Conference on Hate-Related Crimes Held in Neum


Neum, Bosna i Hercegovina

Conference on incitement to hatred and hate crimes, organized by the Association of Prosecutors of the Federation of BiH and the Center for Social Research Analitika, was held in Neum on October 10, 2013. The Conference was part of the Sixth Professional Training of Prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina (October 9th-11th, 2013).

The primary aim of the Conference was to contribute to the understanding of basic categories and standards specific to these crimes, and to initiate a dialogue on this complex area of criminal law among legal professionals in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a particular focus on prosecutors. More than 100 professionals attended the Conference, including prosecutors from state's, district and cantonal prosecutor's offices as well as international experts and representatives of international organisations.

During the Conference, different aspects of effective implementation of the hate-related criminal law provisions were elaborated on. Discussing the most serious obstacles facing prosecutors in this field,  panelists have particularly emphasized the lack of consistent standards and definitions of crucial terms related to the crime of incitement to hatred, discord and intolerance, insufficient range of criminal sanctions for this crime (e.g. lack of provisions on monetary fines in all jurisdictions except Republika Srpska), and the problem of unclear competences for prosecuting the crime of incitement in different jurisdictions in Bosnia and Herzegovina (having in mind that the same criminal act is prescribed in all four criminal codes in Bosnia and Herzegovina). It was also stressed that the jurisprudence in Bosnia and Herzegovina in this field is highly inconsistent and that it does not contribute to the clarification of crucial concepts and standards pertaining to the hate-related crimes in the specific context of BiH, as the courts’ reasoning in many cases remains under-elaborated. Further and more intensified engagement of experts and legal professionals is clearly needed  to ensure a more efficient  and more consistent prosecution of hate-related incidents.

The second panel focused on the complex issues related to the psycho-social conditions and prevention strategies for, as well as the options for prosecution of, hate-related acts committed by minors in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The panelists stressed that this problem area is under-explored in BiH. In addition, the prevention mechanisms successfully applied in other countries still need to be employed in BiH, focusing in particular on school children and their intensified education for tolerance. Finally, juvenile justice system in BiH still needs to be adequately improved to be able to respond to the hate-related incidents committed by minors. In this context, particular attention should be devoted to creating conditions for effective application of alternative sanctions, including educational recommendations as particularly relevant for this type of crimes.

The conference was organized as part of the project “Prosecuting hate: Towards adoption and implementation of EU standards and best practice in combating hate crimes in BiH”, implemented by Analitika and the Association of Prosecutors of FBiH, and supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The aim of the project is to contribute to creating a stronger partnership of the key stakeholders in the fight against hate-related crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as to establishing a solid platform for long-term education, awareness-raising and activism in this important field in the BiH context.

Themes: Pravosuđe i pristup pravdiLjudska prava
Programmes: Javno pravo