The Bosnian government must implement a state wide program of compensation for civilian war victims, including former camp detainees, says a report by the Swiss human rights NGO, Trial.
As long as the Bosnian government continues to violate rights of thousands of men and women and ignores their quest for justice and public apology while holding them at the margins of society, former camp detainees may indeed be freed, but are certainly not free yet, claims Trial, the Swiss association against impunity, in their report.
The report titled “Freed, but not free yet” covers the situation of former camp detainees in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and will be submitted to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
According to Trial’s data, during the war in Bosnia, there were more then 600 registered places of detention. A total number of men and women who were held in those places is still unknown but Trial puts that number close to 200,000 people.
Lejla Mamut-Abaspahic, Trial coordinator, said Bosnia must set up a unified and accurate database of the former camp detainees and then implement a national program on measures of reparations for civilian victims of war, including former camp detainees.
The rights that the former camp detainees are asking for are compensation, restitution, rehabilitation, public apology and guarantees of non-repetition.
“Bosnia still does not have a state wide law which would regulate the rights of civilian victims of war,” said Mamut-Abaspahic.
The report was drafted in cooperation with nine associations of the former camp detainees in Bosnia, which represent Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks.
The organisations which took part in the making of the report, urge the UN Special Rapporteur to analyze the situation of former camp detainees in the country as well as the existing legal framework and to issue recommendations to the Bosnian government. They also called on the Special Rapporteur to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“An official visit to Bosnia would allow UN bodies to gather data on the problems and injustices faced by former camp detainees. That way, this issue would be raised highly on the list of priorities of domestic authorities but also of international human rights bodies,” said Mamut-Abaspahic.