Documentation of Detentions – an Important Step in Conflict Prevention

The results of the project “Mapping of Detention Camps and Other Places of Detention in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1995” was recently presented by Civil Rights Defenders’ partners, The Association for Transitional Justice, Responsibility and Remembrance (TJAR) and the Center for Democracy and Transitional Justice (CRDT). It shows that nearly 30.000 people were held in captivity, while 5000 were killed in detention during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1995.

Photo: Civil Rights DefendersThe aim of the project is to document all detention places where war prisoners and civilians were held and to make a list of names of detainees who were killed or died during forced labour, or subjected to torture and inhumane treatment. This is important in order to prevent future conflicts based on the manipulation of information on the number of victims of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1995.

“Its not unusual that victims of wars in the former Yugoslavia are used as a tool of manipulation. The very essence of this project is to establish all the facts about detention camps and stop this spiral of manipulation. Once we have all the facts, the victims and their families will be at peace and we can hope to avoid new conflicts in the region”, said Ena Bavcic, Programme Officer for Bosnia and Herzegovina at Civil Rights Defenders.

As many as 1350 camps and detention places have been identified by Bosniak, Serbian and Croat national associations of camp detainees. This includes military facilities, but also civilian and social institutions, such as schools, cultural centres and even private houses. A majority of the camps (656) detained Bosniak citizens, Serbs were held at 523 locations and Croats at 173. 150 of those have been mapped and confirmed, while the rest still needs to be investigated. In Lapsu, Prozor municipality, a whole village was used as a camp.

To collect necessary information, TJAR and CRDT have consulted 136 court judgments and transcripts, documentary evidence and witness statements from from Bosniak, Croatian and Serbian sources, judgments by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia and by the courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia and Germany.

Full map of detention camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina is available at http://www.tranzicijska-pravda.org/projekti.php

Categories: News.
Tags: Responsibility and Remembrance, The Association for Transitional Justice, and The Center for Democracy and Transitional Justice.
Regions: Western Balkans.