Slow pace stifles Bosnia’s local war crimes cases

05 November 2014 by Nidzara Ahmetasevic

Criticism in Bosnia of national war crimes prosecutions has been mounting, with victims’ organizations saying Sarajevo is not doing enough to bring all perpetrators in the bloody 1992-1995 conflict to justice and the European Union last month noting an “unsatisfactory pace”. 

The European Commission’s six-month progress report on Bosnia said that while the state prosecutors responsible for war crimes cases increased staffing levels, the numbers in cases had not improved. 

“The implementation of the national war crimes strategy continues, although at an unsatisfactory pace, and the body in charge of its supervision requires additional support from all authorities,” the commission wrote.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which has been monitoring local war crimes prosecutions from 2004, says that between then and March 2013, Bosnia completed 214 cases dealing with 235 persons. This figure is a far cry from what Bosnia envisaged in its National Strategy for War Crimes Prosecution, established in 2008. The goal was to complete all estimated 350 high-ranking cases before the War Crimes Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the end of 2015. For other cases, a 15-year deadline was set.

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