‘For me, the idea is to go after the demand end, to stop focusing on the victims,’ says Kathryn Bolkovac. ‘We have to focus on prosecution of the perpetrators.’
“The thing that stood out about these cases in Bosnia, and cases that have been reported in other [UN] mission areas, is … that police and humanitarian workers were frequently involved in not only the facilitation of forced sexual abuse, and the use of children and young women in brothels, but in many instances became involved in the trade by racketeering, bribery and outright falsifying of documents as part of a broader criminal syndicate.”
Over the Labor day weekend, I watched an incredible movie called “The Whistleblower” (pictured left). Based on a true story, this movie follows heroine, Kathryn Bolkovac, a courageous woman who signs up to be a UN International Police Force Monitor in Bosnia just after the war ended. After much success, she is quickly promoted as the Head of Gender Affairs. During this time she uncovers an organized sex trafficking crime ring involving UN officials, local police, and other criminals. She reported the criminal activity, but the UN and private contracting company, DynCorp, shut down her investigation and anti-trafficking initiatives in Bosnia. The scandal could have potentially caused the parties to lose billions of dollars, which it — I’ll leave the rest for you to watch. As of now, it is on Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix, so I highly recommend that you take a look. SN: This movie is gruesome, disturbing and emotional at times, but according to Bolkovac, it does not even begin to detail the unimaginable horrors that actually took place.
More information here: “What the UN Doesn’t Want you to Know”
During my time in The Hague, I had the opportunity to visit theThe International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which is a United Nations criminal tribunal solely dedicated to prosecuting crimes against humanity, including genocide and other war crimes that took place in this region. I had the chance to watch a documentary about the armed conflict, and I also saw the court where war criminals were prosecuted.
Essentially, the Bosnian war was fought because Serbs and Croats living in Bosnia wanted to annex Bosnian territory for Serbia and Croatia. There were several mitigating factors in addition to ethnic tensions. The Nationalist leader of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic, was pushing for what he called a “Greater Serbia.” Whereas, the Bosnian Croats and Muslims, fearing that Milosevic would try to take their land if they were still under Yugoslavian control, called for Bosnian independence. This war lasted from 1992-1995. Many of my classmates had never heard of this conflict. I had only heard of it through Angelina Jolie’s movie “In the Land of Blood and Honey.” “The Whistleblower” explores a different side of the armed conflict, human trafficking, which is still a prevalent issue to this day. I hope this post helps to bring awareness to the atrocities that still exist in this region.
More information on the court here: “http://www.icty.org/en/”
Pictures of some of the prisoners in concentration camps and refugees emigrating from this war-torn land.