The story

As the defenders of a besieged Bosnian town prepared to retreat, the prisoners of war held captive in the local jail feared the worst.

"The prisoners were saying, 'If the town falls they will shoot us before they leave,'" recalls Charlotte Lindsey, a Red Cross field worker in the Balkans during the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. "We went to the prison authorities and we said, "Look, you cannot let this happen. You are responsible for these prisoners."

Forty-eight hours later, after the town had been captured, Lindsey and her Red Cross colleagues returned to find the prison empty. But the prisoners had all been found alive and liberated by the incoming army.

"We interviewed some of the prisoners and they said the director of the prison and his deputy had stood in front of them to protect them," says Lindsey, now deputy director of communication for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). "They told us: 'They wanted to kill us but they wouldn't let it happen.'"

Even 15 years later, Lindsey is unable to reveal specific details about where the 1994 incident took place or the identities of the protagonists because of the ICRC's strict policy of confidentiality and neutrality. Read full article »

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