Improving transitional justice and understanding history in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The “Forgotten Children of the War” Association, with the support of the NED Endowment, has promoted a better understanding of the war crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s, thereby improving the processes of transitional justice and reconciliation. A legal analysis was conducted and amendments were made to the existing laws on civilian victims, and other mechanisms of restorative justice were proposed for survivors of wartime sexual violence. Extensive efforts have been made to adopt the developed recommendations.

After the establishment of the International Courts, the challenge was to use the standards of international law, pass them on to domestic judges and thus influence attitudes towards terrible crimes. The work of the Tribunal provides a strong basis for the international community to start dealing with the phenomenon of rape, forced pregnancy, sexual slavery and other gender crimes committed during the armed conflict in the most appropriate way.

Despite the progress of international legal standards, almost three decades after the war, the consequences of such serious war crimes are still visible and unresolved.

As part of the project, the first national conference entitled “Visibility of children born as a result of war” was held. The conference was held in Sarajevo, it began on November 24, 2021, and included the International Day for the Fight Against Violence against Women, November 25, 2021, and lasted until November 26, 2021. The conference was attended by representatives of the government, civil society, artists, activists, women survivors and children born of war.

Advocacy meetings were also held with representatives of the ministries of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which resulted in the creation of a proposal for a new Law on Civilian Victims of War, which was adopted by the Brčko District Government on July 26, 2022, and it had its first reading in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Donor: National Endowment for Democracy; Project duration: 12 months