Marking the 30th Anniversary of the Sarajevo Siege

Photo: Paul Lowe

The City of Sarajevo, the Information Center of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the Post-Conflict Research Center, the Srebrenica Memorial Center, and the Memory Module invite you to attend the program at the Sarajevo City Hall on April 4th and 5th, 2022, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Sarajevo siege.

  • Exhibition “Siege,” by British photographer Paul Lowe, April 4th at 5 p.m.
  • Video screening of “Sarajevo Roses” at the outside façade of the Sarajevo City Hall, April 4th at 8 p.m.
  • International Conference “30 Years Later – Sarajevo,” April 5th, starting at 12 p.m.

The siege of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian capital of Sarajevo was the longest siege in modern history. It began on the night of April 4th, 1992, when the Yugoslav People’s Army occupied Ilidža International Airport, and ended on February 29, 1996. During the siege, as determined by court rulings, the Army of the Republika Srpska conducted a campaign of sniping and shelling with the aim of terrorizing the citizens of Sarajevo. The siege of Sarajevo resulted in the deaths of thousands of men, women, and children of all ages. In addition to those killed during the siege, thousands more were wounded, maimed, and suffered severe trauma, leaving all Sarajevans deeply and permanently scarred. 

COMMEMORATION AGENDA

The black and white photography exhibition “Siege” will open on April 4th at 5 p.m. in the Sarajevo City Hall. 

British photographer Paul Lowe captured the daily life of Sarajevo residents during the siege. Thirty years since the violence began, these black and white photographs continue to hold a special power. Like “ghosts from the past,” they show the daily struggle for survival experienced by Sarajevo’s citizens and their indefatigable spirit of resistance. 

The author of the exhibition, Paul Lowe, is a multi-award-winning photographer who has published his works in Time, News Week, Life, The Observer, and The Sunday Times Magazine. He will address the audience at the exhibition opening, along with Sarajevo Mayor Benjamina Karić, Director and Founder of the Post-Conflict Research Center, Velma Šarić, and Deputy British Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Neil Kavanagh. Their address will be followed by a special music program and a multi-lingual public reading of selected journalism from the period of the siege. 

A video projection by the Post-Conflict Research Center entitled “Sarajevo Roses” will be shown on April 4th at 8 p.m. on the outside façade of the Sarajevo City Hall. The projection includes the names and drawings of children killed during the siege of Sarajevo, photos by Velija Hasanbegović, and graphic design by Šejla Bratić.

The international conference “30 Years Later – Sarajevo” will begin on April 5th at 12 p.m. with a welcoming speech by the Mayor of Sarajevo, Benjamina Karić. This will be followed by introductory remarks from the President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Courts, Carmel Agius, Chief Prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Courts, Serge Brammertz, and Director of the Srebrenica Memorial Center, Dr. Emir Suljagić.

At 12:45 p.m., there will be a panel discussion on the Sarajevo siege, the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the prosecution of war crimes, with a special focus on the international experience. The discussion will be moderated by photographer and professor from the London School of Communication Paul Lowe, and will include  Professor James Gow of the Royal College in London, General Rupert Smith, former UNPROFOR Commander in Sarajevo, Dr. Ilana Bet-El, former UN Adviser for the Balkans, Rada Pejić-Sremac, representative of the Outreach Program of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Courts, as well as Reuters war-time correspondent Sean Maguire and La Monde war-time correspondent Remy Ourdan.

The conference will feature the ten-minute film “Cultural Resistance,” produced by the Memory Module. The film showcases the unique forms of cultural resistance which characterized the response of citizens to the siege of Sarajevo, as well as the enduring culture of remembrance. At 3 p.m., the audience will be addressed by Dr. Ivo Komšić, former mayor of Sarajevo and member of the wartime Presidency of BiH, Dr. Elijah Tauber, Advisor for Culture and Religion to the Jewish Community in BiH, Amra Abadžić Lowe, author of a book on the Sarajevo siege, Hana Bajrović, the author of a book on the cultural history of BiH, and the actor Miodrag Trifunov. The session will be moderated by historian, writer, and director of MESS Festival, Nihad Kreševljaković.

Sarajevo Mayor Benjamina Karić will then speak with the Head of the EU Delegation and Special EU Representative to BiH, Ambassador Johann Sattler, and the Editor of Mir Magazine, Tatjana Milovanović, about the future of peace in the country and region. This will be followed by the launch of Mir Magazine, attended by the young people from across BiH who make up Mir’s correspondents and contributors. Dr. Rachel Kerr, a professor at King’s College London, will moderate the session, which begins at 4:45 p.m. 

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