victims helped


legal professionals trained


ongoing cases at domestic level


annual budget (CHF)

21 years after the conflict ended, political tensions remained prevalent in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in 2016. Victims pay the high price for this political maneuvering and still face considerable hurdles in accessing justice.

Paving the way to compensation claims

In 2015, TRIAL International established a historic precedent: a victim was awarded compensations in criminal proceedings. This year, the organization sought to disseminate the practice countrywide, including at entity level.

Five sexual violence victims were granted compensation before the Court of BiH, two of which were supported by TRIAL International. The Doboj District Court was the first entity-level jurisdiction to follow the same path thanks to TRIAL’s advocacy.

“Compensation is the punishment that victims get”

What better way to advocate for this practice than giving the floor to victims themselves? All too often reduced to a passive role, nine courageous women testified on the importance of compensation and their frustration at the Bosnian system.

Sexual violence survivors tell their stories on justice and compensation

Making the justice system more victim-centered

Legal fees have long-since been a deterrent for victims seeking compensation. TRIAL International drafted an amendment to the law and lobbied for free assistance for compensation claims – and succeeded!

Historic decision allows dozens of victims to uphold their rights

Until State-aid is fully established, TRIAL International relies on NGOs and legal professionals to disseminate the practice. During a one-day workshop, it drummed up support for the integration of compensation claims in pro bono assistance.

Access to justice: a right, not a privilege

Similarly, anonymity is not guaranteed in civil proceedings, resulting in victims being vulnerable when seeking compensation. TRIAL International put together an expert working group to prepare amendments guaranteeing full identity protection.

Wartime survivors endangered when seeking redress

What makes TRIAL International’s work in BiH unique?

  • It is the only NGO to adopt a multifaceted approach to victims’ support, combining strategic litigation, free legal assistance, advocacy and capacity-building for legal professionals.
  • It succeeded in changing the law to make legal assistance for compensation free.
  • It was the first to establish the awarding of compensation in criminal proceedings.

After 24 years, Alma M. received her due