The Secretary-General's Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict today welcomed the decision by a Bosnian Herzegovinian court to secure conviction for and award compensatory damages to victims of war-time sexual violence, the United Nations confirmed today.
The ruling on the crimes committed in the so-called Kotor Varoš case – which dates back to the Balkan conflict of the early 1990s – was greeted by Zainab Bangura's Office in a press release hailing the decision as “a strong signal that there will be no sanctuary for perpetrators of conflict-related sexual violence.”
“Too many women throughout the former Yugoslavia are still waiting for justice, while the perpetrators of conflict-related sexual violence walk free,” the press release continued. “Yet, the court's ruling shows that no matter the time that has elapsed, perpetrators of humanity's gravest crimes will ultimately be held to account for their actions.”
According to Ms. Bangura's Office, the court's ruling also demonstrates the importance of legal aid and reparation for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence which, it added, must be “prompt, adequate, and effective.”
“It is essential that governments in the former Yugoslavia do their utmost to deliver justice, legal aid and comprehensive reparation programs for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence,” declared the UN official in the press release.
“I call upon the governments affected by conflict in the former Yugoslavia to take these measures on a regional and non-sectarian basis for the benefit of every survivor of one of wartime's most heinous atrocities.”