On the 26th anniversary of the massacre of Bosniaks in the village of Ahmici, SENSE – Transitional justice center published online its latest interactive narrative tracing the investigation, reconstruction and prosecution of the crime committed by the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) forces in the Lasva Valley on April 16, 1993.
The narrative was first presented in Ahmići and later the same day in Sarajevo. It is available at http://www.ahmici.sensecentar.org/
Relying on the facts established during the trials before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), witnesses' testimonies, documents etc., the narrative called ''48 hours of ashes and blood“, after the code-name for the attack, explains the context of the crime, its progress, discovery, trials and the admission of guilt by some perpetrators.
The segment of the narrative showing the testimonies of the survivors from Ahmići describing how their family members were killed before their own eyes has been immensely moving.
Both the school in Ahmici and the History Museum of Bosnia and Hercegovina were crowded by the people interested to hear about the narrative presented by the SENSE director Mirko Klarin and coordinator Mina Vidaković.
A survivor of the massacre Adnan Zec, former Britbat commander Bob Stewart and the Tribunal prosecutor Mark Harmon also addressed the audience in Ahmici and Sarajevo.
„I am honoured to be able to say something for this narrative because it speaks of the crime in an objective way“, said Adnan Zec, who testified before the Tribunal as a boy 20 years ago how his parents and one of the sisters were killed in front of him. „That was the moment when my youth and teenage joy were destroyed. I was wounded and was hiding in the village for seven days watching the dead around me... I am thankful the Britbat saved my other sister“. He also thanked SENSE Center and Mirko Klarin for deciding to make this narrative: „It will be part of the history of Ahmici and Bosnia-Herzegovina because it will enable the future generations to see what happened“.
Bob Stewart, who is currently serving as an MP in the British parliament, told the audience that he had been an experienced soldier when he arrived in Bosnia where other killings had already happened, but he said Ahmici were different. „We couldn't believe what we saw there. Most of my solders cried. It is utterly disgusting to kill civilians. And this was a well planned killing operation.“ Stewart said that the agony with which the people died cannot even be shown and noted that most of the perpetrators have not been punished.
Mark Harmon, who thoroughly investigated the Ahmici crime, said that such cases are legally demanding but also emotionally difficult. „We tried to humanize the case. Numbers are not persons. I wanted to develop for the judges and the public the human tragedy that happened. 'Those who deny the crimes are dangerous and ignorant“, he added.
''The trend of denying war crimes is growing and we have to confront it – that is why we make these narratives'', said Klarin in conclusion.
AHMIĆI NARRATIVE - press clipping