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PRECISION | ANALYSIS | REFLECTIONS - A series of six articles 

I’m excited to share the news that over the next six weeks I will be posting a series of feature blogs – one each week -  that moves a prism over some of the compelling themes jumping out from my current work, unpicking them, to look at these issues from all angles, adding in some analysis and, where appropriate, some personal reflections.

When I tell people that the feature documentary UNCONQUERED: Gorazde City of Heroes is about events in 1990s, some ask “why now? It’s all in the past, what’s the relevance today?” And that’s just what I’ll be sharing with you, that very thing – the relevance today.


All the articles take an issue, a theme or just an event from the work I am doing on the feature documentary UNCONQUERED that I feel is worth interrogating a bit more.  These all have their roots in the past, but what I’m finding at the moment as I continue to work on this project - analysing documents, meeting and interviewing contributors, hearing more in-depth details and anecdotes, is that so much has a resonance today and is reflected in recent events and in the media today. It’s topical, right there on-the-button, right now. It’s not just history it’s part of our present too.  

The subjects range from an incredible new law just passed in one area of Bosnia that gives the first ever legal recognition to children born from war rape. This is ground- breaking legislation and the very first of its kind in the world. While this has taken 30 years in the making, it’s just the start as it only applies to one specific region in Bosnia. No one knows how many women were raped in the Bosnian war, the numbers range from 20,000 to 50,000 and the true number of babies born from rape just isn’t known. One baby, now a grown man was born in Goraźdes hospital and is very open about the circumstances of his birth. I reconnected with him when I went to Goražde in May and I very much hope we will be able to film with him in the Autumn.


Conflict related sexual violence is not something from the Middle Ages, it’s happening again today in Europe, in Ukraine, recently reported by the UN’s Human Rights organisation OHCHR. This is just one of the highly sensitive and challenging issues I will be looking at in this series. Other topics will be war crimes indictments, trials and evidence gathering which is so current with a just-released dossier report by CIJA on war crimes committed in Myanmar and of course, the gathering of evidence in Ukraine. And there will be more!

Yes, some of these may sound tough going, but strap in, it’s going to be a roller coaster ride and I hope you will be ‘riding’ with me. Because these issues are about our world, affecting our lives today.  I will be posting the full article with links on my website @Studio9films and I will be giving you a shout out as they go live. It will be great to hear your feedback and thoughts on these issues and the posts, I know these are complicated and challenging so please let me know what you think, let’s be lively, debate and respectful but also challenging. Looking forward to it! 




ARTICLE 1: Legal recognition for children born of rape – Bosnia is first with this, what does it mean and will it make a difference?


ARTICLE 2: International War crimes, reporting and gathering evidence – Even today indictments are being issued for war criminals to be tried for crimes committed 30 years ago in Bosnia. One of our recent interviews has direct evidence of intended crimes. But what are the consequences when justice takes so long and will the rapid start to collecting evidence in Ukraine make a significant impact?


ARTICLE 3: The role of the UN: Safe Areas – where is the UN now? So much has been written about this – what is there new I can possibly say? Well, 30 years on people are reflecting back and being more open than ever before. Drawing from recent interviews with former British Ambassador to the United Nations at the time of the Bosnian war, plus with on-the-ground commanders and UN personnel I believe there are new insights.


ARTICLE 4: The legacy of the Dayton Accords – at no time since the end of the war has the situation in the Balkans been more delicate and unstable. This will be a co-written article with my Bosnian colleague Senad Slatina who has considerable experience as a political analyst and as an adviser to the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia for a decade.


ARTICLE 5: EU & NATO membership: dousing the flames or fanning them? Another co-authored piece with Senad. We will be looking at this incredibly important and sensitive situation together.


ARTICLE 6: The targeting of civilians – a case history. One of the key strategic and most important areas for the people of Goražde was the bridge that straddles the river Drina, the artery that links the west and east sides of the town. Drawing from recent interviews, testimony from war crimes trials and even minutes from the Situation Room in the White House, I’ll be examining events in this one particular location to see the role and impact it had on the lives of the people connected to it.


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