Enforced disappearance of Ibrahim Duric in May 1992

12.02.2016 ( Last modified: 11.10.2016 )
In January 2010, TRIAL submitted a communication to theHuman Rights Committee concerning the enforced disappearance of Ibrahim Durić occurred in May 1992. TRIAL acts on behalf of Nevzeta Durić and of NedžadDurić, respectively mother and brother of Ibrahim Durić. On 14 May 1992 Ibrahim Durić was stopped and interrogated at a check point in Kasindolska Street held by members of the army of the Republika Srpska (VRS) in the suburban neighbourhood of Sarajevo known as Dobrinja. He was in his car together with a friend (Zelimir Vidović) and they were returning from Sarajevo’s Hospital, where they had taken a neighbour who had been heavily wounded in a shelling. That was the last time that Ibrahim Durić was seen alive. His fate and whereabouts remain unknown since then. After the war, Zelimir Vidović’s mortal remains were located, exhumed and identified in Ilidža, another suburban neighbourhood of Sarajevo that was under the control of the Serb army (VRS) during the conflict. More than 18 years after the events, no ex officio, prompt, impartial, thorough and independent investigation has been undertaken by BiH authorities in order to locate Ibrahim Durić or his mortal remains or to identify, prosecute and sanction those responsible. Nevzeta Durić and Nedžad Durić have taken several steps to obtain information about their loved one, through domestic authorities (in particular, the police, the Red Cross of Sarajevo and the State Commission for Tracing Missing Persons) and international organizations (International Committee of the Red Cross). These initiatives have proved vain. On 23 February 2006 the Constitutional Court of BiH, seized by several families of victims of enforced disappearance, including Nevzeta Durić declared a violation by BiH of the right not to be subjected to torture and inhuman and degrading treatment and the right to respect for private and family life of the relatives of disappeared persons. Accordingly, the Court ordered the domestic institutions concerned to disclose all available information on the fate and whereabouts of the disappeared people, including Ibrahim Durić. On 16 November 2006 the Constitutional Court adopted another ruling, whereby it declared that the Council of Ministers of BiH, the government of the Republika Srpska, the government of the Federation of BiH and the government of the Brčko District of BiH failed to enforce its previous decision. Nevertheless, NevzetaDurić and Nedžad Durić have not received any information about their loved one from the mentioned institutions. Consequently, Nevzeta Durić and Nedžad Durić request the Human Rights Committee: to find that Ibrahim Durić is victim of a violation of Article 2.3 (right to a remedy) in conjunction with Articles 6 (right to life), 7 (prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment), 9 (right to liberty and security of person), 10 (right to be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person) and 16 (right to be recognized as a person before the law) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, due to the ongoing failure of BiH authorities to conduct a prompt, impartial, independent and thorough investigation on his arbitrary deprivation of liberty and his subsequent enforced disappearance, in order to establish his fate and whereabouts, as well as to identify those responsible for these crimes and to prosecute, judge and sanction them; to find that Nevzeta Durić and Nedžad Durić are themselves victims of a violation by BiH of Article 2.3 (right to a remedy) in conjunction with Article 7 (prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment) of the Covenant, because of the severe mental distress and anguish caused by Mr. Ibrahim Durić’s enforced disappearance and the ongoing lack of information about the cause and circumstances of Ibrahim Durić’s disappearance as well as on the progress and results of the investigations carried out by BiH authorities; to request BiH to order independent investigations as a matter of urgency with a view to locating Ibrahim Durić and, if necessary, exhuming, identifying, respecting and returning his mortal remains; to request BiH to bring the perpetrators of the arbitrary arrest and subsequent enforced disappearance of Ibrahim Durić before the competent civil authorities for prosecution, judgment and sanction without any further delay; and to request BiH to ensure that Nevzeta Durić and Nedžad Durić obtain integral reparation and prompt, fair and adequate compensation for the harm suffered.

The General Context

It is estimated that between 100,000 and 200,000 persons died as a consequence of the conflict (1992-1995) in BiH and that between 25,000 and 30,000 were victims of enforced disappearance. Approximately 13.000 people remain disappeared to date.

The case of Ibrahim Durić occurred in the context of a first wave of enforced disappearances and “ethnic cleansing” operations perpetrated by the Serb army in the spring and summer of 1992.

To date no one has been convicted, prosecuted and sanctioned for the arbitrary deprivation of liberty and subsequent enforced disappearance of Ibrahim Durić, thus fostering an overall climate of impunity. Up to this day, the family of Ibrahim Durić still has not received any information on the fate and whereabouts of their loved one.

The Decision

On 16 July 2014, the UN Human Rights Committee adopted its decision on the case of Mr. Ibrahim Durić. The Committee found Bosnia and Herzegovina internationally responsible for the violation of several provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In particular, the Committee declared that the State is responsible for not having effectively investigated the arbitrary deprivation of liberty, ill-treatment and enforced disappearance of Mr. Ibrahim Durić. Moreover, BiH subjected Mr. Durić’s mother and brother to inhumane and degrading treatment because it has not unveiled the truth about the fate and whereabouts of their loved one. The Committee reiterated that forcing relatives of disappeared persons to declare their family members dead in order to receive compensation constitutes a form of inhumane and degrading treatment.

The Committee requested Bosnia and Herzegovina to:

– Establish the fate and whereabouts of Mr. Ibrahim Durić;

– Bring to justice those responsible for the crimes concerned without unnecessary delay;

– Ensure that the applicants receive adequate compensation;

– Amend the existing legal framework to make sure that compensation for relatives of disappeared people is not conditioned upon obtaining a death certifica