Nicholas Constant

Firn

Lake Perućac is an artificial lake located in the Srebrenica and Višegrad municipalities in the Republika Srpska. The lake was used as a mass grave for the Višegrad massacres. It was then used for this purpose again in the 1999 Kosovo conflict. It is believed that there were over 2,000 bodies in the lake, making it the largest mass grave in Europe. The lake was drained in 2010 for the ‘Institute for Missing Persons’ to conduct an exhumation to recover bodies from the waterbed.

This podium was used during the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. It served a completely different role during the war, being used as an execution point by the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ARBiH). During the siege of Sarajevo, this mountainous area saw heavy fighting between the two sides. The podium since been rebuilt but still remains in the same structure.

The river Drina separates Bosnia and Serbia on the north-eastern side of Bosnia. The towns and cities along this river were systematically cleansed so that Serbia could expand to be ‘Greater Serbia’. It is known that a lot of men and boys were murdered into the river. This is partly the reason for so many bodies being found at Lake Perućac.

This is the old battery factory used by the UN as a headquarters just outside the safe zone of Srebrenica. The Srebrenica genocide is known as one of the worst crimes on European soil since WWII. Over 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were murdered in this event. The UN Dutchbat solders were said to be partly blamed as they failed to keep the safezone safe. Between 20,000 and 25,000 Bosniaks gathered to seek refugee here before the massacre begun.

The Siege of Sarajevo was the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare from the 5th April 1992 till the 29th February 1996 (1425 days). The Bosnian government estimated that shelling’s destroyed over 10,000 apartments and damaged over 100,000 others. Of the other buildings in the city, 23% were seriously damaged, 64% partly damaged and 10% slightly damaged.

This outpost is one example of the command posts that the Serbs held to keep Sarajevo under siege. Here they would fire shells into the city as well as having snipers situated here. This is how they were able to keep the city under siege as Sarajevo is in a valley that the Serb army had surrounded, therefore leaving the residents of the city trapped.

Same as last image from the outside of the building. 

During the war, football pitches were used quite commonly as execution points. As football is a very big sport in Bosnia, football pitches any size are a regular occurrence. This was located just outside the biggest city in the Serb republic, Banja Luka.

This graffiti was found in the UN Headquarters just outside of Srebrenica. Some of the graffiti comes from the Dutchbat solders whereas the majority of the work comes from locals who have since been back to this place to express their views. The buildings remain untouched as they are being transformed into a memorial centre for the victims of the 1995 genocide.

This memorial I found in a very small village just outside of Zvornik. If you look into the window to the left, you will see a picture of Ratko Mladić. Mladić was a high-ranking officer in the Serb run Yugoslav People’s army as well as Chief of Staff in the Army of Republika Srpska. He was accused by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for being responsible for the siege of Sarajevo as well as the Srebrenica genocide.

There are many local graveyards like this where families will have their own private place to rest their deceased. The future of Bosnia is still very unclear. With war tribunals still in place, bodies still not being found and very recent ethnically spurred attacks, the regeneration of Bosnia is a slow and painful process.

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