Bosnia and Herzegovina: 12 years in prison for a wartime rapist
Today, Saša Cvetković, a former member of Republika Srpska Army, was found guilty of the rape of two women and a double murder, in Sase, a village near Srebrenica, in 1992. In addition to his 12 year sentence, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina ordered him to pay the amount of 15.000,00 BAM to one of the victims of sexual violence, as compensation for her physical and mental suffering.
“We are extremely happy about this outcome of the first-instance proceeding. This woman has been relentlessly fighting for truth and justice since the war. Her strength and determination can be an inspiration for other survivors and organizations who support them”, stated Adrijana Hanušić Bećirović, Senior Legal Advisor at TRIAL International’s Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Cvetković was charged for the rape of two women and the murder of two civilians. One of the two women, also a client of TRIAL International, was a minor when she was imprisoned in a mine in Sase, forced to work and threatened to be killed by firing squad. During that period, she suffered sexual abuse and multiple rapes committed by several persons, including Cvetković.
Obtaining reparation before a national court
She started her fight for justice in 1993, when she first reported this crime. TRIAL International joined her through permanent legal support since 2013. After countless exchanges of correspondence and meetings with the competent institutions, an appeal lodged with the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina finally led to an investigation being conducted, resulting in Cvetković’s arrest and indictment. The victim also filed a compensation claim, which was ultimately awarded, becoming the 13th case before courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina in which the perpetrator was ordered to pay damages to the survivor of war-time sexual violence.
TRIAL International works tirelessly in the fight against impunity for war crimes committed from 1992 to 1995. In the last five years, the organization has actively contributed to the establishment and development of the practice of awarding compensation to victims within the scope of criminal proceedings.
Today’s victory should serve as a positive incentive to continue the efforts to bring perpetrators to justice, to provide help and support to victims and to ensure compensation for the horrific crimes they endured.