Panel discussion and promotion of publications “Understanding and Combating Hate Crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina“ held in Sarajevo


Hotel Bristol, Fra Filipa Lastrića 2, Sarajevo

Despite the omnipresence of various hate and prejudice-based manifestations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, comprehensive and precise legislation in this area still has not been adopted. Furthermore, the appropriate protocols in practice, in various stages of prosecution of hate crimes have not been formulated either, which would specify elements for the recognition of these criminal offenses, as well as necessary steps within the investigations, clarify the role of the police and the prosecutor, and point out the key particularities of representing the prosecution before the competent court in such cases.


These are only some of the conclusions from the panel discussion “Understanding and Combating Hate Crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina“ held on February 28th 2014 in Sarajevo and organized by the Association of Prosecutors of the Federation of BiH and the Center for Social Research Analitika.

The occasion for holding the panel was recently published series of publications that address key issues on prosecuting hate crimes in BiH. The panel was  attended by the authors of publication, as well as representatives of the judiciary, civil society organizations, international organizations, academic and media community.

It is pointed that in addition to shortcomings of the legal framework, key problems arise from a lack of cooperation between stakeholders prosecuting hate crimes, and from the great number of these criminal acts, where it is difficult to distinguish those that require an appropriate response of prosecuting bodies. Participants discussed on crime of incitement to hatred, discord and intolerance which is almost in identical formulation present in all four BiH jurisdictions.

The focus of the panel was the line between hate speech and freedom of expression. It is emphasized that this criminal act is considered as form of criminalization of hate speech. The panelists emphasized whole range of issues, starting from imprecision of norms, inconsistency in criminal legislation of BiH to misinterpretations of this criminal act.


Zekerijah Mujkanović from Prosecutor's Office of Brcko District of BiH stressed the importance of judicial instituctions which can contribute to the reduction of these crimes. "We need the same sensibility for the same hate based manifestations towards any offender and toward any victim of such manifestation (…) The prosecutors and the police will not solve this issue, but they can contribute to the solution from their perspective”, said Mujkanović.

During the panel it was repeatedly emphasized that the indictment and prosecution of these crimes is essential to raise awareness of their criminality, but there is also strong need for constant education and sensitizing of public to hate speech.

The event 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.


Themes: Pravosuđe i pristup pravdiLjudska prava
Programmes: Javno pravo