“I want to write my own future”

He was his village’s sole male survivor during the Srebrenica massacre and even gave evidence at the Hague. Now, Fahrudin Muminovic is hoping to write a whole new chapter in his incredible story as he represents Bosnia and Herzegovina at the 2019 Homeless World Cup in Cardiff.

Muminovic was just seven years old when he watched his father be killed alongside more than 150 people from his village in the massacre in 1995.

As the sound of gunfire and the sight of corpses surrounded him, Muminovic rose from the devastation—alone and afraid—only to find no one knew who he was.

Hidden behind a screen to protect his identity, he then gave evidence against those responsible at the International Court of Justice in the Hague, sending many of them to prison for life.

“For most of his life, I’ve lived in refugee camps, basically as homeless,” said the 31-year-old.

“At the moment, I live with my aunt, uncle and younger sister. But thanks to donations and the organisation International Forum of Solidarity, they are building me a house.”

Despite almost two decades living as a protected witness, Muminovic is proud his identity is no longer a secret.

“Most of my testimony was given anonymously, but a few years ago my story became public and I am proud to say I was that boy who survived.

“A few years ago I was still forbidden to speak openly about it, so I’m very proud to be able to be here and be able to tell the story of what happened to me, my family, and my country.

Left an orphan following his father’s murder and mother’s death just weeks after giving birth to his youngser sister, Muminovic turned to football.

“When I’m at home, it’s very tough because it’s a remote village. But when I’m playing football with my mates or at this tournament, I feel like I’m part of something bigger.

“One of my greatest wishes in life has been to represent my country in something, so it’s a great honour to wear the flag of my country on my chest. Having the chance to represent my country in football is almost as important to me as having a house.

“In the future, I want to be able to tell a happier story of my life.

“I will never, ever forget my past or what has happened, but I want to write my own future rather than be defined by the atrocities of the past.”

Words: David Brockett
Images: Daniel Lipinski / Soda-Visual