Page 5 - Whose justice
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1. INTRODUCTIONWhose Justice? Bosnia and Herzegovina’s women still waiting 3“What was I guilty of when I was only 14 years old? What did I do to anybody? I was at the point of his knife and I prayed to God for him to kill me. The worst was when I was taken away from my father. I thought I would never come back alive. I saw how they bound my father’s hands with wire and how he could not help me. His tears remained in my memory forever and I will never forget this. And the soldiers. Their uniforms, their masks. All of this, I will never forget.” - Sabiha1, interviewed by Amnesty International in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FbiH) in March 2009.“I do not know if it is possible to punish this crime. If justice exists at all?! Dear God I hope it does! Maybe somewhere but not here in Bosnia! Not here! Here there is no justice at all!”- Bakira, interviewed by Amnesty International in FBiH in March 2009.“People say we should let it out, that we should express our pain. It is not that easy. It is impossible to forget. I have been in therapy for three years now. If it wasn’t for the psychological support and the medicine, I would not be alive. Before the therapy I felt as if I was dead. I was hiding the shame and humiliation. I kept all this bad feelings inside, but they would not disappear.I can’t sleep without pills. I still get upset easily when people mention the war. An image, a memory, a TV spot can be a spark. I can’t stand it. I can’t deal with this on my own. I have to run away from children not to shout at them. I don’t want my problems to affect them. I need help.” - Tanja, interviewed by Amnesty International in Republika Srpska in March 2009.This report documents how the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) have neglected their obligation to provide justice and reparation to survivors of war crimes of sexual violence which took place in the context of the 1992-1995 war. In doing so, the authorities have violated the human rights of these survivors.The government of BiH has failed to ensure justice and reparation for thousands of women who were raped during the 1992-1995 war. A continuing failure to comprehensively investigate and prosecute crimes of sexual violence before international and national courts means that those responsible still manage to evade justice and impunity prevails. Without meaningful justice and full and effective reparation, victims continue to suffer the effects of these horrific crimes. Antiquated discriminatory laws and procedures result in survivors not being treated with dignity or given protection and support. In most cases they face stigmatization rather than the recognition and vital assistance they need to help them rebuild their lives.Despite the fact that the war in BiH finished more than 13 years ago many perpetrators of war crimes of sexual violence continue to enjoy impunity and often live in the same communities as their victims. Many survivors of those crimes suffer post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological and physical problems. Psychological support is often not available and access to health services is limited, especially for women living in remote areas of the country. Many survivors are unemployed, often for reasons related to the physical andIndex: EUR 63/06/2009 Amnesty International September 2009

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