BIH: experts demand better identity protection
Imagine having to renounce your own security to claim what is rightfully yours. This is the fate of numerous of victims in BiH who must chose between obtaining reparations and keeping their identity protected.
In many cases, wartime victims are referred to civil courts at the end of a criminal trial in order to claim reparations – with a few noticeable exceptions. In other words, not only must the criminal be found guilty. In most cases, an additional civil court must then decides how much will paid back to victims, when and how.
This shift from criminal to civil proceedings is all but anecdotal: the financial and psychological strain of starting a fresh legal battle is considerable for victims.
Moreover, while victims can chose to remain anonymous in criminal trials, civil proceedings provide no such protection. As a result, survivors of rape and other war crimes must see their names revealed and live in the fear of retaliation and stigma. As a result, many victims are discouraged and chose to give up their right to reparation.
Moving the lines
To address this loophole, national experts have gathered on 9 September to draft a set of amendments to the Law on Civil Procedure and the Law on Enforcement Procedure. The draft legislation will then be submitted to parliamentary procedure.
These amendments demand that after criminal trials, victims of war crimes have continuous protection of identity in civil and enforcement proceedings.
Chaired by TRIAL International, the working group is composed of:
Adrijana Hanušić Bećirović (Senior Legal Adviser),
Antonović Zvjezdana (judge at the Court of BiH),
Džumhur Jasminka (Human Rights Ombudswoman),
Kapetanović Maja (legal expert),
Šehić Nedžla (lawyer specialized in wartime victims representation),
A representative of the Center of Legal Assistance for Women Zenica.