Newsletter - December 2015


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UN decision rekindles hope for wife of a disappeared


The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina began in 1992. Amongst the victims of the first year of atrocities was Ermin Kadiric.


Ermin Kadiric was at home when the Army of Republika Srpska stormed his village. Tortured then murdered along with other men, he was left lying lifeless on the ground. This was the last time his wife Emira Kadiric saw him.


More than twenty years after the end of the war, Emira Kadiric and her son are still trying to find out the whereabouts of the mortal remains of their loved one, whose name has simply been entered in a register of the “disappeared”. 


They wish to have him buried with dignity and mourn him according to their customs and religious beliefs. Unfortunately, their efforts to learn the truth have  gone unheeded.


However, Emira Kadiric may now be able to breathe a sigh of relief. Following a complaint lodged by TRIAL in 2011, the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) has finally provided her with reason for renewed hope.


In a recent decision, the HRC instructed the Bosnian authorities to shed full light on this affair, to fight against the impunity of the perpetrators and to provide full psychological and medical assistance to Emira and her son.


TRIAL now expects that BiH will do all in its remit to guarantee justice and make reparations to the victims.




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Working in a hostile environment: ongoing violence and abuses in Burundi


The political crisis that followed President Pierre Nkurunziza’s  third term has trapped the country in a spiral of deterioration.


Extra-judicial killings, acts of torture, illegal detentions and harassment of human rights defenders and journalists... in Burundi, serious and numerous crimes are commited with total impunity.   


Unjustified limitations on freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are added to this dramatic picture. The UN Security Council has condemned those severe human rights violations. However, the impact of its calls is not yet felt. 


Several local NGOs in the country were forced to close down. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights deplored this "attempt by Burundian authorities to silence dissenting voices and to limit the democratic space".


TRIAL is deeply preoccupied by the scope of the ongoing violence and strongly condemns all the abuses committed. Notwithstanding the threatening context, TRIAL will continue to defend victims and to promote justice and the reinforcement of the rule of law in the country. 




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Training completed for seven dedicated lawyers


This Saturday, seven lawyers of Bukavu have reached the final step of their training offered by TRIAL in South Kivu. The diploma ceremony was a high moment. And the opportunity to measure all the work accomplished.


For a year, those dedicated lawyers explored all the means to bring the voice of victims of international crimes before regional and international jurisdictions. This exhaustive training also included the defense of victims before national tribunals.


The insight provided during this intense year of learning bore its fruit. This training allowed 40 victims of severe violations to be defended before Congolese tribunals. Whether they were victims of sexual violence, of torture or of arbitrary detention, their voice was finally heard.


And the fight against impunity continues: in the forthcoming weeks, six cases of severe crimes they have been working on will be brought before the UN Human Rights Committee and the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.


TRIAL created a real network of lawyers and human rights defenders. We are convinced that working by their side will bring forward the fight against impunity in the DRC.


Follow our training on STORIFY!







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Record damages awarded to a victim of sexual violence


On 19 October of this year, following proceedings which lasted two years, the Cantonal Court of Bihac (Bosnia and Herzegovina) found a Bosnian citizen guilty of rape committed against an underage girl during the war in the Balkans. At the time she was only fourteen years old.


Ten years afterwards, during which he benefitted from total impunity, the perpetrator was traced to Switzerland as a result of investigations carried out by TRIAL. The NGO subsequently reported their findings to the Swiss and Bosnian authorities and at the same time provided legal support to the victim in her search for justice and dignity.


Legal proceedings were opened up in Switzerland for war crimes. The suspect however decided to hand himself in to the Bosnian judicial authorities, proposing to them that he would admit his guilt and compensate his victim in return for a reduced prison sentence.


The amount of compensation decided upon was the highest ever amount awarded to a victim of sexual violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Though no monetary settlement can ever erase the atrocious nature of this crime, it may perhaps procure a small measure of relief and dignity to help her overcome such a traumatic ordeal.

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The younger generation, determined to fight against sexual violence


During the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, more than 20 000 women were raped or sexually abused.


Twenty years have passed, but every day, many of those women still have to face the traumas they suffered. Stigmatized and finger-pointed by their communities, they are often living in poor conditions.


In the country, many professionals try, at all costs, to bring them justice. However, they are not in possession of all the knowledge needed in order to offer them the best legal assistance. Indeed, in a country leaving behind victims of sexual violence, legal training on this subject is often deficient.


In order to help them in this struggle, TRIAL organized a training in Sarajevo, in November.


During two days, young professionals with a legal background were initiated to the referring of cases to the Constitutional Court of BiH and the European Court of Human Rights.


They were also trained on the best ways to put pressure on the authorities in order for them to comply with their international obligations.


TRIAL is convinced that the determination of these young defenders will bring forward the fight against impunity in BiH.








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The year is coming to a close, a perfect time to measure what we have accomplished together.


First, we wished to warmly thank all of those who supported us in our fight for justice. Thank you for your encouragement, your donations, and for showing solidarity.


Without your unwavering support, the challenge would be hard to meet. Indeed, the perpetrators of severe violations all too often benefit from impunity. On the other hand, too many victims of severe crimes still strive to obtain justice. 


Struggles have nonetheless been won this year. TRIAL trained more than 80 lawyers and human rights defenders. And the voice of many victims has finally been heard. 


In 2015, TRIAL had the honor to receive the “Genève reconnaissante” medal, rewarding its commitment to international law. Following the long fight against the crimes committed by Erwin Sperisen, the latter was sentenced to life imprisonmentAnd the fight against impunity continues.


We will be back in February 2016 with the first Newsletter of the year. In the meantime, we extent to you our best wishes for this new year. May it be a year of peace and justice. 


TRIAL brings justice to victims of international crimes

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