Global Tribunal


1993 UN World Conference on Human Rights
Vienna, Austria
Zagreb, Đorđićeva 2
Vienna, .June 16 1993
I am Slavica Kušič from the Center for Women War Victims in Zagreb, Croatia. I have been active in work concerning violence against women for five years since the foundation of SOS telephone for women victims of violence. I have also been involved in a shelter for battered women, as well as helping found the Center for Women War Victims.
The Center for Women War Victims is an independent, feminist, alternative NGO which provides refugee women with psychological, social, legal and humanitarian aid on the principle of self - help. I am going to present to this Tribunal some of the experiences I have had in the last eight months of my work at the Center.
The woman's name could be Meliha, Sadeta, Ana or Kristina... their destinies are the same. Exile. They are fleeing with their children and bundles to the unknown. I met them in the refugee camp in Karlovac. That is a former military barracks turned into a temporary home for women and children. On the walls of their rooms they write their memories, they draw their houses. They note the names of the people who mistreated them.
Last week I visited them, but many I could not find. They had left for some other country where they will wait to return to their homes. Workers paint the walls white again. They scrape away the traces of memories. Everything is slowly forgotten. The consciousness of the world is being whitewashed. The world wants its conscience to be clear. I write down many of these destinies in order to preserve them. I shall wait until the conscience of the world awakens and the criminals are brought to justice. I have recorded their names. The things that I am reading out here are just a small part of the horror that women and children are going through in a war that continues.
Her name is Minka. She is fourteen. Not a woman, not a girl. The horror that she has experienced has made her face a stone mask. She watched out of the bushes, where she was hiding with her mother and brother, the murder of her father. They killed him and then cut him into pieces with an axe. When there was calm again in the village they emerged from the bushes to bury their father, and then continued on foot into the unknown. Now they are waiting for some country to grant them a home in exile, even if only temporary. Minka wants to go back to her village to be present at a trial for war-criminals. She saw them and knows their names. She went to school with their children. One of them was her teacher.
On the next bed in the barracks was Hirzeta. She has not been able to sleep since she came to the refugee camp. To fall asleep for her would mean to go back to the place where she left her four-month-old baby. She was fleeing from her village where her home was burning. She was carrying her four-month-old twins in her arms, travelling by night and sleeping in the shelters left over from the second world war. When her energy was finally exhausted, she was faced with the decision either to die and thus leave both her sons alone, or to choose one and save him with all her remaining energy. She left the younger one, who had been born five minutes later, with a pacifier in his mouth and a note with his name on it. She said that she left him and that Allah would help him. At that point her memories stop, Hirzeta says.
Hidajeta is a young mother I have been helping for several months to conceal her identity in the refugee camp. Her sin was that she believed that by testifying against the atrocities in the detention camp where she was held, she would help the world to realise how deep the crimes are, to stop them happening, and to punish the criminals. However, journalists took her story and sent it around the world, and left her behind on her own. She is hiding from the rage of other women who were together with her in the camp and had also been raped. The world had seen their stories, and the women now realised there would be no help from the world, and their "shame" was great - at least this is how their environment sees it. The women do not want to admit they were raped, nor to give birth to their unwanted children. I met Fikreta two weeks ago, immediately after her arrival in the camp at Karlovac. She fled from her home last October. On her way she passed through several detention camps. For her to be released from the last one, DM 3.000, had to be paid. She says this last camp was established only recently, and every day more women were coming into it.
These four cases are enough to show that extreme violence of all kinds has been committed against women: their physical and psychic integrity has been violated, and all their human, political and women's rights have been violated also. Their past has been destroyed, and their future is uncertain.
The Center for Women War Victims demands the following:
First, stop the war, close all detention camps, and enable refugees and displaced people to return to their homes.
Second, war criminals should be prosecuted. Both those that started the war r and those that carried out the atrocities should be declared war criminals.
Further, the perpetrators should be tried in the place where they committed the crimes. This is the only way that survivors can live together again with those of their neighbours who are innocent of war crimes.
Third, rape in war should be treated as a war crime, and the perpetrators should be judged by women judges.
Fourth, the right of asylum should be granted to all women who have suffered violence because of their gender.



Foreword to the Second Edition

  Women Reconstructing Memories by Vesna Kesić

In Place Of An Introduction

  The Days of December 1992 - The Beginning Biljana Kašić

Goga M.'s Story

  Interview conducted by Dinka Koričić and Vesna Kesić in July 1993

Reaching High

  Dinka Koričić

Rachel’s Bed

Eve Ensler


  To woman's and peace organizations all over the world

Rape as a weapon


Global Tribunal


Laughter, tears and politics

  Dialogue - How Women Do It