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19 July 2013
News

Families of the Missing Request Information about War Crimes

Selma Učanbarlić BIRN BiH Sarajevo

During a public debate held in Mostar, families of the missing say that it is important for them to receive information about the processing of war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Families of the missing from Mostar and Blagaj attended the public debate on the right of victims to know who the perpetrators of war crimes are. They pointed out that it was important for them to have all pieces of information about this subject.

Camil Cerovina, who has been searching for his father since the end of the war, said that television was the only media from which he obtained information about war crimes. 

The public debate was organised by the International Commission for the Missing Persons, ICMP, and Balkans Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN. The aim was to inform war crime victims about practices applied by certain judicial bodies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which do not include data about indictees’ identity in indictments and verdicts, but also data about persons, who have been sentenced for war crimes under second instance verdicts.

This practice is applied by certain judicial bodies in Bosnia and Herzegovina. By doing that, they deprived the general public of information about committed war crimes and responsibility of individuals.

Erna Mackic, Editor with the Balkans Investigative Reporting Network, said that, due to the fact that judicial institutions decided to anonymise court documents, the public did not know who the perpetrators of war crimes were.

“In this way the judicial institutions are completely closing themselves towards the public. BIRN has therefore initiated a campaign with the aim of assessing the public interest in information related to war-crimes trials,” Mackic said.

Viktorija Ruzicic-Tokic of the ICMP pointed out that not allowing the anonymisation of court documents was important for families of victims.

In addition to Mostar, public debates will be organised in other towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina in July and August. 

BIRN’s campaign titled “STOP Censoring War Crimes” is currently ongoing. As part of this campaign, BIRN has organised the signing of a petition against the withholding of information.

 

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