Yugoslav Wars

Adnan Mahmutovich

Adnan Mahmutovic fled the war-torn former Yugoslavia as a teenager, and settled as a refugee in Sweden. He began working as a care assistant for a man who had suffered a stroke, and the job became his introduction to Swedish life.

Translating Documents At Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal Creates Unique "Tug-of-War"

Jan 27, 2017
Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, center, with court security guards at left and right, appears before the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Tuesday July 3, 2001.


Ellen Elias-Bursac, current standing Vice President for the American Literary Translation Association and former revision expert for the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal, has helped ease the challenges created by language barriers. During her time at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Elias-Bursac was given the responsibility of translating and verifying evidence during the war crime trials.

World Views: January 20, 2017

Jan 20, 2017

Suzette Grillot talks to Rebecca Cruise about British Prime Minister Theresa May's speech outlining Brexit. And as we continue our month-long series on international literature, Suzette talks to University of Toronto literature professor Dragana Obradovic about experiencing war as a child.

Dragana Obradovic, left, with her colleague Christina Kramer
University of Toronto


War broke out in the former Yugoslavia when Dragana Obradovic was only eight years old. Her family fled the region as refugees. By the time she was in her 20s, she felt a void about her childhood in the Balkans: She was old enough to remember the war, but too young to grasp its significance. Obradovic began asking questions about her own identity.

Besieged Sarajevo residents collect firewood in the bitter winter of 1992.
Christian Maréchal / Wikimedia Commons

The Yugoslav Wars were characterized by multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity such as acts of genocide and the use of systematic rape as a weapon of war.

“This was my first experience of war,” says Franz Bumeder, who was in Zagreb, Croatia at the start of the Croatian War of Independence in 1991.

But Bumeder was not there as a fighter or a humanitarian worker. He was there as a journalist, sent by a public news channel in Munich to report on the unfolding war.