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2005 | OSCE Report: War Crimes Trials Before the Domestic Courts of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Progress and Obstacles

In this Report, the OSCE’s Bosnian Mission draws attention to the number, nature and importance of war crimes proceedings before the domestic courts within the Federation of BiH, (as opposed to those heard before the War Crime Chamber of the Bosnian State Court). In particular section 5.9 on Victims’ Rights describes how domestic criminal courts have largely failed to use the limited powers they have to adjudicate on and make awards for damages within the criminal proceedings. Instead they rely repeatedly upon provisions permitting them to refer the victim to a separate civil procedure. However, civil actions in BiH are lengthy, complicated and expensive for victims and their survivors, most of whom are unlikely to receive adequate legal aid. The enforcement of civil judgments has also been problematic.

 The European Convention on Compensation of Victims of Violent Crimes imposes obligations on BiH to establish a state funded compensation scheme but this had yet to be implemented at the time of writing.