Bosnian Victims of Sexual Violence Still need Help: Erna Mackic

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By Shahid Qureshi

The London Post conducted an exclusive interview with Erna Mackic.

(London Post) – What is your impression about the ESVC held in London on 10 – 13 June 2014?

Erna Mackic -It is very important Summit, especially when we speak about rights of sexual violence victims. Victims of sexual violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 15 years after the war, have not the rights like health insurance and repatriation.

Summit is the way how we can push governments to adapt law and help victims. Also, Summit is the way how traditional society like Bosnian can help that victims tell their story because stigma about sexual violence is present.

Summit is important especially that world must have to say, stop the sexual violence.

(London Post) – Were you able to put your message across the audience at the summit?

Erna Mackic – I think that we send the message that women and man in Bosnia must tell story about sexual violence because life with under lying trauma is not normal. Also, we spoke about experience of victims from Bosnia, how they live today. Practice of Bosnia, can be good example for other country like Syria.

We have also, some bad example like non-prosecution of perpetrators of sexual violence. But about 200 cases is finished and some victims have achieved justice.

(London Post) – What was the best part of the summit?

Erna Mackic – In the Summit existed many best parts, but one is about how man and boys from Bosnia must speak about sexual violence and the other is protocol how to document and investigate cases of sexual violence. For us, best part was how many people wanted to learn about Bosnia and Herzegovina and Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN).

How was your interaction with the media attending the summit, did you get coverage and representation in the events?

Interaction is very well. BIRN had two events, about objective and professional reporting from war crime trials and about sexual violence, and we showed part of movie about sexual violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Journalist had many relevant questions and I am surprised how journalist from other country know about war crimes victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

After the events, many people came to us asking questions and proposing ways to work together to help to victims of sexual violence.

(London Post) – As a result of this summit do you think things will improve as a result of the protocols presented at the summit?

Erna Mackic – Protocol is good results but is one step how we can remove stigma from sexual violence. Also, protocol can be useful for prosecutor office in the world and for non-governments institution. For Bosnia, protocol is important because it uses all the best practice of the Hague Tribunal and its work with sexual violence victims from Bosnia.

Maybe, protocol can help our prosecutor office how can speak with victims of sexual violence, in which way because that persons is very traumatized.

(London Post) – What kind of support you need for your bureau to record and report incidents happened B&H in past?

Erna Mackic – BIRN is not profit organization, so for funding we rely on donor grants. Many journalists in Bosnia do not report about war crime trials, so it is important that BIRN reports about all cases so victims can hear and see justice.

Also, we need cooperation with international organization with media, so we can work together and help victims everywhere.

(Erna Mackic attended Global Summit in London ‘End Sexual Violence in Conflict’. She is Editor of Balkan Investigative Reporting Network – BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina).

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