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March 6, 2021

Women, War & Peace – I Came Here to Testify

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Women, War & Peace is a five-part PBS television series which challenges the conventional wisdom that war and peace are men’s domain.

The series reveals how the post-Cold War proliferation of small arms has changed the landscape of war, with women becoming primary targets and suffering unprecedented casualties. Yet they are simultaneously emerging as necessary partners in brokering lasting peace and as leaders in forging new international laws governing conflict. With depth and complexity, Women, War & Peace spotlights the stories of women in conflict zones from Bosnia to Afghanistan and Colombia to Liberia, placing women at the centre of an urgent dialogue about conflict and security, and reframing our understanding of modern warfare.

The second local screening of a film from the series will be hosted at the Star Court Theatre next Monday December 9.

This screening is a free community event and everyone is welcome to attend.

This important film is entitled I Came Here to Testify.

In 1992, when war broke out in the former Yugoslavia, Serbian and Bosnian Serb armed forces and paramilitaries launched a campaign of terror against the Bosnian Muslim population.

Some of the worst ethnic cleansing and atrocities committed during the bitter war took place in the Foca river valley. There, thousands of Muslim civilians were terrorised, relegated to concentration camps and executed.

Before the war, Foca was an ethnically mixed community of forty thousand – half Muslim, half Christian. By the war’s end fewer than 100 Muslims remained.

Returning to Bosnia 16 years after the end of the conflict, I Came to Testify illuminates the momentous courage of Bosnia’s female war survivors in testifying to the world about their torture. I Came Here to Testify also explores the staggering gap between the legal triumphs the witnesses made possible at The Hague and the ongoing trauma of the vast majority of female war survivors who have not been able to confront perpetrators in a court of law.

One witness explains that her Serbian attackers ‘thought that none of us would survive to tell the truth’.

Narrated by Matt Damon, this remarkable documentary looks at how survivors of war crimes manage their trauma and fear of retaliation in order to tell their stories in the pursuit of justice.

The screening of I Came Here to Testify will be followed by an expert International Law Panel discussion with former Crown Prosecutor Julia Baly SC, A former officer at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and former Prosecution Officer at the ICTY, Ms Kirsten Keith.

The panel will be chaired by SCU School of Law and Justice Associate Professor Sam Garkawe. Other international law experts will be on the panel. This will be an opportunity to recognise the media’s blind spot in reporting on women in conflict and on women’s growing and formidable role in fostering resolution and restoring security when the guns stop.

The screening of I Came Here to Testify (Bosnia), part of the PBS Women, War & Peace series, is a free community event and will be at the Star Court Theatre on Monday December 9.

For more information on the series, visit: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/women-war-and-peace/


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