Analysis of Gender Based Violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP) in partnership with the “Centar za pravnu pomoć ženama - Zenica“, "Udružene Žene" - Banja Luka and "Lara" - Bijeljina, presented their monitoring reports today in Sarajevo and Banja Luka related to domestic violence, sexual assault, forced prostitution, sexual violence against children and other criminal acts that are characterized as gender-based violence.
The reports are part of a joint project for the “Preventing and Combating Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina“, implemented by UNDP, UNFPA and the Gender Institutions of BiH. The reports analyses 201 criminal cases involving Gender-based Violence at the municipal and cantonal levels and provides a snapshot of the conditions and challenges in these courts as well providing specific recommendations for improving judicial practice.
During their press conference in Sarajevo, the participants were addressed by: Samra Filipovic Hadziabdic, The Director of the Agency for Gender Equality, Sadeta Škaljić, The Assistant Minister, Ministry of Justice, Begzada Gavrankapetanovic-Salihagić, The President of the Cantonal Court in Sarajevo, and Amna Berbić, Head of the Cluster of Justice and Security of UNDP.
Ms. Amna Berbić, Head of the Justice and Security Cluster of UNDP noted the problem of extremely long duration of the legal process. "From the time when a crime is reported until the time when the entire legal process is completed, a few years may pass, which is very long and painful process for victims" said Amna Berbić.
The data in the reports, collected during hearings, also show that in nine out of fourteen cases monitored, the victims were spouses, and in three out of the nine cases, the defendants were repeat offenders of criminal acts of domestic violence and violent behavior towards the women (mother, wife). It has also been concluded that insufficient engagement of those in charge with regards to gathering evidence trough medical examinations and expertise, as well as through providing photo-documented evidence and other methods of evidence gathering, points to a passive approach of the legal institutions towards the protection of the basic human rights of victims of sexual violence and gender-based violence.
With this in mind, the key goal of the reports was to draw attention to omissions and to provide specific recommendations that would allow the BiH legal system to improve its practices through the trainings of judges and prosecutors, and through changes to the provisions that have been proven practically ineffective.