MSF releases “Speaking out: Srebrenica podcast”

9 Mar 2021

February 23rd, 2021 – International medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) releases “MSF Speaking Out: Srebrenica” podcast adapted from the original Speaking Out Case Study (SOCS) “MSF in Srebrenica, 1993 – 2003”. The podcast series is available as a free download at

This new series, comprised of 5 episodes, examines the challenges and dilemmas surrounding ‘speaking out’, that the MSF teams faced during the siege and subsequent massacre which took place in Srebrenica during the Bosnian War of the 1990s.

From 1993, when Bosnian Serb forces besieged the town of Srebrenica, MSF was the only non-governmental humanitarian organisation working inside the enclave. In July 1995, MSF staff witnessed the seizure of this majority Muslim city. Later, there were rumours of mass killings and thousands of people went missing, including MSF staff. Today, around 8,000 people are known to have been killed in and around Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces, despite the presence of United Nations peacekeeping forces in this so-called ‘safe zone’.

For a decade MSF called on the countries involved to hold enquiries to establish where military and political responsibility lay for the enclave’s fall and the abandonment of its people. The context of the war in former Yugoslavia, and more specifically the fall of Srebrenica, raised difficult questions for MSF. The editor of SOCS “MSF in Srebrenica, 1993 – 2003”, Laurence Binet, explains the context: “During this period and in this extreme context, the teams in the field and at HQ had intense debates when facing dilemmas. They deliberated whether, by providing medical aid to a besieged population, they were not contributing, like prison doctors, to the strategy of the besieging Serbian troops. They also had to determine whether they should have called for the evacuation of the civilians who wanted to leave and if this would have abetted the ethnic cleansing policy of the besieging army Or should they have trusted the ability of the UN protection forces to protect civilians?”

This series of podcast offers an in-depth look into these dilemmas through the narration of extracts from MSF documents and press archives to help establish the facts. Interviews with the main MSF protagonists at the time of the events also provide an insight and analysis of the positions they adopted, with personal perspectives from some MSF staff on how they could or should have done things differently.

“MSF Speaking Out: Srebrenica” podcast is the first podcast series adapted from the original MSF Speaking Out Case Studies. The main objective of SOCS is to assist MSF staff and other humanitarians in understanding how speaking out articulates with humanitarian interventions. “Through the creation of this new “Speaking Out” podcast, we are hoping to reach out to a larger number of humanitarians who will engage with SOCS content and through that, further build knowledge, understanding, confidence, and commitment to the act of speaking out. We believe humanitarians engaging with the learnings from the past will more confidently consider and utilise ‘speaking out’ as a tool to enhance operational effectiveness” Concludes Laurence Binet.


About the MSF Speaking Out Case Studies (Also known as SOCS)

The MSF Speaking Out Case Studies (SOCS) is a catalogue of rich case studies documenting critical humanitarian dilemmas surrounding ‘speaking out’ throughout the history of MSF. SOCS are designed to chronicle the memory of the organisation regarding speaking out, which is considered fundamental to MSF’s social mission. Further, SOCS assists MSF staff, association members, and a growing external audience in understanding how speaking out articulates with humanitarian interventions and the evolution of humanitarian action throughout time. SOCS builds knowledge, understanding, confidence, and commitment to the act of speaking out. All case studies are available for download in French and English at