Muslim tells of soldiers raping her at age 15

Muslim tells of soldiers raping her at age 15:

Bosnian war tribunal focuses on sex crimes


Source: New York Times

Published Sunday, February 18, 2001

THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Witness No. 50 was 15 when the soldiers 

picked her

out at the detention center.

Her mother and her grandmother watched her leave, still nurturing their

dream that one day their girl would wear her veil, just as they had 


for a Muslim wedding in the village, with everyone dancing to Bosnian 


under the trees.

When she was brought back, shaking and crying, she kept her eyes down.

She would not say a word or look her mother in the face. Night after 


it kept happening, soldiers taking her away and raping her, sometimes 


or five at a time.

Witness No. 50, as she is known to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The

Hague, is now a troubled refugee, old at 23, one of the many whose 


were changed forever by the Bosnian war of 1992-95.

For eight years, she did not speak of the hellish months in 1992 when 


and other imprisoned women were trapped in "quasi brothels" in the town 


Foca in southeastern Bosnia, passed around from soldier to soldier. She

became pregnant. Her mother was raped. And finally, last year, she 


out her story in the tribunal's courtroom.

"I was ashamed before," she told the judge, Florence Mumba of Zambia. 


words could not come out of my mouth."

Her account, delivered between sobs and bursts of anger, has been 

common at

the Foca trial, the first to focus entirely on wartime crimes of sexual

violence. Three former Bosnian Serb fighters are charged with mass rape 


forced prostitution involving dozens of women and girls.

This is also the first trial in which an international court is 


sexual slavery. "After World War II, tribunals dealt with slavery only 


the form of slave labor," said Patricia Sellers, a legal adviser for 


crimes to the prosecutor. "But forced prostitution was never tried."

Legal scholars and human rights groups say they are now looking to the

judges' verdict, planned for Thursday, as a ruling that may set an 


precedent. Prosecutors are asking for prison sentences of 15 to 35 


The three former soldiers agree they participated in the attack on Foca 



But the six lawyers for the defense have rejected the charges. They

presented alibis for Dragoljub Kunarac. A doctor testified Zoran 

Vukovic had

become impotent during the relevant time.

While not denying rape took place, they argued prosecutors had not 


rape because some women liked the soldiers.

"They did not prove that the alleged victims of rape were exposed to 


severe physical or psychological suffering," said the chief defense 


Slavisa Prodanovic. "The rape in itself is not an act that inflicts 


bodily pain."


Back To Islam Awareness Homepage

Latest News about Islam and Muslims

Contact for further information