DID YOU KNOW?  -- Three years before the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide, Serbs torched Bosniak villages and killed at least 3,166 Bosniaks around Srebrenica. In 1993, the UN described the besieged situation in Srebrenica as a "slow-motion process of genocide." In July 1995, Serbs forcibly expelled 25,000 Bosniaks, brutally raped many women and girls, and systematically killed 8,000+ men and boys (DNA confirmed).

10 July, 2010


We speak of genocide, killings, and ethnic cleansing... but we rarely speak about things that people tend to be uncomfortable with, like mass rapes committed by Serb soldiers in and around Srebrenica between 1992 and 1995. On the occasion of 15th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide, we break that silence.

The story of 15 year old Edina Karic and
12 year old Almira Bektovic

[At the end of this article, you will find instructions how to help]

During the Bosnian war, Serb forces conducted sexual abuse strategy on Bosnian Muslim girls and women which will later be known as mass rape phenomenon. The NGO "Woman - Victim of War" (Žena - Žrtva Rata) has documented more than 25,000 systematic rapes of women and girls in Bosnia-Herzegovina, many of them occurred in the Srebrenica region before and during the Srebrenica genocide. Mass rapes were mostly done in Eastern Bosnia. Women and girls were kept in various detention centres where they had to live in intolerably unhygienic conditions and were mistreated in many ways including being repeatedly raped. Serb soldiers or policemen would come to these detention centres, select one or more women, take them out and rape them. All this was done in full view, in complete knowledge and sometimes with the direct involvement of the Serb local authorities, particularly the police forces.

"I was screaming too much"

Edina Karic was one of many underage girls from Srebrenica municipality who were confined in the Sase camp and repeatedly raped by Serb soldiers. She was only 15 at the time. She testified as a defence witness for Naser Oric, former defender of Srebrenica. Upon being imprisoned in the Sase rape camp (Srebrenica municipality), Edina Karic was repeatedly raped. She testified, in Naser Oric trial, that members of the paramilitary Serb group, led by Novak Stjepanovic "Krke", regularly visited the camp and took women and little girls for gang-rape.

"We were taken into that house and we were raped and abused and beaten throughout the night, and I myself had a gun pointed at my head all the time.... I was screaming too much."

Her testimony of rape was so distressing that the judges went into private session against her wishes. According to Oric's legal counsel, Vasvija Vidovic, Serb soldiers repeatedly raped Bosnian Muslim women around Srebrenica:

"She [Edina Karic] identified many local Serbs from Bjelovac, Sase and Pobrdje who ran the camp of Gradina where they killed and tortured people as well as raped little girls," according to Mrs. Vidovic.

The situation in other parts of predominantly Bosniak region of the River Drina valley was no different. For example, there were numerous rape camps in Foca. Serb soldiers removed many Muslim girls from various detention centres and kept some of them for various periods of time for him or his soldiers to rape.

"Don't take me, I'm only twelve!"

Among the most appalling and deplorable accounts of inhuman treatment and cruelty brought upon young Muslim females of Bosnia is that of the 12-year-old Almira Bektovic, a helpless war victim for whom virtually no compassion was shown whatsoever. Born in the town of Mostar in the year 1980, she lived in Miljevina in the municipality of Foca, the birth village of her father, Ramiz Bektovic, at the time of the Serb attack on these areas in the summer of 1992. Her father was taken away by the Serbs in june 1992 and was never seen again. Almira and her mother were instead detained in the Partizan Sports Hall with hundreds of other Bosniak women and girls under inhuman conditions and with lack of food or water.

In mid-August 1992, Almira Bektovic among other girls was brought to 'Karaman's house' by Radovan Stankovic, this lasted for ten days until she was returned to her mother whom she told that "she had worked as a waitress, washed clothes, cleaned and cooked, and that there were many other girls there who did chores and things for the Serb soldiers".

Afterwards in mid-september 1992 deportation busses were prepared for elderly Bosnian Muslim women and young children that were to take them to Bosnian-government-controlled areas for exchange; in a bus were Almira and her mother and two sisters, however suddenly the bus was stopped at the Drina bridge, and entered did men sent by Radovan Stankovic, who called out the name of the girl and snatched Almira Bektovic from her mother's arms, who then screamed repeatedly "Give me back my child!" before losing consciousness, Almira was heard screaming and crying "Don't take me, I'm only twelve!".

One of the surviving witnesses from Karaman's house reported that Almira was brought to the house holding her doll tightly to her chest, apparently not knowing what was awaiting her. Soon thereafter Nedjo Samardzic raped Almira Bektovic and reportedly bragged about "having taken her virginity" and "having fooled soldier Pero Elez (who was always looking for virgins) in who was to be the first to take her virginity". Almira was found crying and vomiting after the assault (as part of rape trauma syndrome), by one the surviving girls from the house.

Over the next three months Almira Bektovic was forced into much the same pattern as all the other women and girls detained in the house; she had to do household chores, cook for the soldiers and sexually please these, at the age of merely 12.

Almira's status however was even more vulnerable than that of the other girls who (in contrast to Almira) were 'assigned' to specific soldiers who got to rape them only, Almira thus not being assigned to any specific soldier was free to be raped by any soldier that was granted entrance to Karaman's house. Radomir Kovac (Court of BiH) detained, between or about 31 October 1992 until December 1992 Almira Bektovic (and other girls). During their detention they were also beaten, threatened, psychologically oppressed, and kept in constant fear. During this period Almira was moved between various locations and apartments in Foca in order to 'serve' Serb soldiers and friends of Radomir Kovac. On about 25 December 1992, Radomir Kovac sold Almira Bektovic to a Montenegrin soldier (who were known among the detained women as "more aggressive") for 200 DM (100 Euro), and from there on the tracks of her are lost (probably murdered shortly thereafter).

To help Edina Karic and her two beautiful children [SEE PICTURES], please donate via Sadake.com (if you need translation into English or further instruction, feel free to ask questions in the comment form).