The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Thursday that a case involving two murders during the Bosnian War must be heard in the Constitutional Court of Croatia. The ECHR held that members of the Kušić family did not exhaust all domestic measures for legal redress, which is required under Article 35 Section 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Members of the Kušić family allege that the ongoing murder investigation of their relatives, N.K. and P.K., is inadequate. They did not file a legal complaint in Croatia due to the alleged inadequacy of the investigation, and instead filed with the ECHR.
N.K. and P.K. died in February 1992 as a result of gunshot wounds and were found near the Petrovo field. A man found their bodies and reported the murders to the Sisak police, who began an investigation with the Sisak County State Attorney’s Office. Since 1992, the Attorney’s Office has held interviews with all relevant people and previously declined to reach a settlement for damages with the family. The investigation is still pending.
The ECHR noted that over the years, it has analyzed dozens of cases against Croatia that cite ineffective investigations. However, the ECHR stated that the Constitutional Court of Croatia recently “revised and consolidated its practice and now reviews the ineffectiveness of investigations.” Therefore, the Kušić family must file a lawsuit in Croatia first, and upon termination of that lawsuit, or if those proceedings become “unreasonably protracted,” may file with the ECHR.