During a conference on the “Processing of war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina – How much time do we have?”, which was organized by the Youth Initiative forHuman Rights, YIHR of Bosnia and Herzegovina, victims said that, despite the fact that the processing of war crimes perpetrators in Bosnia and
Herzegovina was protracted, certain improvements in the work of judicial institutions could be noticed.
Edin Ramulic of the “Izvor” Association from Prijedor says that witnesses who testify before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, receive support only during the course of the trials, while Sacir Srebrenica, Deputy President of the Association of Detainees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, thinks that it is hard to ensure full protection of victims.
“Victims often say that, once they leave the courtroom, they feel as if nobody cares about them any more. What happens to victims after they have completed their testimonies is one of the key issues,” said Selma Korjenic of the TRIAL Association, who is involved in the Programme for support to victims of sexual violence.
Goran Simic, advisor with the Ministry of Justice of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, says that, despite the good work done by the State Court, we should know that the institution has limited capacities, so a certain number of cases have to be processed at the local level.
Branko Mitrovic, Chief of the War Crimes Section with the District Prosecution in Banja Luka, says that many war crimes cases have already been processed in that town.
During the course of the conference victims pointed out that the media should speak more about this subject, maintaining that media reports could actually help speed up the processing of war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“The general public is interested in war crimes issues, but those stories scarcely reach out to citizens. The media rarely produce reports on this issue and, even when they do, the reports are badly written, leaving space for manipulation,” said Erna Mackic, Editor-in-Chief of BIRN-Justice Report.
Dzenana Karup-Drusko, Editor of Dani magazine, too thinks that the public is interested in war crimes issues, but daily information about the trials is lacking in the daily newspapers and public service.
Predrag Curkovic, a journalist with the Alternative TV from Banja Luka, says that the lack of material and human resources is one of the problems causing such poor coverage of war crimes issues in the media.