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Bosnia and Herzegovina

    September 12, 2017

    A quarter of a century after the start of the conflict, more than 20,000, survivors of wartime sexual violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina are still being denied justice, said Amnesty International in a new report.

    “We need support, not pity:” Last chance for justice for Bosnia’s wartime rape survivors reveals the devastating physical and psychological consequences of these crimes and the unjustifiable barriers preventing women from accessing the support they need and the legal redress to which they are entitled.

    “More than two decades after the war, tens of thousands of women in Bosnia are still piecing together their shattered lives with little access to the medical, psychological and financial assistance they desperately need,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director.

    “As each year passes, so does the prospect of ever attaining justice or receiving the support to which they are entitled. These women can not forget what happened to them and neither should we.”

    March 24, 2016

    Today’s guilty verdict handed down by a UN Court in The Hague against former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadžić for genocide and other crimes under international law marks a major step towards justice for victims of the armed conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina, said Amnesty International.

    The Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found Karadžić guilty on one count of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity and four counts of war crimes for his role in the armed conflict, both for his individual responsibility and as part of a joint criminal enterprise.

    He was sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment. His lawyers have said they will appeal.

    “This judgment confirms Radovan Karadžić’s command responsibility for the most serious crimes under international law carried out on European soil since the Second World War,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    December 14, 2015

    Twenty years after the signature of the peace agreement that ended the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, resolving the thousands of cases of enforced disappearances still remains utopic while discrimination and a shameful lack of political will still block access to justice, truth and reparation for victims, said Amnesty International.

    While the Dayton peace agreement, signed on 14 December 1995 in Paris, did in fact bring an end to the armed conflict that had killed more than 100,000 people since 1992, leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina have since failed to show a full commitment to justice and reparation.

    “Leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina must immediately unblock access to justice, truth and reparation for war crimes, including for victims of sexual violence. These fundamental steps would allow the country to advance by finally laying to rest grievances of the past,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    July 10, 2015

    Released 11 July 2015 00.01 BST

    Thousands of families of the victims of the Srebrenica genocide continue to be denied justice, truth and reparation, said Amnesty International today as the world marks the 20th anniversary of the massacre that left more than 8,000 dead.

    “Two decades after the world averted its gaze from the worst crime to be committed on European soil since 1945, the families of the victims of the Srebrenica genocide are still awaiting justice,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    “Rather than fading with time, the need for all authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to acknowledge and atone for these crimes remains as urgent as ever. The longer the guilty enjoy impunity and the dead remain in mass graves, the longer this painful wound will fester fueling dangerous and persistent ethnic divisions.”

    July 09, 2015
    Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial Centre © Amnesty International

    By Steve Crawshaw, the director of the Office of the Secretary General at Amnesty International and a former Eastern Europe editor of The Independent. Follow Steve on Twitter @stevecrawshaw

    Srebrenica. A drive through eastern Bosnia seems to be full of sleepy Balkan charm. The landscape is one of wooded hills, small farmsteads, abundant plum orchards. The road winds its way through maize fields beside the quiet river Drina. In the woods, a cuckoo calls on a midsummer’s day. All is peaceful.

    As is so often the case, landscapes deceive. Twenty years ago, this idyllic setting was the scene of the worst crimes committed on European soil since 1945. The world looked the other way, as genocide was committed in and near the town of Srebrenica.

    Here, more than 8,000 men and boys were murdered in a series of executions and massacres in the days after Srebrenica fell to Bosnian-Serb forces on 11 July 1995. Almost a generation later, it is still unclear whether wounds have even begun to heal.

    July 08, 2015

    Russia’s veto of a UN Security Council resolution on the Srebrenica genocide is an affront to the families of the victims of the massacre and will hinder attempts at reconciliation between the communities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said Amnesty International.

    “The massacre of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in July 1995 revealed the tragic flaws in the UN’s response to the Bosnian war. Twenty years on, the UN Security Council’s failure to recognise the killings as genocide is an insult to the memory of the dead,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    “This resolution was about much more than just recognizing Srebrenica as a genocide. It was also about the acknowledging the urgent need to provide justice to the victims and long-term support to survivors, including survivors of sexual violence, and clarifying the fate and whereabouts of the over 8,000 still missing from the war.”

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