The contribution of prosecutors to the failure of damage claims of victims in war crimes trials at the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina
According to definition and laws, the role of the prosecutor is to represent public goods. In the cases of war crimes, that public good is not exhausted with criminal prosecution of the perpetrators of the criminal offences, but it also covers reparation of the damage to the victims. This is not part of the judiciary praxis of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although there is a clear obligation to collect evidence that would support damage claims of the victims as prescribed in the Criminal Procedure Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina (CPCBH), in reality prosecutors fail to fulfill this obligation. In few cases, settled before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the court had awarded compensation to the victims of war crimes, merits for that are to be given to the victims who have, on their own initiative and with their own limited resources, hired attorneys and other experts who acted as prosecutors. To prevent this from happening in the future, having in mind hundreds of potential pending cases (with thousands of victims) waiting for trial, this practice needs to be changed. In that way, although mostly only declaratory in nature in criminal codes and during war crimes trials, more “realistic” and “humane” justice could be achieved for those directly affected by these crimes.
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