Foča is a municipality in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina where women were raped and abused on a large scale during the Bosnian war. Women, and girls as young as 12 years old, were imprisoned at various locations to be gang-raped, mostly by Serbian fighters. This was cause for the Yugoslavia Tribunal to designate “systematic rape” and “sexual slavery”—war crimes that frequently went unprosecuted—as torture and crimes against humanity. As a result, these crimes can now be universally prosecuted.
The so-called Foča case called on great courage from the countless women who testified about their horrific experiences. To preserve their anonymity the women were identified using numbers or letters. In this forensic video essay, filmmaker Kumjana Novakova uses mostly written testimonies by the women to explore the collective memory of the rape camps. In grainy video footage, the camera explores the places where these inhuman crimes took place, while the women speak about the unspeakable.