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OSCE Reports On Conflict-Related Sexual Violence In Bosnia And Herzegovina

OSCE Issues Report On Combating Impunity For Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Bosnia And Herzegovina

SARAJEVO, 21 June 2017 – The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) today in Sarajevo presented the third in a series of reports that highlights progress achieved by the country’s justice sector between 2014 and 2016 in tackling cases of sexual violence committed during the 1992-1995 war, as well as recommendations on how to enhance these efforts.

The report, Towards Justice for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: Progress before Courts in BiH 2014–2016, notes the challenges that remain for ensuring that such cases are processed fairly and that survivors of conflict-related sexual violence are treated with respect throughout the criminal justice process.

“The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina remains committed to assisting the justice sector in the implementation of these recommendations, which I believe will help ensure the best possible outcomes for survivors of sexual violence and for the justice system as a whole,” said the Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH, Ambassador Jonathan Moore, as he addressed members of the justice sector, representatives of the international community, and other stakeholders at today’s presentation.

Edward Ferguson, British Ambassador to BiH said: “Since 2014, the UK has been working with courts and prosecutors’ offices across BiH, and with our international partners, to improve the care provided to survivors of wartime sexual violence.  This report confirms that these efforts have delivered concrete results.  There has been a significant increase in the prosecution of sexual violence cases.  I am particularly pleased that there has also been improvement in caring for the wellbeing, safety and dignity of victims of sexual violence.  I congratulate everyone who has worked hard for this.  Our work will continue, to ensure that more survivors will receive justice, and that they can access key services, including financial and psychological support.”
Bosnian war

“I have to acknowledge the very real progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina on this issue, as reflected in the Report,” emphasized Michelle Jarvis, Deputy to the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. “There is no doubt that this country now has one of the most developed bodies of national practice on conflict-related sexual violence anywhere in the world. This stems from both the volume of cases now prosecuted as well as the multi-faceted factual and legal issues dealt with at increasingly sophisticated levels.”

Commenting on the significance of the OSCE report for the judiciary, Judge Minka Kreho of the Court of BiH noted: “These reports are an excellent reference we can use to increase our understanding of what has been done adequately, what can be improved, and how to further enhance our judicial system so it is in line with contemporary national and international law. This report will be useful not only to practitioners, but also academics and students interested in researching this topic.”

The analysis and recommendations presented in this report on the processing of conflict-related sexual violence cases by the criminal justice system of BiH are based on the findings of the OSCE Mission to BiH’s Trial Monitoring Program.

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[Source: The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe -/- Media Relations]
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