We visited Dzenana on our second day in Bosnia. She had been shot when crossing the road on a day that had been declared to be a cease fire. However, the bullet had gone through her stomach and had hit her seven year old son Nermin. Dzenana survived the shooting but her son didn’t. She showed us pictures of Nermin and told us what he was like as a child – he was sweet, intelligent and kind. He would probably have had a brilliant future but I guess no one will ever know. Interviewing her made me realise how wrong I was regarding my notions of justice. It is a struggle for Dzenana to get through everyday – a bullet that didn’t kill her, ended the life of her son. I asked myself how can any person, let alone a mother live with that pain? I realised that my definition of justice, that it meant an eye for an eye, didn’t really ring true. Those who survived the war, lost so much and a death sentence could never bring any of it back. I realised what was most important for those people was that their story be told to the world so that something like this could be prevented in the future. Dzenana also testified at the ICTY and when asked if testifying provided her with some closure or any sense of justice, she replied that nothing would ever bring Nermin back so there was no justice or closure for her…ever. However what was so honourable and most inspiring was the fact that despite this, she still believed in the justice system. She was ready to testify whenever called to do so. This made me realise, that justice is much more complicated than a text book definition. Although it is not always served in the way that it should be, it is still there. More importantly justice means different things to different people. Justice to Dzenana meant her story be told, that this genocide never be forgotten.
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Please note that this is a school project and the opinions expressed in this blog record an account of the students' journey. It explores the nature of justice and more importantly, how a community and the individuals within it, come to terms with terrible occurrences. The young women inherited from their experience a strong sense of personal responsibility to pass on the stories they were told by the survivors of the war. In this blog they share those stories with you.