Bosnian Prosecution ‘Failing on Complex War Crime Cases’: OSCE

The head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bruce Berton, told the launch in Sarajevo on Monday of a new report entitled 'War Crimes Management at the Prosecutor's Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina' that the conviction rate in war crime cases has been falling at an alarming speed and the most complex cases are not being adequately probed.

"The report indicates that the Bosnian state prosecutor's office does not focus its time and resources solely on investigation and criminal prosecution of the most complex war crime cases," Berton said.

"The report demonstrates that the prosecutor's office of Bosnia and Herzegovina prosecutes war crime cases at a very low pace, despite the resources at its disposal. If it continues solving cases at such speed, the Bosnian prosecutor's office will need ten years to complete all its ongoing war crime cases," he added.

Berton said the OSCE mission had identified the four key contributing factors - the internal structure of the prosecution's Special War Crimes Section, the management of prosecutors dealing with the cases, cooperation between relevant institutions and the quality of indictments.

Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, the chief of the European Union delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina, pointed out that the EU has invested significant sums in strengthening human resources in order to speed up the completion of the most complex cases at the state prosecutor's office.

Wigemark said that despite this, the pace of solving war crime cases has slowed down.

"I call upon the Council of Ministers to adopt the revised [national] strategy for processing war crime cases, whose adoption has been awaited for a year," he urged.

The revised strategy was approved in February last year by the country...

Continue reading on: