Annual Report: Bosnia and Herzegovina 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Bosnia and Herzegovina 2010

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The majority of the returns occurred to places where the returnees were in the ethnic minority. Many people, including survivors of war crimes of sexual violence, remained unable to go back to their pre-war places of residence. Many of them feared for their safety as the individuals who had perpetrated war crimes against them or members of their family continued to live in their pre-war communities and often occupied positions of power.

Discrimination in access to economic and social rights such as employment, health services and education continued to prevent many returnees from going back.

Counter-terror and security

The authorities of BiH continued to violate the rights of some individuals who had settled in BiH during or after the war and who had subsequently been granted BiH citizenship. As a result of decisions by the State Commission for the Revision of Decisions on Naturalization of Foreign Citizens, some of them lost their citizenship and deportation procedures were initiated against them.

Seven people were placed in the immigration deportation centre in Lukavica awaiting deportation to their countries of origin. If deported, they would be at risk of torture or the death penalty. The authorities continued to imprison these individuals on grounds of unspecified national security.

  • Imad al Husein remained imprisoned in the immigration deportation centre in Lukavica where he had been held since October 2008, despite the fact that no criminal charges which could justify the detention were brought against him. An appeal on the revocation of his citizenship was ongoing before the BiH judiciary and before the European Court of Human Rights.

Conditions for detainees in the immigration deportation centre in Lukavica were inadequate. During the process of revocation of citizenship, people spent several months on average in detention. The facility at Lukavica was envisaged to provide temporary custody for a few weeks only, and lacked the capacity to respond to the rights and needs of persons detained for a longer period of time, such as dietary requirements during Ramadan or a room set aside for conjugal visits.

Torture and other ill-treatment

In the majority of cases the authorities failed to take measures to tackle ill-treatment by the police and in prisons. The existing complaint mechanism was ineffective and the number of investigations by prosecutors into allegations of ill-treatment remained very low.

The State Ombudsmen issued a report in September which stated that the conditions of detention across BiH were below international standards. They cited inadequate hygiene and material conditions as well as lack of access to health services for detainees. The authorities failed to address the situation in the Zenica Prison Forensic Psychiatric Annex, where patients with mental health problems lacked adequate medical assistance.

Individuals convicted in the State Court continued to serve their sentences in prisons in FBiH and RS, as there was no BiH state prison. This caused discrepancies in their rights and material conditions while in detention.

Amnesty International visits/reports

Amnesty International delegates visited Bosnia and Herzegovina in March, September and October.

"Nobody listens to us and nobody cares": Women still waiting for justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina (25 May 2009)
Bosnia and Herzegovina: "Whose justice?" The women of Bosnia and Herzegovina are still waiting
(30 September 2009)
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review
(8 September 2009)
Bosnia and Herzegovina: No justice for rape victims(21 July 2009)