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Rights group urges justice for victims of sexual violence during Bosnian civil war

Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] called Wednesday for reparations and greater recognition for the victims of sexual violence during [press release] the Bosnian Civil War [JURIST news archive]. The briefing paper [text, PDF] calls on the Republika Srpska (RS) [official website] to recognize that widespread sexual violence occurred during the war and to take steps to address the specific needs of those victims. AI suggested this should be done by gathering information about the victims to assess their needs, ensuring that proper medical and psychological care is available, amending the law on civilian victims to cover a broad array of injuries resulting from sexual violence, and making NGO's and other victims' associations available to provide support. AI emphasized that justice for the survivors requires both prosecution of the perpetrators and rehabilitation of the victims. While the RS is making progress in the prosecution, its silence on the issues directly affecting the victims of sexual violence is unacceptable for AI.

Bosnian courts have continued prosecuting individuals responsible for human rights abuses, especially surrounding the 1995 Srebrenica massacre [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Earlier this month a Bosnian court acquitted two policemen [JURIST report] accused of war crimes. In June the country's war crimes court sentenced [JURIST report] four former Bosnian Serb soldiers for their involvement in the 1995 massacre. In May US resident Dejan Radojkovic was deported [JURIST report] to Bosnia and Herzegovina to stand trial before the country's court for his actions as a police commander in Srebrenica during the 1995 massacre. He was arrested in 2009 after it was revealed that he did not disclose his involvement in the conflict and his appeal was rejected in February. He was the second to be deported after his commanding officer, Nedjo Ikonic, was deported in 2010 [JURIST report]. A day earlier the war crimes court convicted [JURIST report] Dusko Jevic and Mendeljev Djuric for taking part in the killing of 1,000 Muslim men during the massacre after it found that the two former Bosnian Serb police officers were guilty of aiding and abetting genocide.

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