River Defenders Successfully Halt Destruction of the Kruščica River

The women of Kruščica. Photo Credit:  The Pool

The women of Kruščica. Photo Credit: The Pool

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 20, 2018

Contacts: Grant Wilson (gwilson@earthlaw.org) 509 218 9338)

New York, NY (December, 2018)—Today, new BRANA partners, The Women of Kruščica, announced a court case win to protect the Kruščica River, one of the wild rivers in the Blue Heart of Europe.

The Cantonal court in Novi Travnik ruled in favor of the plaintiff and annulled all construction permits issued for two hydropower plants. The women of Kruščica (and the men too) defended the river 24 hours a day, for 502 days. The two plants threatened the integrity of the wild river Kruščica as well as the community’s drinking water supply.

The atmosphere was tense as this new attempt of the investor came almost exactly one year after the women experienced considerable police violence. On August 24th, 2017, Bosnian riot police forces forcibly cleared the drive-up to the bridge; many women who stood peaceful guard on the bridge got hurt, arrested and fined.

Maida Bilal, spokesperson for The Women of Kruščica, said, “Our fight should be a call to action for all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and beyond.  The women of Kruščica have sent a clear message, when many small hands join together, anything can be done! This is our humble message, let's come together and fight together for our future and the future of our children!"

The Patagonia company documentary Blue Heart included the struggle of the women of Kruščica as one of three stories of people fighting to protect Europe’s last wild rivers from the threat of 3,000 proposed hydropower dams in the Balkans. 

This bodes well for a similar initiative in Bosnia to protect the Doljanka River, which is being destroyed by a hydropower plant construction. Additional new BRANA partner, Earth Thrive (establishing nature’s rights in the Balkans) has joined the coalition this month along with Udruzenje za Doljanku Jablanica (local community river defenders).