In 1992, Lejla B. (assumed name) left her hometown of Zivinice to join her 19-years old son in Bosanski Samac. Upon arrival, she found that the Army of the Republika Srpska was occupying the town. They had sent her son to a forced labor camp where he was eventually shot on 3 July 1992. On the week of her son’s death, Lejla B. was arrested by three policemen and taken herself to the Zasavica forced labor camp. Lejla B. stayed there for 10 months, under inhumane conditions and forced labor. On three occasions she was raped by a member of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republika Srpska.
After years of silence suffering, Lejla B. found the strength to demand justice in 2007, but the authorities took no subsequent action. TRIAL International offered her its support in 2010, pushing the authorities to open an investigation and to prosecute the perpetrator.
Finally, in 2013, the trial of Dragoljub Kojic started before the Doboj Court. The Court found him guilty of rape and war crimes against civilian population and sentenced him to a three-year prison sentence. In November 2013, the Supreme Court of Republika Srpska confirmed this verdict. The Doboj Court declined, however, to grant the victim compensation and referred her back to a civil court.
TRIAL International also assists victims to claim compensation in civil procedures but highlights, however, that further proceedings can be straining on the victims’ psyche and budget. The NGO advocates for the inclusion of compensation claims directly in the criminal proceedings.