The Special Prosecution Office in Prishtina. Photo: BIRN.

Kosovo prosecutors investigate whether ‘war rape photo’ is fake  

Kosovo’s Special Prosecution is investigating claims that a photograph allegedly showing Serbian soldiers raping an ethnic Albanian woman during the war, which was shown to media by MP Flora Brovina, could be a fake.

The Special Prosecution’s investigation was launched after online searches turned up the same image on web pages that suggest it was actually taken during the Iraq war. The image also appears on one pornography site.

Brovina, an MP from the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, showed the uncensored photograph to media at the Kosovo Assembly during a debate about a proposed parliamentary resolution accusing Serbia of committing genocide during the 1998-99 war.

Shpend Ahmeti, the mayor of Prishtina and leader of the Social Democratic Party said that if the picture is fake, it will cause huge damage to all war victims.

“Who is behind this shameful act? Who will go to the victims and families of victims to tell them that they showed a fake picture when there is abundance of evidence all around? This is unforgivable,” Ahmeti wrote on Facebook.

Vasfije Krasniqi Goodman, one of the first woman to speak publicly about her experience of being raped during the Kosovo war, condemned the incident.

“Don’t use our pain and suffering for your own gain,” Krasniqi Goodman wrote on Twitter.

Kosovo politicians also reacted furiously after Brovina displayed the photo on Thursday, calling her actions unethical.

MP Saranda Bogujevci, from the opposition Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) party, argued the photograph should not have been made public.

“Mrs. Brovina, I’m sorry but what you did is completely wrong. You showed the victim and you say she’s alive. Imagine how she feels. This is not treating a person with dignity,” said Bogujevci, who is a war victim herself.

Former Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga, who advocated for the rights of wartime rape victims while she was in office, also criticized the publication of the photo, saying that it could lead to the victim’s identity being discovered.

“The publication of such images that show the rape of a woman by Serbian military forces during the war is a serious shock for thousands of survivors of sexual abuse during the Kosovo war,” said Jahjaga.

“It is disgusting, sickening and shameful that a Kosovo MP who used to raise her voice for the rights of women and men who were raped during the war in Kosovo, today uses the Assembly building of make such a photograph public,” she added.

Meanwhile Kadri Veseli, the speaker of the Kosovo Assembly and leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, said he could not judge the authenticity of the photograph but urged lawmakers to remain focused on his proposal for an international tribunal to judge crimes committed by Serbs.

“Serbia has committed genocide. Serbia has committed rapes. Serbia has committed killings,” Veseli told the Kosovo Assembly on Thursday evening.

17/05/2019 - 10:21

17 May 2019 - 10:21

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.