Former prisoners allege that Bosnia’s Serb-run entity Republika Srpska is unfairly rejecting thousands of claims for compensation over wartime injuries.
Representatives of former camp detainees in the Bosnian town of Tuzla say they will sue Republika Srpska at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for throwing out thousands of lawsuits for compensation.
The former detainees want to be compensated for physical and mental disabilities caused by beatings, abuse and other traumas suffered while they were imprisoned during the 1992-95 war.
But the Association of Detainees in Tuzla claims that the percentage of ex-prisoners who win lawsuits and get compensation is much higher in the Bosniak-Croat-led Bosnian Federation entity than in Republika Srpska.
“Courts in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska do not treat detainees in the same manner,” said the detainees’ association’s president, Jasmin Meskovic.
The association’s lawyer said that courts in Republika Srpska were rejecting law suits on the grounds that the statute of limitations on legal claims has expired.
“They do not accept the fact that the absolute statute of limitations for this type of damage expires in 20 years,” said the lawyer, Amir Mesic.
Meskovic said courts in the Republika Srpska towns of Bijeljina and Banja Luka were also discriminating against the ex-prisoners by charging them inflated fees for expert medical examinations that plaintiffs need to prove their cases.
Meskovic said that such examinations cost between 40 and 125 euro at courts in the Bosniak-Croat Federation entity but 250 euro in Republika Srpska.