The OSCE Mission to BiH presented their report on the processing of war crimes cases in BiH Tuesday titled "The Race against Time: Progress and Challenges in Implementing the National Strategy for Work on War Crimes Cases of BiH".
BiH courts have handed down verdicts in over 600 war crimes cases. However, over 500 cases involving over 4,000 names of known suspects still remain unresolved. There are several burning issues standing in the way of justice, the OSCE report showed.
“Political factions in BiH continue to hamper the implementation of the state strategy for the work on war crimes cases. Many suspects live abroad thus being unavailable to BiH authorities. Institutional restrictions on witness support and protection programmes continue to block progress. The determination of the most priority cases and the priority processing of the most responsible before the Court of BiH were also violated. In the end, the awarding of compensation to victims of crime in criminal proceedings remains only the exception, not the rule,” the OSCE report said.
They conclude, however, that the biggest challenge Bosnia faces in this regard is actually the passing of time.
“It is no longer an exaggeration to say that the probability of achieving justice for the victims of war decreases with each passing day. Achieving justice is now a race against time,” Kathleen Kavalec, Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH said.