TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE- FEMINIST APPROACH
Women in Black experience
“How are we to built a new house, not having previously cleared the basement of the ruins of the old one?”
(Berthold, Brecht, German writer)
Why is it necessary to confront the past?
Feminist ethics mean that I always have to be conscious of where I come from, from which emotional, moral, and political point I address others—from an aggressor state, in the aftermath of a criminal regime. It is quite accidental that I am a member of one ethnic group, but the previous regime intentionally, deliberately, and systematically organized and committed crimes in my name. The decision to ceaselessly, clearly, and publicly oppose that is part of my feminist ethics. My decision is to know, to repeat, and to seek accountability for the innumerable crimes committed in my and our name. I will enumerate only some of them here.
- Serb armed formations’ siege of Sarajevo that lasted 1,425 days;
- The genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995, when more than 8,000 Bosniaks were killed.
- ‘Operation Horseshoe’ in Kosovo in 1999 - Serb armed formations burned 127,000 houses belonging to people with Albanian names and killed more than 12,000 people. Nearly 2,000 people with Albanian names were convicted after the Kumanovo Agreement (in June 1999) and held in jails throughout Serbia. All of their proceedings were politically rigged.
- The Sarajevo Research Center has gathered the names of 25,000 people who participated or collaborated in crimes in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
- In Bosnia-Herzegovina, nearly 300 mass graves have been found.
Will we be able to build a future with such a deranged values system today in Serbia? A system in which criminals are glorified and those who seek accountabilities for crimes committed in our name are demonized and criminalized? Of course not!
Can the criminal past be sent in a package to The Hague? Can we do something else? Only use the international community, international courts? Of course not! The Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences (SANU), The Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC), and many other institutions that created the cultural and ideological conditions which produced, justified, and excused war and war crimes remain in Serbia.
Can the criminal past be closed in an archive so we can open a door to a bright future? Of course not! The criminal past is a vortex. It cannot be passed by. It always returns to us in different forms. ‘From Danube Refrigerator Trucks to The Hague Tribunal,’ in the words of Nenad Dimitrijević. Danube refrigerator trucks transported the corpses of Kosovar Albanians across Serbia.
Is addressing the criminal past only pragmatic, necessary because for integration with the international community and getting foreign credit? Of course not! Confronting the criminal past is predominantly a moral category, necessary for us alone. Creating a new values system is independent from transition and from international integration. Involvement with the criminal past is a precondition for creating moral integrity and dignity. It is an obligation to victims of the crimes committed in our name. It is relationships among ourselves in Serbia.
Without serious confronting with the criminal past there is not justice. There is no future without democracy! Consequently, transitional justice is an imperative of our feminist ethics.
What is transitional Justice?
The transitional justice concept has emerged in the past few decades, and it is constantly being amended, reshaped and enriched with new contents and models, in accordance with the need to address the complex issues of the negative heritage of the past. In brief, transitional justice is a way in which an authoritarian/dictatorial/totalitarian/undemocratic society makes a transition into democratic order.
“Transitional Justice is an aggregate of responses, institutions, strategies and ways in which an authoritarian society moves towards democracy, therefore, a body of institutions and moral, legal, political and social processes, measures and decisions that are adopted and implemented in the course of the process of democratic transition, i.e. transition from criminal/dictatorial regimes towards democracy” (Nenad Dimitrijevic, theoretician of law and philosopher).
Transitional justice processes
In countries where a radical departure from an oppressive regime towards a democratic order has taken place, the issue of transitional justice is the first test in the process of establishing democracy and the rule of law. For this reason, comprehensive processes encompassing both criminal and non-criminal sanctions, have been conducted in numerous countries.
These processes bear different names depending on the country and region:
Denazification – in post-Hitler Germany, the citizens underwent a process of inquiry into their behavior during Nazism, carried out by the Allied Powers that occupied Germany in 1945.
Defascization – in Italy is reflected in the legal ban of the Fascist Party. However, parties of fascist provenience still exist in Italy, disguised by different names.
In Spain, following the death of Franco (1975), a general amnesty was proclaimed for all the politically inspired crimes until then.
Decommunisation – transitional justice processes of freeing the East European countries (Poland, The Tzeck Republic, Hungary, East Germany) of the former oppressive communist regimes, whereas in the former USSR there has been no such process.
Dejuntafication –This process is linked to the countries where military regimes or military juntas used to be in power, those being Greece and a number of Latin American countries. As for Latin America, the most frequently applied model of transitional justice were the truth and reconciliation commissions.
What are the aims of transitional justice?
• Confrontation with the criminal past
• Cleansing the remnants of the proponents of the criminal regimes (nowhere have they been completely removed, but this is of vital importance for the process of confrontation with the past);
• Exposing the ideological justification of crimes – dismantling of the political, social and cultural mechanisms conducive to war (according to Nenad Dimitrijević, it is on the dismantling of the mechanisms that were conducive to crime that the possibility of a repeated conflict greatly depends);
• Creating conditions for the citizens to reject the values, cultural patterns and models that produced war and war crimes;
• Enforcing and maintaining lawfulness – punishment of crimes; preventing and deterring from future malpractice; respecting the dignity of all those who were victimized in the past (Ariel Najer).
• Establishing the rule of law and democracy, etc.
Transitional Justice – Civil Society Initiatives
‘When it comes to crimes, sovereignty has no meaning whatsoever. No state can allow itself to protect war criminals in the name of sovereignty’
(Biljana Kovacevic-Vuco, The Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights, Belgrade).
What is the Role and Responsibility of Civil Society?
Women in Black is an integral part of Serbian civil society, but, as part of an international network, it is also a part of global civil society. Women in Black initiates and participates in numerous initiatives against war, nationalism, and militarism.
Civil society is autonomous citizens’ organizing directed at initiating civil initiatives and putting pressure on the state and other institutions for change and improvement. It plays an important role in the process of overcoming the negative legacy of the past.
Therefore, civil society has the right and the responsibility to:
• Work actively towards creating a just and lasting peace – especially if, in the period of transition, a political culture and social climate of impunity for past crimes continues to be one of the biggest obstacles to achieving a just and lasting peace;
• Constantly put pressure on state institutions to uncover crimes and punish the organizers, initiators, and perpetrators of war crimes;
• Monitor, evaluate, and assess the steps the government has taken to implement transitional justice;
• Strive against impunity and lack of punishment for past crimes. The denial of crimes allows the political, cultural, spiritual, and emotional climate that generated war and justified war crimes to continue.
• Build a culture of ‘accountability’ and ‘a culture of rights’ (in the words of David A. Crocker), as opposed to ‘a culture of impunity.’ In a ‘culture of rights,’ citizens are responsible for respecting of human rights and protesting against human rights violations;
• Strengthen democracy, which depends on a strong and organized civil society to influence the values system and rectify, criticize, and put pressure on institutions. If civil society is the extended arm of the state, if it not autonomous from every authority, democracy cannot flourish.
III Transitional Justice – A Feminist Approach
The Experiences of Women in Black
“We will not be fooled by our own’
‘I am accountable not only for my own actions, but for what is done in my name.”
Women in Black—Belgrade came into being in October 1991, as a reaction to the warmongering and aggressive policy of the Serbian regime. Confronting the past and transitional justice are among the most important segments of the peace policy of this network and group. We have transformed our feelings of bitterness, shame, and guilt into acts of uncompromising resistance and civil disobedience. During the war, our activism meant confrontation while ‘history was unfolding,’ while criminal policies were occurring. Until October 2000, we protested against state-organized crime. We believed—and still do—that the Serbian regime, the Serbian armed forces that committed numerous crimes, and the institutions that supported them are most responsible for the disintegration of Yugoslavia.
After the fall of the Milošević regime, and especially after the assassination of Prime Minister Đinđić, in March 2003, Women in Black, with the segment of civil society striving against the denial of the criminal past, reacted against various institutional denials of the criminal past.
Why Do We Insist on a Feminist Approach?
First of all, the feminist approach to transitional justice does not deny or reconsider existing models of transitional justice. Women in Black attaches particular importance to these models and methods, both theoretically and practically. Our attempt to 'gender' justice is complementary and enriches the existing models and methods of transitional justice, but it also create new way to overcome the bad, negative, criminal past. The most important features of the feminist approach are:
- The gender dimension in transitional justice theory and practice. When we started this approach, we discovered a deficiency of experience of and theoretical research on justice from a feminist point of view. We tackled this problem;
- The visibility and valuation of women’s resistance to patriarchy, war, nationalism, militarism, and above all, to the community and state they come from and work in;
- The visibility of women’s contributions to transitional justice processes –overcoming invisibility and the pushing of women to the margins as an act of feminist responsibility, but also rectifying the injustices inflicted upon a very large number of women who participated in nonviolent resistance to war and in reconciliation and peace building processes. In brief, the feminist approach involves continually recording women’s presence in resistance to war;
- Strengthening the autonomy of women through active participation in peace building. We strive to increase women’s visibility as peace promoters, not only as victims of war and violence;
- Transforming emotions into actions by turning bitterness, guilt, and helplessness towards the wars waged by the Serbian regime in our name into actions of civic responsibility;
- Creating a feminist ethic of responsibility through acts of public resistance, disobedience, and rejection of all forms of patriarchy, the root of all wars. We initiate public acts of resistance to all patriarchal authorities and structures that decide in our name and wage wars and conduct acts of violence in our name. Such acts also mean assuming responsibility for peace. They actively contribute to attaining a permanent and stable peace;
- Encouraging and developing a feminist ethic of care by transforming the patriarchal duty to care for ‘one’s own’ into an emotional, moral, and political choice. Care for others, most importantly the victims of crimes committed in our name, is an active policy of solidarity, trust, and peace. The feminist ethic of care aspires to achieve equal standards of law and justice and respects the role of relationships and emotions in the process of serving justice. This process violates all imposed and assigned identities and national consensuses. It creates new forms of ‘belonging’ and ‘kinship;’
- Strengthening women’s solidarity by creating women’s coalitions for the punishment of all crime through the application of transitional justice and the creation of new forms of transitional justice, in keeping with international experiences, but that also address the needs and requirements of the region.
Women in Black’s Models of Transitional Justice
Street Actions: protests, commemorations, performances, and campaigns during the wars and in their aftermath. It is important to emphasize that the vast majority of Women in Black’s more than one thousand street actions relates to wars and accountability for war crimes.
We have had a significant number of campaigns against war; for amnesty for conscientious objectors and all men who refused compulsory conscription; for the truth about crimes; for punishing the organizers, commanders and perpetrators of crimes; and against all forms of denying, diminishing and relativizing crimes. We launched the campaigns independently and with other groups, networks, and coalitions.
Public Announcements and Appeals
In the course of regular activities, Women in Black has issued several hundred announcements, proclamations, and appeals addressed to institutions and the public on the issues of accountability for war and war crimes, uncovering the truth about those crimes, the punishment of perpetrators, and the administration of transitional justice.
Visiting ‘Difficult Places’ – War Affected Areas and Places in Crises
These visits to so-called enemy countries or communities are acts of solidarity. These acts violate the political and social consensus, resist ethnic homogenization, and most importantly, show a policy of solidarity and trust building. These visits include visits to various parts of Croatia from 1991 to1995, trips to Sarajevo during the siege in 1994 and 1995, the peace caravan to Tuzla, regular visits to Kosovo during the Serbian regime’s low intensity war and policies of institutional apartheid against the Kosovar Albanian population from 1995 to 1999.
Visiting the Sites of Crimes Committed in Our Name
This activity began during the war and intensified after the war. It respects victims’ dignity and expresses solidarity with them. Through these acts, we admit that crimes were committed in our name and ask for forgiveness. It is a policy of building peace with justice, trust, and friendship. Since 2002, every year an average of 50 Women in Black activists from many towns in Serbia have attended the annual commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide as part of an organized trip. These were the first organized trips from Serbia. Numerous other groups from Serbia have now attended the commemoration. Thus far, several hundred Women in Black activists have attended the commemorations. Prior to 2002, trips to the annual commemoration were organized individually, predominantly by Belgrade activists.This form of confronting the past, this model of transitional justice, is of exceptional emotional, moral, and political value for Women in Black. A large number of Network activists believe this is the most powerful and most important form of confronting the criminal past. Women in Black has spoken about this very often and conducted surveys among the activists who most frequently attended the commemoration in Potočari and in other places where crimes were committed in our name. Ethical, emotional, and political reasons are intertwined. It is very difficult to categorize people’s motives, but their statements reflect attitudes towards the victims of the crimes committed in our name and attitudes towards the community and the state that we come from. Some typical comments follow.
Addressing the victims and their communities –public expressions of compassion and solidarity with them and respecting the victims’ dignity:
‘I go to be in solidarity with the Bosniak women– to show compassion for the victims’ families’ (Nada, Novi Sad).
‘I feel respect for the victims mixed with shame and guilt’ (Snežana, Kraljevo).
Admitting that crimes were committed in my name – feeling emotional and moral responsibility towards the victims. (This is an extremely frequent statement):
‘By going to Srebrenica – by paying our personal respects to the victims of the crimes that were committed in my, in your, and in our name, I admit to the crime and respect the suffering and dignity of the people of Srebrenica” (Staša, Belgrade).
Catharsis, atonement, and redemption:
‘Srebrenica is some kind of atonement and catharsis for me as a Serb’ (Ljiljana, Belgrade).
As a policy of remembrance or to remember the names and bodies of the crime victims;
‘We all have to know. Nobody must ever forget. Everything changed on July 11, 1995. Nothing will ever be the same as before’ (Senka, Belgrade).
‘One must not run away. One must remember and tell others what we saw and heard’ (Nena, Belgrade).
Compassion and awareness of the suffering of others as an act of solidarity:
‘We are trying to share their grief and testify about it’ (Gaga, Zaječar).
“I want to lay a flower and shed a tear for all the dead and wounded (Vlada, Kraljevo).
Rejecting the idea that crime was committed in my name. The criminals have their own names and they must be held accountable. (This type of statement is less frequent.)
‘I refuse to accept that crimes were committed in my name. The perpetrators have their own names. They must be held accountable for everything they did to others and to their own people’ (Dragan, Belgrade).
Public resistance to the denial of the criminal past in the community I come from – outrage because of the denial, minimization, and relativization of the crimes committed in our name:
'Fifteen years after the crime and more than six years after the toppling of the regime, Serbia is still “stuttering” about the crimes. That is why I feel a need to remind them of what happened and to force them to talk about it by going to the site of the crime' (Nada, Novi Sad)
Transforming guilt into civil responsibility:
'I am ashamed that I come from a country that has committed crimes. I am here so I can tell others of my personal experience of confronting the past' (Marija, Vrbas).
An active policy of peace and solidarity, crossing borders, building trust
Going to sites of crimes that were committed in our name is often accompanied by justified fears of encountering people from the victims’ community. The victims also have ‘justified fears’ of us (Linda Radzik), no matter how aware we may be of the place we come from and the site of the crime, no matter how careful we might be about the emotional and moral perspective from which we address the victims – one of compassion, respect, and admitting what happened. The emotional and moral ‘ritual’ of addressing the victim or victims and the community encourages close and trusting relationships. This is particularly evident in our relationships with women from Srebrenica, where we go most often. Our relationships with them are very, very strong and full of caring, closeness, and concern.
The Policy of Forgiveness – Asking for Forgiveness for Crimes Committed in Our Name
Not only are the apologies by politicians of the country where we live—when they go to the sites of crimes—rare, incomplete, ambivalent, and pragmatic, but they are also offensive to the victims and their families.
Asking for forgiveness is a very important emotional, moral and political aspect of Women in Black’s policy of visiting the sites of crimes. It is not only the ritual of making such statements in the presence of the victims, of laying wreathes that bear the words ‘Forgive Us’ at the sites of crimes committed in our name. It is also a public act of moral sensitivity and responsibility.
Moreover, addressing victims is not our sole objective; we also appeal to the community we come from, opposing indifference and silence about crimes committed against others. It is an appeal to build a different value system in the country we live in.
Some typical statements made by Women in Black activists regarding the policy of asking forgiveness follow.
‘For me, asking forgiveness is one of the most important forms of confronting the past.’ (Sneža, Leskovac).
‘It is emotional atonement, accepting responsibility for the criminal past and acts of aggression’ (Snežana, Kraljevo).
‘For me, apologizing means having the courage to publicly voice our opinions, to admit that we are guilty, not personally, but publicly, not directly, but indirectly. We are guilty because of everyone who kept silent and keeps silent about the crimes, because of a state that denies crimes occurred’ (Marija, Vrbas).
‘I feel enormous moral responsibility for the crimes the state of Serbia committed in our name. That is the reason why we constantly repeat, “I confess to the crimes that were committed in my name”’ (Milos, Velika Plana).
We gave public testimonies about the crimes, the persecution and suffering of the victims and their surviving relatives, and their engagement in building a just peace. Public testimonies are an enormously important part of the process of uncovering facts about war crimes, and as a moral dimension of catharsis and healing. Women in Black organized the first public testimonies in Serbia. On April 6, 2002, the tenth anniversary of the aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina, members of The Srebrenica and Žepa Enclaves Association, relatives of victims of genocide in July 1995, testified.
Monitoring War Crimes Trials
This is an integral part of our activities. It can be divided into the periods before and after the fall of the regime. After the military intervention in 1999 and 2000, particular attention was placed on monitoring the political repression, ethnic hatred, and discrimination of the regime.
Monitoring trials in the Special Court in Belgrade
Monitoring trials is important for many reasons. It is a good way to acquire knowledge about this form of transitional justice and about models of transitional justice as a way of strengthening civil society’s responsibility to confront the past. It also contributes to sensitizing the public to crimes committed in our name. Most importantly, monitoring trials expresses our solidarity with the victims. Contacts with the victims’ relatives, who also monitor the trials, are exceptionally important morally, emotionally, and politically. As part of this activity, we organize meetings with victims’ relatives and representatives of organizations from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo who also monitor the trials. We also write reports from the trials, organize public discussions and group discussions within the network, and analyze trial proceedings.
Transitional Justice – Educational Activities
Although all of the aforementioned activities are important in terms of education and activism, this segment is about specifically educational activities—seminars, panels, lectures, and trainings on transitional justice.
Experiences from the Field:
What Does Confronting the Past Mean to Women?
The following responses are listed according to their frequency.
- Assuming responsibility for what was done in our name is the most frequently given response;
- Breaking away from criminal politics to punish war criminals, confronting the burden of crimes as a member of the nation in whose name they were committed;
- Admitting guilt as a precondition for moving forward;
- Confronting nationalist ideology and myths—the need to deconstruct the myths, lies, and constructs of collective paranoia;
- Changing the values system. As long as gangsters, criminals, and murderers are seen as heroes by the majority of the population, especially by the young, we cannot head toward a better future.
In addition to the ideas, other common statements addressed facing a reality full of poverty, struggling against indifference, constant reassessment (‘could I have done more to prevent this from happening?’), freeing oneself from guilt and memories of the disintegration of the country, confronting the truth that we were the aggressor country, and fear.
From the Role of the Victim to the Role of Responsible Citizen
Patriarchy regards women exclusively as victims. It imposes on them the role of the victim. Consequently, being a victim means rejecting responsibility for the crimes that were committed in our name;
- The more we assume the role of the victim, the less responsible and active we are as citizens – and vice versa. Assuming responsibility is in itself an act of resistance to patriarchy. It is an empowering process of gaining autonomy;
- Resistance to patriarchy – war, sexism, nationalism, and militarism. Resistance diminishes the power of patriarchy to control women. Resistance to patriarchy encourages women to recognize their own power, to change themselves, to make decisions in their own name, and to become responsible and active citizens.
The Feminist Ethic of Care
A feminist ethic of care means that caring for others as part of the traditional woman’s role is not the issue. In this context, care is seen the other way around. Namely, the obligation to care for others becomes primarily a moral and political choice. Others are victims of the crimes committed in our name. Compassion and solidarity with them—with ‘others’ so labeled by the dominant nationalist discourse—becomes an act of ethnic disloyalty, a violation of the political consensus, and disobedience to ‘one’s own.’ It is an act of responsibility or ‘eternal women’s dissent’ (Julia Kristeva) to their community. Opinions expressed by activists include:
‘It is an act of ethnic disloyalty and civil responsibility. I declare publicly to my own people that I am not with them. I know that people were killed in my name. It is important for me to tell the victims about it’ (Violeta);
The feminist ethic of care is a policy of solidarity and peace, moral sensitivity, providing emotional protection, and caring for others – the victims of crimes committed in our name, such as victims’ families attending trials in Belgrade. In this context, caring for others expresses women’s peace politics and active solidarity. ‘We care how the victims feel in Belgrade, where the crime was masterminded. We make sure they feel protected and safe with us. We want to alleviate their fear. In this way, we build trust and friendship and a policy of peace by “little” gestures, as opposed to the “big’’ heroic policies of the dominant political discourse’ (Stasa).
The feminist ethic of care values and legitimizes emotions. It places importance on understanding others’ pain, the suffering they experience, and actively listening to them. ‘I listen to the testimonies of women from Srebrenica and feel like I take it in and absorb it; it permeates me. I want to care for them as much as possible in the name of my people.’ (Ljilja). ‘Emotions drive my actions for peace. I talk about my emotions when I attend trials for war crimes, when I visit the sites of crimes committed in my name. I also want to mobilize others for action’ (Mima);
The feminist ethic of care means caring for others, but also caring for oneself. ‘By taking care of victims of crimes committed in my or our name, I get rid of the burden of guilt and anxiety created by the suffering inflicted on others. It makes me feel better. In that way, I am taking care of myself’ (Lepa);
The feminist ethic of care means serving justice and creating ties. Serving justice is important on the legal level, but ‘extra-judicial’ development of relationship, communication, support, and caring is also important;
The feminist ethic of care sees caring for others as a division of power. Caring for others by neglecting one’s own needs creates bitterness, anger, and dissatisfaction among women. It deprives women of the possibility of influencing public affairs. The feminist ethic of care encourages civic activism, empowers women, strengthens democracy, and creates conditions for a just peace.
The feminist ethic of peace is a universal civic value and a shared responsibility, not only women’s responsibility. The feminist ethic of care is universal. It must be everybody’s responsibility, not only women’s responsibility. If responsibility for others is shared with men, women can get involved in public affairs – in preventing war and implementing transitional justice processes, in short, in peace-building activities.
The Feminist Ethics of Responsibility
“We will not be fooled by our own” or “I am accountable not only for my own actions, but for what is done in my name.”
The following are some typical statements:
- The majority of workshops and lectures participants feel responsible for the wars and everything that happened in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. This is equally true of those who did not take part in the resistance and those who were very active.
They feel responsible
- As citizens of a country that committed criminal acts. ‘I paid taxes to a criminal state.’ Women feel much more responsible as citizens of a state, of a political community, than they do as members of an ethnic group. ‘The crime labels me. I am part of an ethnic group, a citizen, and part of the political community of this country. Whether I like it or not, I am labeled by the crime that was committed in my name’ (Miloš).
- As members of an ethnic group in whose name crimes were committed. ‘When I call myself a Serb, I immediately feel responsible. I cannot call myself a Martian or an Eskimo. Serbs went to war; they went there to kill in my name.’
- As members of a local community. ‘I feel responsible as a citizen of Bor because war crimes were committed in my town. Bodies from Kosovo were cremated in the copper smelter.’
- As part of the female gender. ‘Why did we not raise our voices against war as women? If we had said “NO!” to war everywhere, there would not have been a war in the first place…’ Or, ‘we women are responsible because we are the majority.’
- As feminist antimilitarist activists. ‘Because my fellow citizens, deserters, had to leave the country, because my Croatian neighbor had to leave the country, because the Albanian owner of a nearby pastry shop also had to leave the country,… as a feminist and antimilitarist, I have to disobey all forms of ethnic homogenization and all armies.’
- As a member of humankind.
Additionally, there is often some confusion about the difference between guilt and responsibility because those feelings often overlap. A large number of participants insisted on a collective moral responsibility in the form of confronting the past and changing the values system—the cultural models and ideological patterns—that led to war.
The alternative legal system – a very important instrument in serving justice
Participants expressed an exceptional interest in women’s tribunals, primarily because they are gender sensitive. These tribunals make it possible for women to be the proponents of justice and to transform their trauma and victim position into responsibility, power, and peace activism. They also develop a feminist ethic of care and encourage solidarity among women and make it possible to work together to create new forms of justice.
An initiative for a Women’s Popular Tribunal for the crimes against peace committed by the Serbian regime was launched in March 2006 by Women in Black; consultations with women’s groups in the former Yugoslav republics are under way.
Little Libraries of Transitional Justice – Knowledge as Civil Responsibility for Peace
This project involves the creation of libraries on transitional justice consisting of publications by domestic and foreign authors and translated works. Thus far, libraries have been formed in eight cities in Serbia that are part of The Women in Black Network to encourage people to learn more and organize discussions about this topic.
To See, To Know, To Change
We present recorded testimonies and documentary and feature films about the devastation of war and about nonviolent resistance, emphasizing the women’s peace movement in the former Yugoslavia and other parts of the world, especially The Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. Thus far, video presentations have been organized in a dozen towns in several regions of Serbia. In addition to Network activists, women who are less familiar with the issues of confronting the past and transitional justice attend these presentations. After the screenings, workshops and discussions are held on the topics addressed in these films.
Remembrance as Responsibility
Marking Important Events and Dates in the History of the Antiwar Movement in Serbia: the majority of the population in Serbia, particularly the young, are victims of a systematic suppression and falsification of the recent past. The silencing of the truth about the crimes is usually coupled with overlooking the resistance to war, crimes, and nationalism from 1991 to 1999. This act is meant to remember the numerous civil antiwar actions, and the rebellions of reservists, deserters, their parents, and the women’s antiwar movement.
Art Engaged in Confronting the Past
Since its inception, Women in Black has paid attention to antiwar aesthetics by cooperating with politically engaged artistic groups and theaters, including Škart, Dah Theater, The Center for Cultural Decontamination, and The Institute for Engaged Art, etc.
(Prepared for conference of Women’s Peace Coalition, Struga 1.-3. Septembar 2007. according to book ‘Transitional Justice – feminist approach’, same author)