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24 June 2015
News

Markovic Verdict Paves Way for Right to Compensation

Lamija Grebo BIRN BiH Sarajevo

The Track Impunity Always Association (TRIAL) says a recent Bosnian state court decision to provide the injured party in the case of Bosiljko and Ostoja Markovic compensation for damages in the amount of 26,500 Marks is a revolutionary one.

“This is an important moment both for the war crime victim, to whom the compensation will be paid, and for all other victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region, who can now hope that this precedent will pave the road for them to fulfill their right to compensation through criminal proceedings,” said Adrijana Hanusic, TRIAL’s legal adviser in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

According to TRIAL, prior to the pronouncement of this verdict not a single victim of wartime sexual violence or any other war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina has obtained compensation through criminal proceedings for the harm they’ve suffered, despite their right to it.

Courts and prosecutions have always redirected victims to civil procedures for compensation. As a consequence, most survivors, who don’t receive any legal aid from the state, renounce their fundamental right to compensation.

The process of receiving compensation through civil procedures means that victims have to reveal their identities, which are often protected during criminal proceedings, as well as additional costs that many victims are unable to pay.

Under a first instance verdict handed down by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosiljko and Ostoja Markovic, former members of the Kotor-Varos Brigade of the Bosnian Serb Army, were each sentenced to ten years in prison for the rape of a 14-year old girl in Kotor-Varos.

The defendants have been ordered to jointly pay 26,500 Marks to the injured party, representing compensation for non-material damage caused by the violation of her rights and freedoms, as well as her mental suffering.

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