Sarajevo hosted conference “Combatting Femicide in Bosnia and Herzegovina – International Standards and Case-Law of BiH Courts”, organized by the AIRE Center in cooperation with the Supreme Court of the FBiH, the Supreme Court of the Republika Srpska and the Court of Appeals of the Brcko District of BiH. Supported by the UK Government, organizers brought together representatives of courts and prosecutors’ offices, institutions and non-governmental organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss improving the work of judicial institutions in prosecuting and preventing femicide.
Robert Spano, President of the European Court of Human Rights, was one of the keynote speakers who spoke about the case law of the European Court of Human Rights in the field of gender-based violence. “The Convention imposes positive obligations on law enforcement agencies regarding cases of gender-based violence. They must adopt gender-sensitive investigative measures that take into account the power structures and patterns of behaviour that underlie the violence that often manifests itself in this area,” said President Spano.
The Analysis of the Practice of Courts in the Processing of Femicide and Attempts of Femicide in Bosnia and Herzegovina was presented at the conference. This analysis included 34 court proceedings conducted in the period from the beginning of 2017 to the middle of 2021 before the courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Biljana Braithwaite, Director of the Western Balkans Program at the AIRE Center, stressed that the Analysis showed that violence against men against women is very widespread and that special attention must be paid to this issue in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well.
“The publication is useful support for the advocacy efforts to incriminate femicide as a separate crime against life and body, but also support strengthening the capacity of the judiciary and other institutions and experts working to raise awareness of the negative effects of gender stereotypes, promote a culture of gender equality and prevent all forms of discrimination against women “, added the director Braithwaite.
Matt Field, the British Ambassador to BiH, said that femicide and attempted femicide were the most extreme forms of violence against women and expressed satisfaction that the United Kingdom had the opportunity to support research into such an important area for BiH society.
“It is necessary to strengthen the capacities of courts and prosecutor’s offices and at the same time work on raising awareness and eliminating discrimination, gender-based prejudices and stereotypes in the whole society “, stressed Ambassador Field. The analysis showed that for effective prevention of femicide it is necessary to improve the position of women in all areas of social life, work systematically on deconstruction of gender stereotypes and prejudices and change patriarchal gender patterns, integrate gender perspective into all state policies, and strengthen criminal justice institutions and implement programs, training of professionals in social, health and educational institutions.