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Pulitzer-Winning Journalist Made Honorary Citizen Of Sarajevo

Roy Gutman (file photo)

Roy Gutman (file photo)

SARAJEVO -- Journalist Roy Gutman, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for his reporting on ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims and Croats by Bosnian Serb forces, has been made an honorary citizen of Sarajevo, RFE/RL's Balkan Service reports.

Gutman, 66, who reported for "Newsday" from the Balkans and published his dispatches in the multiple-award-winning book "Witness to Genocide" in 1993, was handed the keys to Sarajevo by its mayor, Alija Behmen, at a ceremony to mark Sarajevo Liberation Day on April 6.

"Yesterday I asked the person who nominated me what are the obligations of an honorary citizen of Sarajevo, because this is the first time this has happened to me," Gutman said at the ceremony.

"I never dreamed that this would happen to me. He told me, 'Don't be an ideologue, stay impartial, keep searching for truth.' In that context, I humbly accept this award and I am proud to be a citizen of Sarajevo."

On April 6, 1941, Nazi Germany bombed Sarajevo and began an occupation that lasted four years. Near the same day in 1992, Bosnian Serb paramilitaries and the former Yugoslav People's Army launched artillery and sniper attacks on the city that grew into a 43-month-long siege in which 10,000 people were killed.

Gutman, who is now foreign editor for McClatchy Newspapers in Washington, was one of the first Western journalists to visit and report on Serbian-run camps in western Bosnia where tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Croats were detained, starved, and tortured. Thousands of them died.

Reports about the horrors of the Bosnian war by Gutman and other Western journalists -- including Ed Vulliamy of "The Guardian" and John Burns of "The New York Times" -- helped mobilize the United Nations and Western governments into establishing the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia in 1993.

Dozens of war crimes suspects from all ethnic groups in the former Yugoslavia have been tried and many jailed for war crimes at the tribunal, including Bosnian Serb leaders, commanders, and guards at camps about which Gutman reported.