When Russia cut the flow of gas for a few days in 2009 due to a dispute with Ukraine, tens of thousands of households in Bosnia and Herzegovina were left without heating during that cold winter. Thirteen years later, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the price of gas has gone up and people using gas for heating are worried if there will even be enough of it. While European Union countries have stored enough gas for the upcoming winter, Bosnia and Herzegovina is still exclusively dependent on gas deliveries from Russia. In this programme, we’ll be analysing what the authorities have failed to do, but also what can still be done in order for Bosnia to end the Russian monopoly over its gas imports.
In early January this year in the settlement of Janja, near Bijeljina, post-war returnees were disturbed by gunfire near the mosque. This was just one of more than 100 incidents and statements we have registered during our year-long mapping of the spreading of hatred during election year. From October last year to this year’s elections, BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina has closely monitored every incident and statement that could be associated with the spreading of hatred, but also denials of war crimes. In this edition of the programme, we’ll be talking to people from Bijeljina, Konjic and Sarajevo about how hatred affects them and what they are doing to confront it.
Western European and NATO countries are expressing growing concern about Russian influence in Bosnia and Herzegovina as the country enters a pre-election period. A meeting that’s been announced between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Bosnian Serb political leader Milorad Dodik is being perceived in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a direct support for the leader of the ruling party in Republika Srpska to win the elections. Over the past decade Putin’s regime has also developed a number of methods to influence the elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this episode we’ll analyse how the Russian authorities have influenced elections throughout Europe and if there is a real concern that a similar thing could also happen in our country – particularly now, after the invasion of Ukraine, when the Balkans have been identified as one of the key locations in danger from Russian influence.
On July 10, 1992 in Biljani, which is several kilometres from Kljuc, Bosnian Serb Army soldiers and police took men from their houses and killed more than 200 local residents in one day. The bodies of those who had been killed were found and exhumed from two mass graves right after the war. But locals are still resentful because the judiciary, the Bosnian prosecution in particular, hasn’t prosecuted those responsible even though 30 years have passed since this major crime. Families of victims told BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina what happened that day in July 1992, talking about how men were taken away to the local school and their memories of their last encounters with them.
At the end of July, exactly one year will have passed since former High Representative Valentin Inzko imposed amendments to the law, banning the denial of genocide and war crimes and the glorification of war criminals. The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Bosnia and Herzegovina has analysed whether and to what extent denial of genocide and war crimes has decreased, why no indictments have been filed despite dozens of criminal complaints, and how difficult it is to prove the glorification of war criminals or genocide denial. We spoke to victims of genocide and other war crimes to see how the glorification of those responsible for persecution, murders and genocide affects their lives.
A year after the release of ‘Quo Vadis, Aida?’, director Jasmila Zbanic is still trying to get her film about the Srebrenica genocide shown in Serbia and Republika Srpska, despite the efforts of nationalists to stop it.
While Ukrainian and international prosecutors suspect Russian soldiers of possible war crimes, the Russian foreign ministry and embassy in Sarajevo have made great efforts since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine to impose their version of events on the Bosnian public. But in their statements they have offered a series of allegations which independent investigative media and experts say are false. Russia has threatened to respond, just as it did in Ukraine, if Bosnia and Herzegovina tries to get closer to NATO. In this programme, experts analyse the Russian messages and their potential consequences for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
As the 30-year anniversary of the siege of Sarajevo is commemorated, journalists who covered the outbreak of the war in April 1992 tell BIRN Bosnia’s ‘TV Justice’ programme how hate speech and militaristic propaganda fueled the conflict.
In early November 2021, two workers from Cengiz were killed and one was injured when a crane into the River Bosna at a construction site for a highway that is to run through Bosnia and Herzegovina. Their deaths raised the question of how both Turkish and domestic workers are treated, as well as the workplace safety standards of the Turkish construction company.
Our analysis shows that despite dissatisfaction among the public and workers and verdicts highlighting poor workplace safety, Cengiz has hardly suffered any consequences and continues to be awarded valuable contracts. Cengiz rejects the allegations against it.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, more than 50 war crime trials are currently ongoing. A few hundred more are expected to be held in the future. These cases are in the political spotlight, and none of them would happen without the people whose task it is to tell the story from the angle of the defendants or the victims, but also to deliver a fair decision. In our latest programme, you’ll find out about the wartime experiences of lawyers, judges and prosecutors which have affected their work on war crime cases.