October 2014





More to be done to address enforced disappearances


Following its visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involun-tary Disappearances (WGEID) issued recommendations in June 2010 on ways to guaran-tee the rights of families of missing persons.


Since then, TRIAL and 6 Bosnian associations closely followed-up the implementation of the process.

They recently submitted a new report to the WGEID, deploring that most of its previous recom-mendations were still not carried out.


In its latest decision, the WGEID echoed all the concerns expressed by TRIAL and its partners.


The WGEID in particular calls on BiH to:


- complete the Central Record of Missing Persons and set up the Fund for Support to the Families of Missing Persons

- speed up the adoption of the Transitional Justice Strategy


- amend domestic criminal legislation to codify enforced disappearance as an autono-mous crime


- remove the possibility of granting amnesty for crimes under international law

- ensure that the perpetrators of the most serious crimes committed during the war are not systematically retried and freed pending their retrial.


TRIAL urges BiH to implement all these recommendations without further delay.





Swiss court issues Erwin Sperisen’s complete verdict 


Geneva Criminal Court recently issued its verdict rendered last June in the Sperisen case.


The former Chief of Police of Guatemala was found guilty of seven extrajudicial killings in Guatemala and condemned to a life sentence by the Swiss judicial authorities.   


The defense lawyers, who announced their intention to appeal, had 20 days to inform the tribunal of their arguments.


A new trial could take place in the coming months if Erwin Sperisen and his lawyers opposed the judgment but Erwin Sperisen will anyhow remain in custody in the meantime.


Philip Grant, Director of Trial, considers that:


This decision shows that the ideal of justice pursued by so many, in Switzerland and in Guatemala, can be achieved.


The fight against impunity and for human dignity are the winners of the verdict rendered by the Criminal Court of Geneva."



Read the summary of the judgment (in French)


Read the full judgment
(in French)



















27 relatives of disappeared persons obtain justice at last


TRIAL has just won 13 cases before the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) concerning the arbitrary deprivation of liberty, torture and enforced disappear-ance of 13 men in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in 1992.


The Committee has indeed declared BiH responsible for the violation of several provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and condemned BiH for:


- the lack of effective inves-tigation, prosecution and sanc-tion of those responsible for these crimes

- not having established the fate and whereabouts of the dis-appeared.


The HRC also found violations against the relatives of the vic-tims, 10 of which were minors when the events took place and were thus exposed to additional suffering.


BiH has 180 days left to take action and inform the Committee of the measures taken to imple-ment the decisions, in particular to:


- unveil the truth on the fate of the 13 victims


- prosecute and sanction those responsible for the crimes con-cerned without unnecessary delay


- provide adequate compen-sation to the 27 applicants.


TRIAL welcomes this decision but urges BiH to establish proper tools for providing adequate compensation to the families.



Read the full newsrelease



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