News 09 Jun 16

Bosnian Serb Convict Fails to Compensate Rape Victim

Despite a court order, former Bosnian Serb fighter Slavko Savic has failed to pay 15,000 euros in compensation to a woman he raped in Vogosca near Sarajevo during wartime.

Justice Report
BIRN
Sarajevo
The Bosnian state court. Photo: BIRN

The Bosnian state court has told BIRN that Savic, who is serving an eight-year jail sentence for the rape, has not paid the compensation he was ordered to do by the end of May, after what was the first ruling of its kind in a wartime sexual assault case in the country.

“The next step we will take is to start a forced payment procedure,” said the court.

Nedzla Sehic, a lawyer for the rape victim, told BIRN that she will file a proposal on Friday to force Savic to pay.

“We will also file a proposal to determine what property he has in his name,” Sehic said.

But Savic’s lawyer Nevenka Vitomir said that her client has no property and cannot pay.

“He does not have this money. So I expect these proceedings to be terminated,” said Vitomir.

According to Bosnian law, payment can be enforced if a convict has a salary, a pension or any steady income, or if he has assets in his name which can be sold.

Sehic told BIRN that if Savic does not have the money, she will sue Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska because Savic was a member of its armed forces in wartime.

“This would be an entire new proceeding, which would take a lot of time,” said Sehic.

Former Bosnian Serb soldier Savic was sentenced last June to eight years in prison for raping the woman in Vogosca near Sarajevo in 1993 and was ordered to pay his victim 30,000 Bosnian Marks (about 15,000 euros).

Before the Savic verdict, the Bosnian state court had the legal power to decide how much a perpetrator should pay a victim in compensation for non-material damages in war crimes cases. But until the Savic verdict, this power had never been exercised by the court.

Instead, victims could try to get compensation by filing civil suits after a final verdict had been pronounced at the end of the criminal proceedings.

During these civil cases, the victims had to engage lawyers, pay their costs and go through another court procedure.

Those victims who were granted protected status during the criminal trials had to have this lifted for their civil suits, despite the fact that state court decisions have indicated that such protected information should be kept secret for 30 or more years.

The court rulings ordering compensation to be paid in Savic’s case and two others last June, were hailed as a step forward for justice, but it remained uncertain whether the victims would ever receive the money because of suspicions that the convicts might not be able to pay.

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