Added: June 22, 2013 – Last updated: November 5, 2016


Author: Teresa Iacobelli

Title: The 'Sum of Such Actions'

Subtitle: Investigating Mass Rape in Bosnia-Herzegovina through a Case Study of Foca

In: Brutality and Desire: War and Sexuality in Europe’s Twentieth Century

Edited by: Dagmar Herzog

Place: Basingstoke

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Year: 2009

Pages: 261-283

Series: Genders and Sexualities in History

ISBN-10: 0230542530 (hbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

ISBN-13: 9780230542532 (hbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9780230285637 (pbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9780230234291 (ebk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | European History: Bosnian History, Serbian History | Types: Wartime Rape / Bosnian War



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Author: Teresa Iacobelli, Department of History, Queen's


»Teresa Iacobelli offers yet another vantage point on rape as a aspect of warfare in her close study of the city of Foca in 1992-1993. As there has been considerable dispute over whether the mass rapes of Muslim women in Bosnia-Herzegovina were systematically 'planned' and ordered or rather 'spontaneous' and random, Iacobelli carefully combs the available evidence on Foca – an early site of systematic and organized raping – in order to make a case for the 'planned' perspective and to document not only the knowledge but also participation of high-ranking Serbian officers in systematic sexual slavery within camps. Like Bjørnlund and Branche, Iacobelli, considers the multiple possible functions of rape in the context of war. Iacobelli shows that in the Bosnian case, rape was used as a deliberate tactic of warfare in the sense that by spreading terror it expedited 'ethnic cleansing' and flight, but that it also worked as a deliberate strategy of genocide via the forced impregnation of Muslim women.« (Source: Dagmar Herzog. »Introduction: War and Sexuality in Europe's Twentieth Century.« Brutality and Desire: War and Sexuality in Europe’s Twentieth Century. Edited by Dagmar Herzog. Basingstoke 2009: 11)

»Rape has always accompanied war. In the twentieth century alone there have been numerous examples occurring in countries as diverse as China, Germany, India and Rwanda.1 Believing it to be a natural consequence of conflict, military historians have tended to ignore that rape is also a weapon of war. This belief has prevented historians from looking seriously at the act of rape, both its meanings and its consequences. As it became clear in the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1990s, rape is more than a by-product of war: the act itself provides a vital function in the destruction and disgrace of an enemy. However, what has not been as clear in the Balkans is the exact nature of the rapes which did occur there. Were the rapes perpetrated against Bosnian Muslims and Croats the result of an intentional and systemic policy ordered by Bosnian Serbian command, or were they random acts by soldiers, militias and a few sadistic leaders at the local level? This paper will attempt to answer this question through a case study of the Bosnian city of Foca, an area which first became synonymous with mass rape in 1992. By focusing on this singular example I will attempt both to contextualize mass rape and to answer some broader questions regarding its use in the former Yugoslavia. I will seek to determine why mass rape happened and how it came to be seen as a legitimate weapon of war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.« (Source: SpringerLink)

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Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of Bosnia and Herzegovina, History of Serbia | Types of rape: Wartime sexual violence | War: Bosnian War / Foča massacres, Rape during the Bosnian War