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Witness
Nerma's Story
She once fled the killing fields of Bosnia but has returned to search for justice.
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2009 12:32 GMT

Watch part two

Filmmaker: Lode Desmet

The war in Bosnia lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. The same number of lives have been ruined and Nerma Jelacic wants those responsible brought to justice. Lode Desmet brings us her story.

At the age of 15 Nerma was forced to flee her hometown of Visegrad, a town which borders what at the time was Milosevic's Serbia, because a young man called Milan Lukic had decided to ethnically cleanse it.

She describes chillingly what happened when one day a paramilitary unit under his command rounded up hundreds of her people, separating the men from the women and children. We can only imagine the fear that Nerma and her mother must have gone through in what was clearly an ethnic cleansing exercise. Miraculously that day they were spared, a fate others in Visegrad and the rest of her ravaged country were not fortunate enough to share.

They were able to flee across the Serbian border and eventually to London where Nerma became a journalist, her specialist news agency now covers war crime trials brought before Bosnia and Herzegovina's state court. 

Commander Lukic has been arrested and Nerma will not rest until justice is done for crimes he was personally responsible for. 

In this poignant film Nerma makes an emotional return to Bosnia to find a country struggling to patch itself up from the horror it witnessed and a town much different from the one she was forced to flee. 

She visits the holiday home they escaped to as their town came under attack, the forest where they hid in the middle of the night and the spot where her family was rounded up and separated.

Her campaign is not to forget but to track down those war criminals and bring them to justice. By seeing that justice is done she hopes to find a meaning for what happened to her family and her nation.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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