victims supported


new cases
at international level


legal practitioners trained


annual budget (CHF)

Strong local implantation and a widely recognized expertise have secured several advocacy successes for TRIAL’s longest-running country program.

Upholding victims’ rights to truth, justice and effective remedy 

Bosnian justice after the ICTY

The closing of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in December 2017 put the question of justice in the Balkans back in the spotlight. The Tribunal’s legacy was widely hailed as a milestone for international justice, no less in the field of sexual violence prosecution. However, prominent judgment such the Mladic verdict also rekindled ethnic tensions in BiH, further exacerbated by upcoming elections.

ICTY has “blazed a trail” for victims’ empowerment


With the ICTY closing its doors, the onus is now on the States to judge all the rest of the alleged criminals. Upon his visit in May 2017, Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz addressed the topic with TRIAL International, looking at ways to facilitate access to justice – including the right to reparations – for victims.

Serge Brammertz: “Bringing meaningful justice to the victims”

In 2017, TRIAL International contributed to an analysis of BiH’s judicial system to the European Commission. As part of the country’s application to European Union membership, civil society organizations were invited to assess, among other topics, its compliance with European standards in the field of law and justice.

Spreading good practice on reparation rights

In partnership with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, TRIAL International held a roundtable to bolster and facilitate free support to wartime victims seeking compensation in criminal proceedings.

Between a rock and a hard place: wartime victims still denied reparation

An additional hurdle is the wide discrepancy of practices between regions of BiH in regard to compensations claims. To facilitate harmonization, TRIAL International issued a guidebook compiling good practices nationwide. Each example clarifies, among other things, the sums awarded and how they were established. As part of the same effort, the organization issued a second publication on the enforcement of reparations decisions.

Significant improvements underway for sexual violence victims

As long as civil proceedings remain the norm for compensation claims, the most vulnerable victims will struggle to uphold their rights. Unlike criminal courts, civil courts do not offer any protection measures such as anonymity, discouraging many potential claimants.

To make proceedings safer for victims, TRIAL International approached several institutions, proposing amendments to Codes of Civil Procedure. After a series of successful meetings, all stakeholders agreed to support TRIAL International’s propositions. The State Ministry of Justice pledged to include them in its workplan for 2018.

Protecting war victims from stigma and trauma

TRIAL International’s unique role in BiH

  • It is the only NGO to adopt a multifaceted approach to victims’ support, combining strategic litigation, free legal assistance, advocacy and capacity-building.
  • It triggered the practice of awarding compensation in criminal proceedings.
  • It contributed to bringing two new sexual violence suspects to justice.


Indictment of war suspect rekindles hope for rape victim