In Srebrenica in 1995, 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were killed by Serb Military and Paramilitary units under the direct command of the Government of Serbia led by Slobodan Milosevic in what the International Criminal Court labeled a genocide. After this war crime, Peter Handke, the recipient of the 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature, traveled through Serbia, writing a text subtitled “Justice for Serbia.” He later spoke at the funeral of Slobodan Milosevic, the former president of the Republic of Serbia who was tried for crimes against humanity in The Hague, but who died before a verdict was reached.
On December 10, the day Handke received the Nobel Prize, reporters and photographers who documented these crimes used the hashtag #bosniawarjournalists to testify to what happened during that war and its aftermath.
VII Photo Agency Director and Co-Founder, Gary Knight, posted this photograph of his friend Mevludin Oric. Mevludin survived a mass execution at Srebrenica by falling to the ground when the machine guns opened up and spent the night hiding under his cousin’s body. He relives that experience every day
Explore more photos and stories, including those by VII’s Ron Haviv, Paul Lowe, Christopher Morris, Sara Terry, and Ziyah Gafic here.
Gary Knight, the Director and a founding member of VII Photo Agency, will be president of the jury this year at the Bayeux Calvados-Normandy Award in October.
“It is a great privilege to be invited to Chair the jury of the Bayeux Award for war correspondents this year and to honor the men and women who file dispatches and images from fields of conflict. It is especially poignant to do this at a time when our media are increasingly under attack by politicians and governments – even in countries where a free press is enshrined in the constitution. War reporting is a vital and essential function of journalism. It is critical to civil society, to our sense of justice and accountability and to basic human rights.
As the late Marie Colvin said in 2010, two years before she was killed in Homs: “The public have a right to know what our government, and our armed forces, are doing in our name. Our mission is to speak the truth to power. We send home that first rough draft of history. We can and do make a difference in exposing the horrors of war and especially the atrocities that befall civilians.”
These photographs represent fragments of personal projects that some of the photographers of VII are working on or assignments that they received in 2017. It is neither a definitive look at the year, or of VII, but a window into the world we have had the privilege to photograph this past year.
Photo by Joachim Ladefoged / VII. Filipino president Duterte’s war on drugs. An overcrowded prison cell at Police station 1 in the Tondo district in Manila, the Philippines on April 27, 2017. More than seventy people are crammed into a cell made to hold only forty.
Photo by Ruddy Roye / VII. Tim, A gay man who has been living with HIV shares his story about leaving his homophobic community in the Delta, to find a more liberal way of life in Jackson Mississippi.
Photo by Linda Bournane Engelberth / VII. The photographer's cousin, Sarah, shows how she covered her head when she got married. Alger, Algeria.
Photo by Antonin Kratochvil / VII. A dancer from the National Theatre Ballet on stage at Prague's National Theatre.
Photo by Maggie Steber / VII. The Secret Garden of Lily LaPalma: Edward Hopper's bedroom January 2017.
Photo by Zackary Canepari / VII. Olympic Gold Medal Boxer Claressa "T-Rex" Shields, 20, at Gallo Boxing Gym in Lansing, Michigan.
Photo by Gary Knight / VII. Nguon Lap. 44. Fisherwoman and farmer. L’Vea Village. Seam Reap Provence.Ms. Nguon is a single mother of three children. Like many villagers she fishes and farms to provide food for the table, any excess she sells or trades. Her village is at the northern foot of the holy mountain of Phnom Kulen, a small mountain of immense cultural and historical significance in Cambodia. It is where the Khmer Empire that built the temples of Angkor Wat was born in the 9th century and an area of intense fighting during the civil war in Cambodia that followed the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1978. I walked through L’Vea village on a long-range patrol with KPNLF and Khmer Rouge soldiers in 1990. I revisited this village for the VII Foundation, working on a project that investigates the successes and failures of peace treaties in 6 different countries. I met Ms. Nguon who was setting fish traps in a brook at the northern edge of the village. “Life is better than it was before. In the past, there was a lot of fighting here and we could not move freely because we were afraid of being killed and we were afraid of the soldiers. In this area, there were many Khmer Rouge. Now there is no more fighting and my children can attend school. What we need most here is good roads so that we can take our produce to market and water pumps because we have none in the village. We drink rain water or use water from the rice paddies or the river.My husband left me three years ago so I have to take care of my children by myself. My parents taught me to fish. I fish every day”
Photo by Tomas van Houtryve / VII. Donald Trump supporters, John Henson, far left, and Mike Wick, center left smile while Barack Obama supporter, Marvellous Guerrier, center right, remains somber at the National Mall during the Inauguration Day ceremony in Washington, DC on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2017.
Photo by Esa Ylijaasko / VII Mentor Program. Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan celebrate the referendum results on the streets of Istanbul, Turkey in April 2017.
Photo by Sara Terry / VII. Women, and men, march down Main Street, with snow falling and temperatures in the twenties, during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The march, organized by comedian Chelsea Handler, was one of dozens across the US, the day after Donald Trump was sworn in as President.
Photo by Mojgan Ghanbari / VII Mentor Program. 25-year-old Roya poses for a portrait in her room in Karaj, Iran in August of 2017.
Photo by Nichole Sobecki / VII. Ayan Abdi Ahmed meets Maryam Hussein to catch up after work at Horyal Secondary School, where Maryam works as a teacher, in Dadaab Refugee, Kenya on July 20, 2017. Both friends applied for a WUSK scholarship this year but only Ayan was accepted. Ayan — a Somalia refugee living in Dadaab camp in northern Kenya — was accepted into WUSC's Student Refugee Program. The Canadian program offers the winners a full scholarship to college, plus permanent residence and the possibility to eventually secure citizenship for their families.
Photo by Ilvy Njiokiktjien / VII. John Francis, 12, poses with a mask he found in the IDP camp in Wau in Western Bahr-el-Gazal, South Sudan in March 2017.
Photo by Franco Pagetti / VII. Amatrice, Itay, May 29, 2017. 10 months after the earthquake, many collapsed building remain in the same situation. The residents had to leave and stay with parents, some far away from Amatrice. The tower clock marks the hour when the first shock was reported on the 26 of August at 3:36 AM.
Photo by Jessica Dimmock / VII. Students of Northwestern Academy dance during their senior prom on the Detroit Princess Riverboat in Detroit, MI on May 26, 2017.
Photo by Danny Wilcox Frazier / VII. A small dog at sunset in Allen, Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota (2017).
Photo by Stefano De Luigi / VII. Mohammed Saadi, owner of the only emporium left in the village of Al Burj in the West Bank, on May 30, 2017.
Photo by Ron Haviv / VII. A survivor of the genocide in Srebrenica, takes a moment at the grave of a family member, moments after Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic was convicted of genocide by the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on November 22, 2017.
Photo by Ed Kashi / VII. Looking into the eyes of teenagers is a window into the present and a glimpse into the future. The eyes filling this grid are those of Jewish, Muslim and Christian high school students, ages 15 to 18, photographed in Israel in May of 2017.
Photo by Christopher Morris / VII. Supreme Court of The United States in the East Conference room of the Supreme Court, a ceremonial room used for meetings, receptions, and special events, on May 31, 2017. Seated from left, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, and Associate Justice Stephen Breyer.Standing behind from left, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr., Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Photo by Anush Babajanyan / VII. Anjelika Ayaryan, 10, stands under a tree as her friend Tatevik picks berries in Shushi, Nagorno Karabakh, on June 3, 2017. Anjelika is one of the seven Ayaryan children. She lives and studies in Shushi, Nagorno Karabakh together with her two sisters. The rest of their family lives in Martakert, Nagorno Karabakh.
Photo by Ashley Gilbertson / VII Photo for UNICEF. Amira Raslan's children, Amr (left), 8, and Karam, 5, prepare for home made dinner at home inside the Marienfelde emergency reception center on September 3, 2017. Amr was experiencing psycological difficulties last year, with invasive memories of fighting in Syria, and today, after more than a year of school, and counselling from his parents, he appears to be far more outgoing and happier. "I was talking to him a lot, often while he was playing. We talked about Syria all the time. He always wanted to know what was happening in syria. He wanted to know why we are here and why we couldn't go home." Said Amira, "He didn't understand what we are. So I told him 'you are a Syrian boy. We are Syrian people. We went to Lebanon for a short time, and then to Germany because that's where your grandpa is. Here you can dream of better, beautiful, future.'"This camp was built in 1953 to house refugees escaping East Germany, and since the 2015 refugee crisis, it has been used by the government to house refugees, largely from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The Raslan family arrived in Berlin in December, 2015, and have been settled in three different types of refugee housing since then.
Photo by Ziyah Gafic / VII. Athletes preparing for diving competition from a dam in old town Sarajevo on August 30, 2017.
Photo by Daniel Schwartz / VII. An Orthodox Jew is on his way to the Synagogue Agudas Achim in the Aussersihl district of Zurich on May 22, 2017.