Prosecuting Hate Crimes in BiH: The Prosecutors' Perspective

The report “Prosecuting Hate Crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Prosecutors' Perspective” identifies key obstacles to the prosecution of hate crimes in the country. 

Themes: Judiciary and Access to JusticeHuman Rights
Amir Bajrić Marija Lučić-Ćatić


Hate crimes are criminal acts motivated by hatred or prejudice towards a particular group. These acts are particularly dangerous in the context of Bosnia and Herzegovina because of the potential to multiply current tensions, and to aggravate the process of establishment of trust in the society. Despite the large number of incidents motivated by hatred, the practice of prosecuting these crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not satisfactory. 
There are a number of obstacles to the adequate prosecution of hate crimes in BiH. Among others, research showed that in addition to shortcomings of the legal framework, key problems arise from the lack of corresponding guidelines and standards at the prosecutorial level, insufficient education and awareness-raising among the police and prosecutors, a lack of cooperation between stakeholders prosecuting hate crimes, and from the perception of “normality” and the dominant presence of incidents motivated by hatred, where it is difficult to distinguish those that require an appropriate response of prosecuting bodies.
The report entails a number of recommendations that are directed at the improvement of the existing legal framework, as well as the practice of prosecuting hate crimes, and are primarily directed at  legislative and executive government bodies, prosecutors and the police, the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Centers for the education of judges and prosecutors. Furthermore, the report is intended for all experts and practitioners dealing with the prosecution of hate crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This publication is prepared as part of the project “Prosecuting hate: Towards adoption and implementation of EU standards and best practices in combating hate crimes in BiH”, implemented by the Association of Prosecutors of Federation BiH and Analitika, with the support of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.