International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Trial Intl.: Bosnia made no concrete steps in helping war sexual abuse victims

June 25, 2020

During Thursday's expert meeting which was organised by the Trial International and Bosnia's Human Rights and Refugees Ministry to discuss UN Committee Against Torture's Decision 854/2017 against Bosnia for not fulfilling its obligations towards a victim of war sexual violence, participants concluded that the country still made no concrete steps in this direction, Trial International said.

The said decision was made due to Bosnia's non-fulfilment of obligations towards the victim of war sexual violence, who was deprived of the effective and enforceable right to adequate and fair compensation, as well as the fullest possible rehabilitation.

Stressing that concrete steps are still missing, Lamia Tiro, Trial International's legal advisor who represented the victim in this case, pointed out that by failing to fulfil its obligations to the aggrieved "A", Bosnia violates not only the UN Convention Against Torture but also other international conventions it signed.

"Failure to comply with this decision would continue the bad practice of disrespecting the decisions of international bodies, which would further damage the reputation of our country. It is important to note that Bosnia, above all, has a legal and moral obligation to victims of war crimes to whom it finally owes a serious approach regarding finding a solution to exercise their rights. It is encouraging that we started a more serious conversation today with representatives of state institutions on this topic, and the time to come will certainly be a test for Bosnian authorities to show whether there is a real readiness to implement this decision," Tiro said.

The deadline for informing the Committee about the steps taken by the country to implement this Decision expired seven months ago, so an expert meeting was organized on the eve of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, which is marked worldwide on June 26, Trial International said in their statement.

The sexual abuse survivor on whose application the decision was made also attended the meeting.

“I felt awful and betrayed by the system. I still live with that today. The compensation means a lot to me. The pain can never be paid, but the compensation gives the survivors the confidence to go further and fight for justice until the end," she said.

The decision, among other things, orders Bosnia and Herzegovina to pay damages and to ensure the provision of appropriate and free medical and psychological assistance as well as an official public apology as soon as possible.

The Assistant Minister for Human Rights and Refugees Saliha Dhuderija emphasized the need to consider the possibility of adopting the Law on the Rights of Victims of Torture, which would offer the solutions discussed in this Decision.

"By this, I primarily mean the amendments to the Law on Obligations and possible amendments to certain decisions concerning the work of prosecutor's offices, because the Court is already considering the possibility of compensating victims of this form of crime in most cases," Djuderija said.

Trial International concluded the statement saying they hope the topic remains in the focus of Bosnia's authorities in the coming period, especially because a new reporting cycle of the UN CAT is coming up.

Source:  http://ba.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a443211/Trial-Intl.-Bosnia-made-no-concrete-steps-in-helping-war-sexual-abuse-victims.html

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