Geographies of Crime and Justice
Dr Olivera Simić
Abstract: In this paper I analyse legacies of spaces where torture and rape were committed during the Bosnian war 1992-1995 while using case studies of a hotel spa Vilina Vlas in Visegrad and a Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo. I will look at how the process by which (national) identity is constituted and reconstituted is also a spatial and gendered process. There are places left out of the guidebooks - sites of recent violent events that remain unacknowledged or silenced. There, holidaymakers can suddenly find themselves accidental thanatourists. Still, is the task of a tourist guidebook to reveal all these places, and deal with the traumatic past? If it reveals, who would come to visit BiH – a country of crime? Each piece of BiH land had potentially been a place of crime.The paper critically analyses different historical narratives and competing memories embedded in sites of recent torture and killing and today’s justice (the Court) and tourist leisure (Vilina Vlas spa). The different ethno nationalist engagements with these places and how they should be physically remembered has become part of on-going contestation around the interpretation of the Bosnian war and the (re)imagining of the post war society. Is it possible to reconcile the conflicting memories embedded in such spaces? How can we build peace in the places marked by dark history? (this paper is co-authored with Dr Zala Volcic, Pomona College, US)
Dr Olivera Simić is a Senior Lecturer with the Griffith Law School and a Visiting Professor with UN University for Peace, Costa Rica. Her research engages with transitional justice, international law, gender and crime from an interdisciplinary perspective. Olivera’s latest edited collection, Transitional Justice and Reconciliation: Lessons from the Balkans (with Martina Fischer) has been published by Routledge in 2015. Her latest monograph Surviving Peace: A Political Memoir has been published by Spinifex in 2014. Olivera is currently working on her monograph Silenced Victims of Wartime Sexual Violence (Routledge, 2017) and the first textbook in transitional justice with a group of experts from around the world (Routledge, 2017).