International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Historic ruling of Bosnia's Const. Court in wartime property compensation case

October 14, 2020

Bosnia’s Constitutional Court ruled in favour of the appeal by Bejtulah and Jakup Ilijazi against the country’s semi-autonomous Republika Srpska (RS) entity, ruling that they are entitled to receive compensation for their house in Gradiska that was burnt down in 1993.

On July 2, 2018, Bejtulah and Jakup Ilijazi from Negotin, Republic of North Macedonia, filed an appeal with Bosnia’s Constitutional Court of Bosnia against earlier rulings of the Supreme Court of the Republika Srpska and the District Court in Banja Luka. 

Bejtulah and Jakup Ilijazi were forced to leave Gradiska in 1993 due to the war. When they came back after the war ended, they found that their house was burnt down and that there is no record of it in the RS Ministry of Interior, Prosecutor’s Office or court.

The two sued Republika Srpska, the RS Ministry of Interior and the Gradiska municipality for compensation in 2003.    

RS courts rejected their claim, arguing that the statute of limitations has expired.

Bosnia’s Constitutional Court, however, ruled in favour.

"Having in mind the facts of the specific case, the Constitutional Court considers it indisputable that the house owned by the appellants was destroyed, as well as that the competent public authorities did not investigate the circumstances under which the house in question was destroyed,” it said.

"The Constitutional Court considers that the presented facts indicate the existence of a certain criminal offence and that the competent public authorities were obliged to investigate the said event. Considering that the investigation was not conducted (the police station that is located in the vicinity where the event took place does not even have it registered in its records), the Constitutional Court finds that the Republika Srpska has not fulfilled its positive obligation, thus violating the appellants' right to property. Therefore, the appellants must be compensated for the damage caused by the destruction of their property,” it said.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a478432/Historic-ruling-of-Bosnia-s-Const.-Court-in-wartime-property-compensation-case.html

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