The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), with the support of the European Union (EU), presented today in Sarajevo a spot report War Crimes Management at the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The spot report examines results achieved by the BiH Prosecutor’s Office in tackling war crimes cases and identifies the challenges that remain for ensuring that such cases are processed efficiently. It also provides a set of recommendations which, if implemented, will address these challenges in an effective manner.
By analyzing examples of concrete cases which illustrate the deterioration in the quality of investigation and prosecution of war crimes cases, the report sets out three key areas of concern with regard to the investigation and prosecution of war crimes cases by the BiH Prosecutor’s Office.
“The pace of solving war crimes cases has recently been slowing down,” stated Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative in BiH. “The report notes that the focus has not been solely on the most complex cases which, in accordance with the 2008 National War Crimes Strategy should have been a priority. As also noted by the European Commission Analytical Report accompanying the Opinion on BiH’s application for EU membership, the OSCE report highlights an alarmingly low conviction rate at the BiH level compared to Entities.”
The Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH, Bruce G. Berton, urged relevant actors to implement without delay the recommendations set out in the report in order to improve the overall process of war crimes processing. “I call upon all relevant institutions, most notably the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of BiH, the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, and the Court of BiH to seriously consider this report, and the ramifications of the current practice concerning war crimes case processing on victims, as well as on the legacy of the BiH judiciary,” he said.
The analysis and recommendations presented in this report on the processing of war crimes cases by the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH are based on the findings of the OSCE Mission to BiH’s Trial Monitoring Programme and the Mission’s implementation of the War Crimes Monitoring Project financed by the European Union.