I Came to Testify

October 11, 2011

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When the Balkans exploded into war in the 1990s, reports that tens of thousands of women were being systematically raped as a tactic of ethnic cleansing captured the international spotlight. I Came to Testify is the moving story of how a group of 16 women who had been imprisoned by Serb-led forces in the Bosnian town of Foca broke history’s great silence – and stepped forward to take the witness stand in an international court of law. Now, as Bosnia is once again in the headlines with the capture of Bosnian Serb wartime general Ratko Mladic, the women agree to speak for the first time since then, on condition that we keep their identities hidden for their protection. “Witness 99,” who was held at gunpoint for a month with dozens of other women in a sports hall in the center of town remembers: “We were treated like animals. But that was the goal: to kill a woman’s dignity.” Their remarkable courage resulted in a triumphant verdict that led to new international laws about sexual violence in war. Returning to Bosnia 16 years after the end of the conflict, I Came to Testify also explores the chasm between this seismic legal shift and the post-war justice experienced by most of Bosnia’s women war survivors. Narrated by Matt Damon.

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