Bosnia’s Genocide Denial Ban Curbs Violations, But No Prosecutions Yet

Idriz Smajic managed to survive the genocide of Bosniaks from Srebrenica in July 1995, but was injured and had to have part of one leg amputated because he couldn't get immediate medical help.

Smajic used to live in Bratiunac, where there were mass executions of Bosniaks by Bosnian Serb forces during the genocide. He fled, and now lives in Sarajevo and did not return to Bratunac after the war because of the continuing lack of security for Bosniaks in the area.

"For some time I thought I could perhaps return there with my family, because my area was quite acceptable for living, but when I see people being belittled, not having any rights, not having security, I simply didn't feel safe staying there overnight," he said.

Genocide denial and the glorification of convicted war criminals is commonplace in the area, Smajic said: "As someone who survived the genocide, I see that genocide denial happens every day, but nothing happens, not a single indictment has been filed."

Smajic is referring to the lack of indictments since a ban on the denial of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and on the glorification of war criminals, came into force last year in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The ban was imposed last July by the High Representative, the international official responsible for overseeing the implementation of the peace deal that ended the 1992-95 war.

The Bosnian state prosecution told BIRN that it has so far received more than 50 criminal complaints about incidents that might have contravened the ban. But no charges have yet been filed.

Prosecutor Oleg Cavka said that in most of the cases, the prosecution has launched investigations and ordered police agencies to collect evidence such as videos of TV shows ...

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