhibit number: P77
- Record number: 15190-01
- Date admitted: 30 January 2007
- Case: Renzaho (ICTR-97-31)
“There was one young boy, I do not know whether he was at the Sainte Famille and he started shouting and screaming, and I heard gunshots from all directions in that compound. Since we were near the tent, we went into our tent and we sat down. Lots of people were killed on that day. There was no selection, as it had been the case at the CELA centre. They just shot at the crowd or shot anyone passing, at random. I don't know what the duration of that operation was, but it actually lasted some time. And sometime afterwards, an Interahamwe I did not know arrived at that place and ordered us to get out of our tent and to go and meet the others, not far from the fathers' room. So we went out. And, on our way, we saw bodies lying here and there. We went close to the place where the other people were. And when we got there, we found most of the people were women and children, and we sat down in that group. When we arrived there, the gunshots did not last a long time.”
These photographs of refugee children in Sainte Famille Church in Kigali, Rwanda, belong to a group of 33 images taken by photo-journalist Corinne Dufka that were admitted into evidence in the Renzaho case at the ICTR. Dufka testified on 30 January 2007 that the photographs were taken in the Church on either 29 or 30 May 1994 and that the atmosphere in the Church at that time was one of tension and anxiety.
On 31 January 2007, Witness ATQ testified regarding killings which took place at the Sainte Famille Church compound around 16 June 1994. The witness, who was 19 years old at the time, was among many Tutsis who sought refuge at the Church in May 1994. During the testimony, the witness identified Renzaho as being present at the Church on the day of the killings.
The case concerned the establishment of roadblocks and distribution of weapons to Interahamwe and other militia groups in Kigali for the purpose of “fighting the enemy”, as well as crimes perpetrated at the Centre d’Étude des Langues Africaines and Saint Famille Church. During these events, Tharcisse Renzaho was Prefect of Kigali-Ville Prefecture and a Colonel in the Rwandan Army.
An ICTR Trial Chamber found, inter alia, that from April 1994, many persons sought refuge at the Sainte Famille Church in the Kigali-Ville Prefecture. The number increased gradually and by mid-June, more than 1,000 persons had sought refuge at the Church. On 17 June 1994, Interahamwe attacked the site. A large number of civilians were killed and young men were targeted in particular.
Renzaho’s convictions of genocide, crimes against humanity (murder) and serious violations of Article 3 Common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II (murder) were affirmed on appeal.
Foča photo album
- Exhibit number: P11
- Record number: 47632
- Date admitted: 20 March 2000
- Case: Kunarac et al. (IT-96-23 & IT-96-23/1)
“I think that I have decided to try and leave many of those things behind me somewhere, although within me, I still have and there will always be traces of everything that happened to me. I think that for the whole of my life, all my life I will have thoughts of that and feel the pain that I felt then and still feel. That will never go away.”
Witness FWS-87 was one of 20 women who testified at the ICTY in the case of Kunarac et al. regarding charges of rape, torture, enslavement and outrages upon the personal dignity of the women by the accused in Foča, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 1992. Among other experiences mentioned in her testimony on 4 April 2000, Witness FWS-87 recounted her detention and repeated rape at various locations in Foča and her sale by Radomir Kovač to Montenegrin soldiers for 500 German Marks. She was 15 and a half when the war broke out in Foča.
The album featured here contains photographs that were taken during the Prosecutor’s investigative mission to Foča in June 1996. The album was used by the Prosecution throughout the testimony of Witness FWS-87 and other witnesses to identify alleged crime scenes and places of relevance in Foča.
Kunarac et al. (IT-96-23 & IT-96-23/1)
An ICTY Trial Chamber found that, from April 1992 until at least February 1993, Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovač and Zoran Vuković participated as soldiers in a campaign by Bosnian Serb forces to “cleanse” the area of Foča of its non-Serb inhabitants.
According to the trial judgement, civilian Muslim men and women were rounded up in the villages surrounding Foča. The men were separated from the women and children; some of them suffered long periods of detention in the Foča KP Dom prison, others were killed on the spot. The women and children were taken to collection points and then transferred by bus to Foča High School, where they were detained. Some of them were later taken to other places in and around Foča, such as the Partizan Sports Hall and to private houses in Miljevina and Trnovača. The Trial Chamber found that members of the Bosnian Serb armed forces raped, humiliated, psychologically imprisoned and degraded girls and young women. It considered that Muslim women and girls, mothers and daughters together, were robbed of the last vestiges of human dignity; women and girls were treated like chattel, pieces of property at the arbitrary disposal of the Serb occupation forces, and more specifically, at the beck and call of the three accused. Most of the rape victims were girls younger than 19 years of age. The youngest victim was 12 years old.
The accused were convicted of rape, torture, enslavement and outrages upon personal dignity as crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war. These convictions were upheld on appeal.
Video of Kibuye Prefecture
- Exhibit number: P3B
- Record number: 10072-01
- Date admitted: 29 March 2004
- Case: Muhimana (ICTR-95-1B)
“Question: How old were you in 1994, 16 April 1994, when this was happening to you?
Answer: I was 15 years of age.”
Witness BJ, a young Hutu girl, testified that she was working for a Tutsi family when fighting broke out between the Rwandan Armed Forces and the Rwandan Patriotic Front in Gishyita commune, Kibuye Prefecture, Rwanda. She sought refuge with many other displaced persons in the hospital in the Mugonero Complex.
During her testimony, the witness described how she, together with two other young girls, hid in Room 3 of the hospital, where they were found and raped by Mikaeli Muhimana and members of the Interahamwe. In the trial judgement of 28 April 2005, the ICTR Trial Chamber found that the young age of the victims was an aggravating factor when considering Muhimana’s sentence.
The video featured here shows the hospital in the Mugonero Complex, which was among the locations identified by the ICTR Prosecution as relevant to the Muhimana case.
An ICTR Trial Chamber found that during the months of April and May 1994, Mikaeli Muhimana, a former Conseiller of Gishyita Sector in Kibuye Prefecture, participated in the killing of members of the Tutsi ethnic group and caused serious bodily or mental harm to members of the same group.
It further found that Muhimana participated in attacks against Tutsi civilians who had sought refuge in churches and a hospital, traditionally regarded as places of sanctuary and safety. He also killed young children, and raped girls whom he believed to be Tutsi with reckless disregard for human life and dignity.
Muhimana was found guilty of genocide, rape as a crime against humanity and murder as a crime against humanity. These convictions were upheld on appeal.
The protection of children under international law
In the event of an armed conflict, children not taking part in hostilities benefit from the general protection provided to civilians. In particular, as non-combatant civilians, children are covered by the fundamental guarantees offered by the fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and its first Additional Protocol of 1977 in case of an international armed conflict, and by Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the second Additional Protocol of 1977 in the event of a non-international armed conflict. Like any other civilians, children are entitled, inter alia, to respect of their right to life and their physical and mental integrity. They further benefit from the prohibitions on coercion, corporal punishment, torture, collective punishment and reprisals. They are also covered by the legal provisions on the conduct of hostilities.
Moreover, in light of their particular vulnerability, children enjoy special protection under various provisions of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977. If children take a direct part in the hostilities, they lose the general protection granted to civilians but retain that special protection.
Finally, limits on the participation of children in the hostilities and on their recruitment in armed forces or groups are also set under international human rights law, including by the Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989 and its Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict of 2000.
Witness Statement of Elvedin Pašić
- Exhibit number: D30
- Record number: 137020
- Date admitted: 21 October 2004
- Case: Krajišnik (IT-00-39)
“Amongst the crowd there were some boys too who were involved in the beatings. The women were holding axes and pitchforks but were using wood to beat us. Those who did not have anything used their hands and feet to beat us. They were cursing us all the time. […] I even ran part of the way and almost succeeded in getting to the bus but suddenly a woman grabbed me from the back and threw me on the road. She was holding a knife and said, ‘let me kill this balija boy; my two sons were killed in Večići’. At that time a soldier came and after he pushed the woman aside he literally threw me in the bus. I was the last one to board the bus.”
Witness Elvedin Pašić was 13 years old when his village, Kotor Varoš in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was attacked in May 1992.
During his testimony in October 2004, Pašić recalled his experience from when he began to notice the increased presence of Serbian soldiers in his village during the days before the attack, to his chaotic forced departure from the area months later after being captured and detained by Serbian soldiers.
During cross-examination, Pašić was asked by Defence Counsel to verify portions of his December 2000 Witness Statement, featured here.
Among other questions, Pašić was asked if he felt that, at various points throughout his experience, the Serbian soldiers were trying to protect him.
Pašić answered that he did.
An ICTY Trial Chamber found Momčilo Krajišnik, a former member of the Bosnian Serb leadership, guilty of crimes that encompassed the forcible displacement of several thousand Muslim and Croat civilians, among them women, children and elderly persons.
According to the trial judgement, from 18 March until 30 December 1992, Serb forces attacked Muslims and Croats living in towns, villages and smaller settlements in 35 municipalities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which were mostly undefended and contained no military targets. The Trial Chamber found that Muslims and Croats were mistreated and killed by Bosnian Serbs forces. Men were often arrested and taken to detention centres, while women and children were forced to leave their homes and were either detained or forced to leave the municipality. The conditions in many detention centres where Muslims and Croats were held were intolerable, without sufficient food, water, medical care or hygiene facilities. The detainees were often beaten and sometimes raped by members of the Serb forces. Many detainees suffered physical and psychological injuries and health problems. Many detainees died as a result. In addition, many detainees were also deliberately killed, by paramilitaries, police or other Serb forces.
Krajišnik was convicted of persecution, deportation and forcible transfer of non-Serb civilians as crimes against humanity. These convictions were upheld on appeal.
Audio recording of 31 May 1994 broadcast of Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines and transcript of the broadcast
- Exhibit number: P103/18C
- Record number: 7900
- Date admitted: 12 July 2002
- Case: Nahimana et al. (Media case) (ICTR-99-52)
“They have deceived the Tutsi children, promising them unattainable things. Last night, I saw a Tutsi child who had been wounded and thrown into a hole 15m deep. He managed to get out of the hole, after which he was finished with a club. Before he died, he was interrogated. He answered that the Inkotanyi had promised to pay for his studies up to university. However, that may be done without risking his life and without devastating the country. We do not understand the Inkotanyi’s attitude. They do not have more light or heavy weapons than us. We are more numerous than them. I believe they will be wiped out if they don’t withdraw.”
This audio recording is taken from one of a number of tapes containing broadcasts from Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (“RTLM”) that was admitted in the ICTR “Media” case in 2002. The Prosecution argued that the incitement to ethnic hatred and violence was a fundamental part of RTLM’s editorial line in 1994.
In its 3 December 2003 judgement, the ICTR Trial Chamber found no indication in this specific broadcast that the Tutsi child was armed or dangerous. It also noted that the child’s brutal death was described dispassionately by the RTLM presenter Kantano Habimana.
Nahimana et al. (Media case) (ICTR-99-52)
An ICTR Trial Chamber found that broadcasts of RTLM and articles published in Kangura newspaper directly incited the commission of genocide against the Tutsis, including children, across Rwanda. Three individuals were convicted by the ICTR in relation to the activities of RTLM and Kangura: Ferdinand Nahimana, founder and RTLM’s ideologist, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, founding member of the Coalition for the Defence of the Republic, and Hassan Ngeze, Chief Editor of Kangura newspaper.
The trial judgement notes that RTLM and Kangura regularly named Tutsi “enemies”, including children, who were subsequently killed. Demonizing the Tutsi as having inherently evil qualities, equating the entire ethnic group with “the enemy”, RTLM and Kangura called for the extermination of Tutsis, as well as their children and women pregnant with Tutsi children, as a response to the political threat that they associated with Tutsi ethnicity.
The Appeals Chamber affirmed Nahimana’s convictions of direct and public incitement to commit genocide in respect of RTLM broadcasts after 6 April 1994, and persecution as a crime against humanity. It further affirmed Barayagwiza’s convictions of genocide, extermination, and persecution as crimes against humanity. Lastly, the Appeals Chamber affirmed Ngeze’s convictions of aiding and abetting the commission of genocide in Gisenyi, directly and publicly inciting the commission of genocide through matters published in Kangura in 1994 and aiding and abetting extermination as a crime against humanity.
ICTY Prosecution investigation of the 22 January 1994 Alipašino Polje shelling incident
- Exhibit number: P3281F
- Record number: 38574
- Date admitted: 6 May 2002
- Case: Galić (IT-98-29)
“We were sledding and then we suddenly heard that shells were falling. We knew that it was nearby because of the loud noise, the explosion, and then we got very scared and started to run away. But before we managed to get to the entrance of the building, a shell landed behind us. Daniel Juranić was killed. I was injured in my head, leg and arm, and then Admir and Elvir were also injured.”
Witness Muhamed Kapetanović was 10 years old on 22 January 1994 when his neighbourhood, Alipašino Polje, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, was shelled as he and his friends played in the snow.
Kapetanović testified before the ICTY that he underwent seven operations on his leg and spent two years in Italy receiving treatment for his extensive injuries. The video featured here was made by the Prosecution roughly seven years after that incident, in 2001, when Kapetanović was about 17 years old. In the video, Kapetanović identifies the area where he and his friends played before the shelling began, the location where the shell struck the ground, the spot where he was injured and the general direction in which he ran when the shelling began.
The case concerned events which took place in and around Sarajevo, from September 1992 to August 1994. Stanislav Galić, a commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, was found by an ICTY Trial Chamber to have conducted a campaign of attacks against civilians. He did so with the primary aim of spreading terror among the civilian population of Sarajevo.
The Trial Chamber found beyond reasonable doubt that Sarajevo civilians were made the objects of deliberate attacks by Bosnian Serb forces. Witnesses gave evidence about having experienced multiple attacks in their neighbourhoods, including being attacked while attending funerals, while in ambulances, trams, and buses, and while cycling. They were also attacked while tending gardens, or shopping in markets, or clearing rubbish in the city. Children were targeted while playing or walking in the streets.
Galić was convicted of acts of violence, the primary purpose of which was to spread terror among the civilian population, murder and other inhumane acts as crimes against humanity. These convictions were upheld on appeal.
Children as perpetrators
Neither the ICTY Statute nor the ICTR Statute limits the Tribunals’ jurisdiction to persons that were 18 or older at the time the crimes were committed.
Nevertheless, no children were charged as perpetrators before either the ICTY or the ICTR.
English statement of PW38: Brent Beardsley
- Exhibit number: DB72A
- Record number: 9638
- Date admitted: 4 February 2004
- Case: Bagosora et al. (Military I) (ICTR-98-41)
“I remember looking down, a woman obviously had tried to protect her baby. Somebody had rolled her off the baby. The baby was still alive and trying to feed on her breasts.”
Witness Major Brent Beardsley testified in the ICTR “Military I” case regarding his experience in Rwanda in 1993 and 1994 as the personal staff officer to General Roméo Dallaire in the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda. Major Beardsley provided evidence in relation to a variety of matters, including testifying about two specific incidents involving the killing of children and other refugees.
Major Beardsley testified that during the first of these two incidents, he found the strangled bodies of a number of children in the Volcano Mountains in the North West of Rwanda in early December 1993. Major Beardsley further testified that during the second incident, he arrived at Gikondo Parish in Kigali Prefecture on 9 June 1994 and discovered that the alleyway leading to the Parish was filled with the corpses of children, with the Church itself containing around 150 more bodies.
The witness statement featured here, along with Major Beardsley’s testimony, was used by Aloys Ntabakuze’s Defence to dispute Prosecution’s argument that the Para Commando Battalion—led by Ntabakuze at that time—was operating in the area at the time of the Gikondo Parish incident. An ICTR Trial Chamber found that the Prosecution’s evidence did not satisfactorily demonstrate that members of the Para Commando Battalion were involved in the attack.
Bagosora et al. (Military I) (ICTR-98-41)
An ICTR Trial Chamber found three senior officers of the Rwandan Army, Théoneste Bagosora, Aloys Ntabakuze and Anatole Nsengiyumva, guilty of crimes related to the assassinations of prominent personalities and political opposition figures in Rwanda, the killings at various sites in the Kigali area and Gisenyi Prefecture, and the killing of Belgian peacekeepers after they had been disarmed. A fourth accused, Gratien Kabiligi, was cleared of all charges against him.
Most victims were primarily unarmed Tutsi civilians who were either murdered in their homes, at places of refuge such as religious sites and schools, or at roadblocks on their way to these sanctuaries while fleeing the resumption of hostilities or other attacks. In the trial judgement, reference is also made to evidence presented by one of the Prosecution witnesses, who testified that “the corpses of children, hacked with machetes, filled the alleyway alongside the building.”
Bagosora was found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, persecution, rape and other inhumane acts) and serious violations of Article 3 Common to the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II (violence to life and outrages upon personal dignity). Ntabakuze was found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, persecution and other inhumane acts) and serious violations of Article 3 Common to the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II (violence to life). Nsengiyumva was found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity (extermination and persecution) and violence to life as a serious violation of Article 3 Common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II. These convictions were upheld on appeal.
Marking made by Witness Berisha in court on 2 February 2009 and Berisha family tree
- Exhibit number: P00275
- Record number: 300563
- Date admitted: 4 February 2009
- Case: Đorđević (IT-05-87/1)
“At one particular moment my children came, and Altin said to me, Mommy, they injured me. Blood was coming out of his arm. And he said, Mommy, the police were shooting in my direction but they didn't quite hit me. He was pale. His heart was racing. They were shooting even at the children who were running away. Soon a group of policemen came and told us to go in. There was a cafe. There were tables inside, so we all went inside. They told us to sit down, and as soon as we sat, they started to shoot uninterruptedly. It was a burst of fire, automatic fire.”
The red number “1” on exhibit P00275—an aerial photograph of the Suva Reka area, Kosovo—was marked by Witness Shyhrete Berisha to show the spot where she and other family members, including her children, were led into a café and fired upon by a group of policemen on 26 March 1999.
Berisha testified that of the 31 family members present with her in the café that day, only three survived. Of her family members killed in the café, 15 were children aged 17 years and younger. The youngest victim, Eron, was 10 months old. Exhibit P00272, part of the Berisha family tree, identifies those present in the café that day in blue text and indicates the age of each family member.
Vlastimir Đorđević, a former senior Serbian police official, was found guilty by an ICTY Trial Chamber of participating in a joint criminal enterprise aimed at changing the ethnic balance of Kosovo and ensuring Serbian dominance in the territory. According to the trial judgement, this objective was pursued through a widespread campaign of terror and violence against Kosovo Albanian civilians in 1999, which included crimes of deportation, murder, other inhumane acts (forcible transfer) and persecution.
In addition, the trial judgement reflects that Đorđević had detailed knowledge of events on the ground, and played a key role in coordinating the work of the forces reporting to the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs and their efforts to conceal murders of Kosovo Albanians. The Trial Chamber determined that Đorđević was also personally and directly involved in the engagement of paramilitary units in Kosovo, including the Scorpions, which were directly involved in the shooting of 19 Kosovo Albanian women and children in Podujevo/Podujeve, killing 14 of them.
Đorđević was convicted of deportation, other inhumane acts (forcible transfer), murder, persecution on racial grounds as crimes against humanity, and murder as a violation of the laws or customs of war. The Appeals Chamber upheld these convictions. In addition, the Appeals Chamber, granting the Prosecutor’s ground of appeal, found Đorđević guilty of persecution as a crime against humanity for the sexual assaults of a Kosovo Albanian girl, two young women, and two other women.
The Tribunals’ jurisprudence
The jurisprudence of the ICTY and the ICTR has contributed to the strengthening of the protection of children during conflict.
In particular, ICTY and ICTR judgements have recognized the young age of victims and children’s inherent vulnerability as aggravating factors in the determination of sentences. In the Kunarac et al. case, an ICTY Trial Chamber found that the youthful age of some of the victims (mainly, between 15 and a half and 19 years old) and the very young age of one of the victims (about 12 years old) were to be considered as an aggravating circumstance. In the Blaškić case, an ICTY Trial Chamber noted that the targeting of women and children within the general civilian population constituted an aggravating circumstance. A similar stance was taken by an ICTR Trial Chamber in the Muhimana case.
Aerial photograph of stadium [and hospital]
- Exhibit number: P23
- Record number: 24
- Date admitted: 11 April 1997
- Case: Kayishema et al. (ICTR-95-1)
Witness O was a doctor working at the Kibuye hospital in Kibuye Prefecture, Rwanda, in April and May 1994. The witness testified that during this time, 72 Tutsi children who had survived a massacre at the Home Saint-Jean complex were brought to the hospital where Witness O worked. The children were between the ages of eight and 15 years old and were in poor physical condition.
Witness O testified before the ICTR that on 3 May 1994, he attended a meeting with government officials in which he raised concerns about the safety of the children at the hospital after they were threatened by members of the Interahamwe. During the meeting, the Minister of Information rebuked him for his concern and gave the impression that the children were recognized as enemies. When Witness O returned to the hospital after the meeting, he learned these the children had been forcibly taken from the hospital and killed.
The photograph featured here is an aerial view of the Stadium in Kibuye town—in which thousands of men, women and children were killed—and the Kibuye hospital, which is located directly behind the Stadium.
Kayishema et al. (ICTR-95-1)
This case concerned massacres that took place in the Kibuye Prefecture from April to June 1994 at the Stadium, Catholic Church and Home Saint-Jean complex in Kibuye town, the Church in Mubuga, and the area of Bisesero. An ICTR Trial Chamber convicted Clément Kayishema, Prefect of Kibuye, and Obed Ruzindana, a commercial trader, in relation to these events.
The Trial Chamber found that a large number of Tutsi men, women and children had sought refuge from the killings that were ongoing in the Kibuye Prefecture. Specifically, about 8,000 people sought refuge at the complex, between 5,000 and 27,000 at the Stadium, and between 4,000 and 5,500 at the Mubuga Church. Tens of thousands also sought refuge in the Bisesero area. It determined that Tutsis in those locations were not only killed in “tremendous numbers”, but they were also killed “regardless of gender or age. Men and women, old and young, were killed without mercy. Children were massacred before their parents’ eyes, women raped in front of their families. No Tutsi was spared, neither the weak nor the pregnant.”
The Trial Chamber also admitted into evidence the lyrics of one of the “extermination songs” chanted by the Hutu militias. The song urged attackers not to spare the elderly and even the babies because Paul Kagame (the then leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front) had left Rwanda as a child.
Kayishema was found guilty of four counts of genocide. Ruzindana was found guilty of one count of genocide. These convictions were upheld on appeal.
Video of Srebrenica survivors’ settlement
- Exhibit number: P386
- Record number: 83677
- Date admitted: 26 July 2000
- Case: Krstić (IT-98-33)
“The lifestyle? I will not call it a lifestyle because there is no life in this settlement. So they are living in, you saw, the small, small rooms. They don't have any individuality, so they don't have any normal conditions for the -- especially for the children to grow up in such a settlement.”
At the time of her testimony in July 2000 before the ICTY, Witness Jasna Zečević was the Director of Vive Žene, a non-profit organization established to provide psycho-social support for women and children victims of war. During her testimony, Zečević discussed the issues that women and children faced after experiencing the trauma of war, and the struggle of resuming basic life activities while living in refugee settlements.
This video, created in June 2000 in the course of the Prosecution’s investigation, shows the Špionica settlement in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which at the time housed roughly 500 people in 20 housing units. As Zečević notes in the video, each family of four or five individuals was allotted one room in the house, while bathrooms and kitchen facilities were shared.
The case concerned events that took place in Srebrenica between July and November 1995. Radislav Krstić, a Commander of the Drina Corps of the Bosnian Serb Army, was convicted in relation to the removal of Bosnian Muslim women, children and elderly from the Srebrenica enclave, and the systematic killing of over 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys following the take-over of Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces.
In reviewing the case, the ICTY Appeals Chamber determined that Krstić knew that the killings were occurring and that he permitted the Main Staff of the Bosnian Serb Army to use personnel and resources under his command to facilitate them. He was found guilty of aiding and abetting genocide, aiding and abetting murder as a violation of the laws or customs of war, aiding and abetting extermination and persecution as crimes against humanity, persecution and murder as a violation of the laws or customs of war.
Judge Theodor Meron, President of the Mechanism:
“As children and other civilians continue to be the target of systematic violence in conflicts around the world, we are reminded of the importance of ensuring respect for international humanitarian law, which offers protections to those, including children, who take no part in a conflict. International criminal courts and tribunals have played a vital role in affirming the scope and reach of international humanitarian law and in making clear that violations of that law should not go unaddressed.”