The General Context
According to sources, 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 Salih Čekić 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.
Notwithstanding the existence of strong evidence about the identity of those responsible for the enforced disappearance of Mr. Salih Čekić and eye-witnesses of the events, to date no one has been convicted, prosecuted and sanctioned for the alleged crimes, thus fostering an overall climate of impunity. Up to this day, the families of men disappeared in Vogošća have not received any information on the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones.
In March 2013, the Human Rights Committee communicated its decision (called “views” in the UN language). The Committee held that Bosnia-Herzegovina violated Article 2.3 in conjunction with Article 6, 7 and 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights with regards to the authors and their disappeared relative. The Committee also found a violation of Article 24 of the Covenant with regard to Samir Čekić.
The Committee requested Bosnia-Herzegovina to continue the efforts to establish the fate and whereabouts of Salih Čekić as required by the Missing Persons Act of 2004, to continue the efforts to bring to justice those responsible for his disappearance and to do so by 2015, as required by the National War Crimes Strategy, to abolish the obligation for family members to declare their missing relatives dead to benefit from social allowances and to ensure adequate compensation.
Moreover, the Committee insisted on Bosnia-Herzegovina’s obligation to prevent similar violations in the future and to ensure that investigations into allegations of enforced disappearances be accessible to the missing persons’ families.