BiH's RS entity denies Fikret Alic status of victim of wartime torture

NEWS 27.06.2022 15:52
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Source: N1

Authorities in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity denied to officially grant Fikret Alic, a former prison camp inmate whose photo shocked the world in 1992, the status of a victim of wartime torture.

Alic, who was photographed by British journalists standing behind the barbed wire fence of the wartime Trnopolje prison camp near the northwestern Bosnian town of Prijedor, told N1 that the RS Ministry of Labour and Veterans’ Protection said his request was denied because he was not registered by the International Red Cross.

“I left the camp before, with the women, children, and the elderly on August 13. They failed to register us at the International Red Cross,” he said, arguing that the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Association of Former Prison Camp Inmates of BiH, officially recognise him as a former detainee.

Alic said that he also has such recognition from the International Red Cross but that RS authorities deny it.

Alic said the case is being processed by the court in Prijedor and added that there were previously similar cases where the court ruled in favour of former inmates.

Alic is supported by the TRIAL International organization in his legal battle.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Alic's story depicts the many years of struggle of many victims of war torture, who are trying to achieve this status in Republika Srpska. The Law on Victims of War Torture of Republika Srpska contains a number of restrictive provisions, especially when it comes to the documentation necessary to prove the torture suffered, which in practice prevents victims from seeking and obtaining status. In addition, the deadline for the opportunity to submit an application for recognition of the status of a victim of war torture according to this Law expires next year, and the question arises how many victims will really succeed in exercising their rights in such a short period,” the organisation said.

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