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A Bosnian court decision sets an important precedent for civilian victims of the 1990s wars.12 April 2018
Bosnia’s Constitutional Court last month scrapped court fees issued to the victims of rape during Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war. Many war-time rape victims were previously ordered to pay such fines after they saw their reparation claims rejected.
The Constitutional Court’s decision was praised by right lawyers and a victims association, Reuters reports.
A court in the Republika Srpska entity ordered one woman to pay 3,000 Bosnian marks ($1,900) in court fees. The Constitutional Court said that the fees constituted a “disproportional and unreasonable burden” for the victims.
“This [ruling] is very significant for all former camp detainees/torture victims who have filed reparation lawsuits … and should represent a turning point for Bosnia-Herzegovina institutions towards the war torture victims,” Bosnia’s war prisoner association wrote in a statement, as cited by Reuters.
The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina recognized sexual assault as a war crime in 2006 and now compensates victims with a monthly 500 mark payment. The other entity, Republika Srpska, does not recognize rape as a war crime, the Japanese daily Mainichi says.
The Republika Srpska legislature has thus far blocked attempts to create nationwide laws on war victims.
In a series of articles, Mainichi examines the lingering trauma of wartime rape on Bosnian women.
The town of Visegrad, now located in Republika Srpska, was the center of thorough ethnic cleansing early in the war, as it switched from having a Bosniak to a Serb majority, the daily writes. An estimated 3,000 Bosniaks were killed there. Bosniak rape victims have long claimed that some 200 women were held and raped in a local hotel, but some locals asked for comments said they knew nothing of those events.
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