First Prize

Category: Outstanding Contribution to Peace

Real-life Heroines

Author: Nidžara Ahmetašević (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Nidzara Ahmetasevic is a journalist from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She writes about human rights violations, migration, the media, and post-conflict societies while focusing on the Balkans. Her work was published in the region and internationally, including Kosovo2.0, where she was regional editor, BIRN, Mladina, BIlten, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Rolling Stone, Al Jazeera English online, etc. In 2022, she was short-listed for European Press Prize.

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December 29, 2021


On November 8, 2021, after having been sick for some time, Hajra Ćatić, an activist from Srebrenica, left this world. A few days later, her body was laid to rest in her village, close to the Potočari memorial site outside Srebrenica. Hajra hoped not to leave this world before she had the chance to bury the remains of her son Nino who disappeared in July 1995. But he is still missing, and she is now gone. 

For almost three decades Hajra dreamed about the day someone from the Missing Persons Institute in Bosnia and Herzegovina would call her to say they had identified pieces of bone belonging to Nino Ćatić. For the victims of the genocide in Srebrenica — perpetrated by military forces under the command of war criminals Ratko Mladić and Radovan Karadžić — a full body is rarely discovered. Most were executed and then tossed in mass graves scattered around the area before being dug up, moved and reburied multiple times in an attempt to conceal the evidence of the crime. Those whose bodily remains have been found and identified are buried at the memorial site in Potočari where today 6,652 people rest.

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