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Bosnia and Herzegovina war crimes trial: still no justice for rape victims

The conviction of Milan and Sredoje Lukiæ for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (Tribunal) brings justice for the killing of scores of people during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but ignores the suffering of victims of sexual violence, Amnesty International said today (21 July).

Amnesty International deeply regrets that the Prosecutor failed to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity of sexual violence, including rape, that were allegedly committed. No one has been charged by the Tribunal for these crimes.

Credible evidence has been gathered, by the Tribunal and the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, of the abduction of young Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights who were subsequently held and subjected to rape and other crimes of sexual violence at the Vilina Vlas hotel near Višegrad. This evidence points to the alleged responsibility of the Lukiæ cousins for rape and other crimes of sexual violence. A number of non-governmental organisations have also documented testimonies of victims who allege that they were raped by members of paramilitary groups under Milan Lukiæ’s command. In 1993 Amnesty International documented two cases in which girls reported that they had been raped in the Vilina Vlas hotel, allegedly by members of the White Eagles, which was under Milan Lukiæ’s command.

Nicola Duckworth, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International, said:

“The raped Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights of Višegrad deserve justice too. Those responsible for these crimes should also be held to account.

“Over a decade after the war, these Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are forced to live with the memories of their suffering without being able to receive acknowledgement and compensation.”

Amnesty International calls on the prosecutor at the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina to open an investigation into the substantial number of allegations against Milan and Sredoje Lukiæ related to war crimes and crimes against humanity of sexual violence committed in the Višegrad area.

The Bosnian Serb cousins, members of the White Eagles paramilitary group, were convicted on 20 July of crimes against the civilian population in the Višegrad area in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1992-1995 war, including murder, persecution, extermination and torture. Milan and Sredoje Lukiæ were both sentenced to life and 30 years’ imprisonment.

Rape and other forms of sexual violence were widespread during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Despite the fact that the conflict ended more than 13 years ago, successive governments have consistently failed to bring those responsible to justice.

Many perpetrators of war crimes of sexual violence continue to enjoy impunity and often live in the same communities as their victims. Survivors of those crimes suffer trauma and other psychological and physical problems. Psychological support is often not available and access to health services is limited, especially for Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights in remote areas of the country. Many survivors are unemployed and live in poverty and cannot afford medicines, even when these are prescribed by a doctor.

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