TRIAL Report – BiH compensation for rape as war crime

In 2015, the criminal Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) ruled for the first time that perpetrators of war time rape committed during the BiH war, have to pay their victim compensation (click here for statement). The victim relied on existing legal provisions to address her case in the criminal proceedings against the perpetrators and ask for compensation, which is a rather under used legal venue. Commonly, victims are advised to pursue their compensation claim in civil (tort) procedures. In practice, however, the victims tend to renounce this option, partly because they have to incur costs or give up their anonymity.

Although the BiH Court awarded damages to wartime survivors in criminal cases subsequent to the ground breaking 2015 judgment, most of the victims never receive compensation because the convicted perpetrators claim to have no money or have sold their assets. March 2020 marked a major change when, for the first time, compensation awarded in criminal proceedings was effectively paid by the perpetrator to his victim (click here to read more).