The Bleak Visions of Literary Justice for Survivors of Srebrenica: Examining the Fictional Narratives of Srebrenica Genocide in Light of the Insights from Transitional Justice

Part of the Springer Series in Transitional Justice book series (SSTJ, volume 6)


Genocide in Srebrenica understandably remains an obsessive topic of public discourse in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Seventeen years later, identifications of mortal remains of more than 8,000 Srebrenica victims and burial ceremonies still continue, along with limited official and unofficial transitional justice efforts in the country covering, inter alia, Srebrenica atrocities. Nonetheless, literary justice for Srebrenica lags behind and is even more pessimistic than the bleak ‘reality of the transitional’ itself. In this chapter, we note a symptomatic correlation between the visions of the future of Srebrenica survivors offered by the ICTY and those presented in the Bosnian literature of genocide. In literary works on the Srebrenica genocide examined in this chapter, codification, mythologization and portrayal of the survivors as voiceless and distant prisoners of the past essentially incapable of healing still remain dominant narrative patterns. We argue that such an approach to fictionalizing the Srebrenica genocide is part of the broader social context in which politically influenced mythologization, on the one hand, and denial of genocide, on the other, continue to shape public discourse on this horrific crime. In such a scenario, fiction can hardly be expected to realize its considerable potential to contribute to dealing with the Srebrenica atrocities. Concluding the chapter, we briefly indicate some possible literary strategies and cultural policy interventions that could enable diversification and improved reception of fictional narratives of Srebrenica, all of which would also put fictional literature in a position to make a substantive contribution to general transitional justice efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Literary Work Trial Chamber Transitional Justice Truth Commission Fictional Narrative 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Louis Bickford for valuable and detailed comments on an earlier draft and anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments. We are also grateful to the editorial team for their helpful guidance and patience.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Philosophy University of SarajevoSarajevoBosnia and Herzegovina
  2. 2.Analitika—Center for Social ResearchSarajevoBosnia and Herzegovina

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