Torture in  [Bosnia and Herzegovina]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Bosnia and Herzegovina]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Bosnia and Herzegovina]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Bosnia and Herzegovina]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                    

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)

The interethnic warfare in Bosnia and Herzegovina caused production to plummet by 80% from 1992 to 1995 and unemployment to soar. With an uneasy peace in place, output recovered in 1996-99 at high percentage rates from a low base; but output growth slowed in 2000-02. Part of the lag in output was made up in 2003-08 when GDP growth exceeded 5% per year.

A sizeable current account deficit and high unemployment rate remain the two most serious macroeconomic problems.

Key exporters in the metal, automobile and wood processing industries have reported a worsening performance and have announced layoffs and output reductions.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Bosnia-Herzegovinia

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or download PDF at

[accessed 18 March 2015]


Political deadlock in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) continued to impede needed reforms in 2014 despite widespread protests in February expressing broad economic and political dissatisfaction. The protests were marked by incidents of police brutality. Journalists remained vulnerable to intimidation and threats.

Torture in Republika Srpska: the police in the dock

Rodolfo Toč & Banja Luka, Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso, 15 October 2013

[accessed 15 Oct 2013]

The mission, led by Ukrainian CPT Vice-President Mykola Gnatovskyy, performed its own investigations in police institutions and prisons in all major cities of RS (Banja Luka, Bijeljina, Doboj, Istočno Sarajevo, Gradiška, and Prnjavor), with alarming results. In fact, while commending the "good cooperation" of RS institutions, the examiners highlighted "a considerable number of detailed, consistent, and coherent records of mistreatment by the police in Republika Srpska", mainly during interrogation in order to extort confessions. These mistreatments mostly include "kicks, punches, and slaps, but also beatings with blunt objects (such as baseball bats)". Numerous testimonies denounce the use of small, portable mechanisms for electric shock. In other cases, the police handcuffed suspects forcing them into stress positions for hours, or tied plastic bags around their heads. On some occasions, they resorted to mock executions to terrorize the suspect

The state of the world's human rights

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2012

[accessed 18 Jan 2014]

ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES - Despite problems with budget allocations for exhumations caused by the absence of the government, exhumations continued. In January, the State Prosecutor’s Office assumed control of exhumations previously conducted by local prosecutors, which had a positive impact in expediting the recovery of the remains of missing people from mass and clandestine graves. Around 10,000 people were still unaccounted for. Unwillingness of insider witnesses to provide information on mass graves remained the biggest obstacle in the process.

In February, the Central Record of Missing Persons was created as a permanent database in BiH. It gathered around 34,000 names from various existing databases and conducted verification of those names. It was expected that the database would help the state-level Missing Persons Institute to strategically address the remaining cases.

Despite the accurate DNA-led identifications made by the International Commission on Missing Persons over the past years, the identification process began to slow down. The Commission reported that around 8,000 bodies had already been identified through the classical methods of identification. However, due to the existence of hundreds of secondary, tertiary and quaternary mass grave sites, the recovery of body parts of already identified and buried people could continue for years.

Despite progress made in the recovery and identification of disappeared people and the prosecution of perpetrators, victims’ families were still denied the rights to justice and reparation.

The non-implementation of the 2004 Law on Missing Persons led to problems for the families of the disappeared, including the lack of independent functioning of the Missing Persons Institute and the non-existence of the Fund for Providing Assistance to the Families of Missing Persons. In addition, many judgements of the Constitutional Court of BiH in cases involving enforced disappearances remained unimplemented.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/BIH/CO/2-5 (2011)

[accessed 23 February 2013]

8. While noting that the State party envisages amending the Criminal Code and harmonizing the legal definition of torture in the State and entity laws, the Committee remains concerned that the State party has still not incorporated into domestic law the crime of torture as defined in article 1 of the Convention and has not criminalized torture inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity (arts. 1 and 4).

The Committee, in line with its previous recommendations (CAT/C/BIH/CO/1, para. 9), urges the State party to speed up the process of the incorporation of the crime of torture, as defined in the Convention, into the State party laws as well as the harmonization of the legal definition of torture in the Republika Srpska and Brcko District with the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The State party should also ensure that these offences are punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account their grave nature, as set out in article 4, paragraph 2, of the Convention.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 21 January 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices; however, physical mistreatment of prisoners by police occurred.

During the year there were a number of citizen complaints in both entities alleging excessive use of force during arrest. According to the European Union (EU) police mission and the RS and Federation professional standards units (PSUs), the number of complaints against police officers remained at approximately the same level during the year as in 2004. Investigations and into police misconduct and standards of accountability continued to improve during the year (see section 1.d.).

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Bosnia-Herzegovina ",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Bosnia and Herzegovina]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Bosnia and Herzegovina]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Bosnia and Herzegovina]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Bosnia and Herzegovina]  [other countries]