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Srebrenica 14
Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By Michael Biach
11 Jul 2014

The town of Srebrenica, nowadays mostly inhabited by Bosnian Serbs but also by muslim Bosniaks. During the Bosnian war the town became an enclave under UN protection. Nevertheless Bosnian Serb military invaded the enclave. The UN did not protect the civilians. At least 8.372, nearly all of the unarmed civilians, where systematically executed. Today an orthodox church lies next to a mosque.

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Srebrenica 15
Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By Michael Biach
11 Jul 2014

During this year's annual commemoration 175 newly identified victims of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide were buried. A Bosnian woman is mourning at the coffin of a relative prior to the mass burial at Potocari.

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Srebrenica 17
Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By Michael Biach
11 Jul 2014

Relatives of victims of the 1995 genocide in Srebrenica are waling in front of the former UN barracks in Potocari, the place where thousands of Bosniaks tried to seek shelter from Bosnian Serb forces under Ratko Mladic. The UN was not able to protect the refugees who were take away by paramilitars and army personal to be executed. 8.372 people were killed after the enclave of Srebrenica fell, nearly all of the unarmed civililans who were systemetically executed.

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Srebrenica 19
Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By Michael Biach
11 Jul 2014

Bosnian women are mourning prior to the mass burial in Potocari during the 19th annual commemoration of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide. In the back the men are praying in front of the coffins of 175 newly identified victims found in mass graves all over the country.

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Srebrenica 16
Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By Michael Biach
11 Jul 2014

Relatives of Nermin and Samir Selimovic are burying the coffins of the then 19 and 23 year old boys during the 19th anniversary of the annual commemoration of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide.

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Srebrenica 20
Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By Michael Biach
11 Jul 2014

Coffins with victims of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide are burried during the 19th annual commemoration in Potocari.

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Holiday in Sarajevo
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By Arianna Pagani
20 Feb 2014

The Holiday Inn hotel in Sarajevo is recognized as one of the monuments in the city’s recent sad history – the Bosnian War in 1992. For many, it was a forgettable sight, “ugly” according to some journalists who used it as their main base while covering the war; “a joke facade” in the eyes of construction workers who helped built it.

Now called the Olympic Hotel Holiday Sarajevo – after losing its Holiday Inn chain license in 2013 – it closed its doors for the first time in its history in February 2014 after the staff went on strike. Despite a deal being reached, the hotel has officially closed its doors for good.

Since February 2014, the hotel faced protest by the employees who demanded payment and who occupied the lobby of the hotel, although employees signed each day for the start and end of their shifts.

They blamed “privatization and continuous failures to pay salaries” for a decrease in the number of employees, who once numbered 280 and are now only 140. Sajma Gugula, Mevlida Bekto, Sefka Topalov are waitresses working at the Holiday Inn for about thirty years. “We’ve been without pay for four months,” said one of the staff.

Of its 10 floors and 330 rooms, in its final days the hotel only occupied eight floors. The others were sold to third parties after the privatization, including the dining room - turned into a casino.

Designed by the celebrated Bosnian architect Ivan Straus, and built in 1982-83, Sarajevo's iconic Holiday Inn hotel was built for the 1984 Winter Olympics. It opened its doors officially in October 1983, presented by the then President of the International Olympic Committee Antonio Samaranch.

The Holiday Inn became one of the symbols of the Bosnian capital and it remains Sarajevo’s most interesting building, though it was a source of aesthetic controversy.

The bold yellow, ochre and brown exterior was of no much appeal to many, deviating from the boundary of gray buildings all around and making it different from all other hotels in the city.

"The original scale model had been designed with a similar yellow facade, but no-one expected that the actual exterior of the hotel would be same color. Construction workers thought it was a joke," Straus told many media outlets in the past years.

Before the war, the Bosnian-Serb Serbian Democratic Party (SDS), led by Radovan Karadzic, held numerous meetings in the hotel and by February 1992 even served as a temporary home for the Karadzic family.

However, in April 1992, demonstrators marched from outside the Bosnian parliament to the hotel. They were shot at, allegedly from within the building, by snipers loyal to Mr Karadzic. The hotel was then stormed by Bosnian government forces and the snipers arrested, by which time Mr Karadzic and his entourage had fled.

As the war went on, Bosnian Serb forces were surrounding Sarajevo and the siege tightened. The Siege of Sarajevo was the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare, lasting 1,425 days (from 5 April 1992 to 29 February 1996).

“The hotel has a real story and this is what sets us apart from our competitors,” says Mario Franjevic, 54, the hotel receptionist, showing a photograph made in wartime.

Franjevic was born in Sarajevo and started working at the Holiday Inn thirty years ago as a waiter. He has not received his monthly salary for four months.

Located on the famous "Sniper Alley," the hotel was in one of the most dangerous areas in the city, and very close to the front line. Speaking to the media, its manager at the time said the Holiday Inn was hit more than a 100 times during the early weeks of the siege, although it was far less a targeted than other neighboring buildings.

International media sent their crews to cover the increasingly violent war and established their bureaux in the Holiday Inn. The hotel quickly became famous as the headquarters of international war reporters covering the conflict in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

According to many journalists who spent weeks and months in Sarajevo under siege, stepping out of the hotel was an “everyday survival exercise to avoid getting shot.”

And every day, the hotel staff faced many dangers from snipers to go to work. Nonetheless, they maintained the hotel’s appearance and services (even if set-back by a lack of resources) during the war, purchasing diesel fuel on the black market that was used to heat the rooms during the winter.

After the war was over, the hotel has hosted many famous "international" personalities who descended to Sarajevo with the intention of rebuilding the country. After the international engagement in Bosnia ended, however, the fortunes of the hotel started to change, faced with many challenges because of the global economic crisis and political instability in Bosnia.

The hotel was initially privatized in 2000 and then sold for 22.8 million euros to a private Austrian group. Through privatization of the hotel, the Bosnian government has also sold the legal actions of employees (54%), who are awaiting trial at the Court of the Canton of Sarajevo for a compensation of over 12,000 euros.

Franjevic lost invested shares during the privatization process with the Austrian company and has been taking part in the protests inside the lobby of the hotel. “I don’t believe in a resolution to the problem anytime soon,” he said.

Today, despite its recent closure, the hotel is still seen by locals and visitors as an important symbol of Sarajevo, both architecturally and historically. And despite its name change, and going out of business, people still simply call the building “The Holiday Inn.”

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Bosnian Landmine Survivors
Bosnia
By Transterra Editor
06 Jan 2014

Almost two decades after the war in Bosnia & Herzegovina ended with the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, the country remains threatened by more than 120,000 landmines, a dark legacy of the war, buried in the ground along former frontlines. As urban areas are meanwhile largely demined, people living in the remote landside of Bosnia are permanently threatened by the silent hazard near their homes.

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Bosnian Landmine Survivors 2
Visoko, Bosnia
By Michael Biach
30 Sep 2013

Goran Stanusic from Bosnia & Herzegovina Mine Action Center (BHMAC) is clearing in an area near Visoko. Members of the mine squad work alone and scan about five square meters with a metal detector every 30 minutes. Since 1995 nearly 50 mine clearance personnel have been killed, 115 have been seriously wounded

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Bosnian Landmine Survivors 12
Visoko, Bosnia
By Michael Biach
30 Sep 2013

Goran Stanusic from Bosnia & Herzegovina Mine Action Center (BHMAC) is clearing an area near Visoko. Members of the mine squad work alone and scan about five square meters with a metal detector every 30 minutes. Since 1995 nearly 50 mine clearance personnel have been killed, 115 have been seriously wounded.

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Bosnian Landmine Survivors
Sarajevo
By Michael Biach
29 Sep 2013

Almost two decades after the war in Bosnia & Herzegovina ended with the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement the country remains threatened by more than 120.000 landmines, a dark legacy of the war, buried in the ground along former frontlines. As urban areas are meanwhile largely demined people living in the remote landside of Bosnia are permanently threatened by the silent hazard near their homes.

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Rural Bosnia & Herzegovina Struggle w...
Sarajevo
By Transterra Editor
26 Sep 2013

Almost two decades after the war in Bosnia & Herzegovina ended, the country remains threatened by more than 120,000 landmines — about 2.5 percent of the total land mass — that remain a dark legacy of the war, buried in the ground along former frontlines.

While urban areas are being largely demined, people living in the remote landside of Bosnia are permanently threatened by the hidden hazards in the ground near their homes. Relatives of landmine victims, as well as survivors, mostly do not receive any governmental help. For these people live in remote areas with high unemployment rates with no possibility of earning money for a living, the only income for most is to collect firewood or fruits in the nearby forests. Some of these families have victims spanning two or three generations.

Without help from the government, the people largely depend on the Landmine Survivors Initiative (LSI), a non-governmental institution that provides affected people and communities with psychological and financial support. In some cases the NGO provides a greenhouse, in others agricultural machines, so that people can try to make a living instead of depending on the woods for survival.

Photos and Text by Michael Biach

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Remembering Srebrenica (6 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
12 Jul 2011

People arriving by bus for the mass funeral at the Potocari memorial center

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Remembering Srebrenica (18 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
12 Jul 2011

The coffins are passed hand to hand over the crowd of mourners during the opening of the Potocari memorial site

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Remembering Srebrenica (17 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
12 Jul 2011

A woman faints during the burial of her son at the Potocari Memorial Center

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Remembering Srebrenica (16 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
11 Jul 2011

A woman on one of the 275 buses arriving in Potochari memorial for the 16th commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide's victims.

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Remembering Srebrenica (7 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
11 Jul 2011

People mourning over their relatives' coffin during the burial ceremony inside the memorial center of Potochari

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Remembering Srebrenica (8 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
11 Jul 2011

A man mourning over his relative's coffin inside the hangar of Potochari before the burial ceremony

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Remembering Srebrenica (19 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
11 Jul 2011

A woman and her daughter crying over their relative's coffin inside the hangar of Potochari before burial ceremony

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Remembering Srebrenica (20 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
10 Jul 2011

The coffins of 613 bodies laid inside the hangar of Potochari before burial ceremony

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Remembering Srebrenica (21 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
10 Jul 2011

Women crying over their relative's coffin inside the hangar of Potochari before burial ceremony

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Remembering Srebrenica (22 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
10 Jul 2011

Women crying over their relative's coffin inside the hangar of Potochari before burial ceremony

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Remembering Srebrenica (9 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
10 Jul 2011

Woman crying over her relative's coffin inside the hangar of Potochari before burial ceremony

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Remembering Srebrenica (23 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
10 Jul 2011

People mourning over their relative's coffin inside the hangar of Potochari where are laid the coffins of 613 bodies before burial ceremony

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Remembering Srebrenica (24 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
10 Jul 2011

A group of women deeply moved, inside the hangar of Potochari where are laid the coffins of 613 bodies before burial

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Remembering Srebrenica (25 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
09 Jul 2011

The battery factory in Potochari. During the war it was the used by the UN Dutch army as a base. During the commemoration days it hosts politician speeches

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Bosnia: Divided Peace
Bosnia and Herzegovina
By carloscastro
01 Jun 2011

The long way towards peace starts just after the signature of the peace agreements, when the complex and difficult process of building peace, memory, truth, reconciliation and justice for all the victims begins. The documentaries of the ‘After Peace' project seek to analyze and explain different ways taken by various countries who suffered an armed conflict in the last quarter of the 20th century. Researchers, activists for peace and reconciliation, victims, lawyers and educators expose what has been done and what has been ignored in their countries and talk about their experiences.
The Dayton Peace Accords divided Bosnia Herzegovina into two entities. The deal left a "very complicated system, as it was created in order to protect the fragile ethnic balance at all levels," says Srecko Latal, an analyst of the International Crisis Group. Moreover, the consequences of Dayton are still tangible in society. The education system segregates students by their ethnic, thousands of people live in camps while others search for their missing relatives. Nowadays, forgiveness is still far but part of civil society believes in reconciliation and work to achieve it and for the reparation of the victims.

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Remembering Srebrenica (1 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
11 Jul 2010

Father with his daughter during the commemoration for the victims of Srebrenica genocide at the Potocari memorial center during the burial ceremony

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Remembering Srebrenica (2 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
10 Jul 2010

The coffins are passed hand to hand over the crowd of mourners inside the battery factory of Potocari before the burial ceremony

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Remembering Srebrenica (11 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
10 Jul 2010

People assisting while the coffins are being placed inside the hangar before the mass burial

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Remembering Srebrenica (12 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
10 Jul 2010

The coffins are passed hand to hand over the crowd of mourners inside the battery factory of Potocari before the burial ceremony

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Remembering Srebrenica (3 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
10 Jul 2010

Women crying over her son's coffin inside the hangar of Potochari before burial ceremony

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Remembering Srebrenica (13 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
10 Jul 2010

People mourning over their relative's coffin inside the hangar of Potochari before the burial ceremony

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Remembering Srebrenica (4 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
10 Jul 2010

The coffins are passed hand to hand over the crowd of mourners inside the battery factory of Potocari before the burial ceremony

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Remembering Srebrenica (14 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
10 Jul 2010

People mourning over their relative's coffin during the burial ceremony inside the memorial center of Potochari

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Remembering Srebrenica (15 of 25)
Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By giulianocamarda
10 Jul 2010

The coffins are passed hand to hand over the crowd of mourners inside the battery factory of Potocari before the burial ceremony

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War Scars in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
By Mais Istanbuli
06 Jul 2010

On November 21, 1995, the Dayton Agreement ended the civil war in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina. 18 years later, the promises of the agreement have not been kept. Returning to a state of peace is slow and difficult in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the remnants of the war are evident everywhere.

War refugees live in containers or partially destroyed buildings. In 2012, UNHCR reported that around 112,802 people are still internally displaced.

Meanwhile, the ICMP (International Commission on Missing Persons) still works to identify those who are missing. According to the ICMP, at the end of the conflict in former Yugoslavia, 40,000 people were missing or presumed dead. So far, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, about 10,000 people are still missing.

The younger generation hopes that Bosnia and Herzegovina will join the European Union one day, but for many, peace and resolution still seem unattainable.