Another victory against impunity for wartime sexual violence
Former Bosnian Serb policeman Dragan Janjić was found guilty of rape and sentenced to 7 years in prison for Crimes against Humanity. He had been charged with rape and sexual abuse of a woman, as well as with encouraging unlawful imprisonments of other Bosniak civilians. The facts go back to 1992, during the widespread and systematic attacks of the Republika Srpska’s army, paramilitary and police forces in Foča Municipality. Dragan Janjić took the woman and her family, and brought them to the police station in Miljevina (near Foča). Separating them, he took her to another room under threat, where he raped and sexually abused her.
In addition to the prison sentence, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina ordered Janjić to pay BAM 15,000 (EUR 7,588.22) to the victim as compensation for her physical and mental suffering. TRIAL International, which has been providing legal assistance to the victim since 2014, welcomes this decision.
“We remain committed to the goal of seeing every instance of conflict-related sexual violence being punished. This verdict is an additional confirmation that the work against impunity is worth fighting,” says Adrijana Hanušić Bećirović Senior Legal Advisor of TRIAL International.
Dragan Janjić is the sixth defendant successfully convicted for wartime sexual assault (with one more defendant on trial) thanks to the long-lasting and persistent efforts of the TRIAL International team in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the fight against impunity for atrocities committed during the 1992-1995 war. Furthermore, TRIAL International paved the way for compensation for victims in criminal proceedings in 2015. Since then, victims of conflict-related sexual violence received compensations in nine different cases.
Today’s victory does not mean that the fight against impunity for war crimes is over. “TRIAL International remains dedicated to its work on enhancing the rights of war survivors, including the fight against impunity as one of the most important aspects,” says Selma Korjenić Head of BiH Program of TRIAL International.
In 2016, TRIAL International successfully introduced an amendment to the State Law on Free Legal Aid which led to implementation of free legal aid by the Ministry of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina in compensation claims. The victim in the Janjić case was the first to benefit from this free aid.