Republika Srpska to Include War Torture Victims in Medical Rehabilitation Efforts


TRIAL International, alongside Foundation United Women and Foundation Lara, welcomes the Government of Republika Srpska’s decision to include victims of war torture in the public call for medical rehabilitation. This move aligns with the Law for Protection of Victims of War Torture and marks a significant step towards proper access to the rights of victims of war crimes.

Previously limited to disabled war veterans and families of fallen soldiers, this decision reflects a commitment to upholding human rights. Adrijana Hanušić Bećirović, Senior Legal Advisor at TRIAL in BiH, emphasizes the importance of this step, especially for victims of conflict-related sexual violence: “Three years ago, in our discussions, we noticed that victims have started articulating the need for medical rehabilitation as the consequences they are suffering due to trauma are becoming more prominent with age. Republika Srpska has made an important step forward in the region and we hope that Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which also included this right in its newly adopted Law for the Protection of Civilian Victims of War, will also ensure implementation in practice without delays.”

The allocation of 500,000 BAM by the Ministry of Labor, War Veterans, and Disabled Persons’ Protection underscores the government’s support for victims. However, it’s crucial to ensure streamlined access to rights without administrative barriers, as highlighted by Gorica Ivić, Executive Director of Foundation United Women: “Gorica Ivić, Executive Director of Foundation United Women from Banja Luka, also welcomed the decision: “We hope that the victims will have an opportunity to use this right without additional administrative hurdles and that the status of victim of war torture will be enough to get treatment in institutions that also offer psychosocial support provided by professionals who have trauma-oriented expertise.”

Recent events have further underscored the need for rehabilitation and improved implementation of the Law for Protection of Victims of War Torture. Radmila Žigić from Foundation Lara emphasizes the importance of simplifying administrative procedures and extending deadlines for status applications: “We hope that access to rights will be obtainable without complicated administrative procedures. Also, we still haven’t lost faith that the deadline for status application will be extended for many victims of conflict-related sexual violence and other forms of torture. We expect that government in the RS will put forth the amendmends to the Law in 2024.”

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