- OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Fra Andjela Zvizdovica 1
- 71000 Sarajevo
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Office: +387 33 752 100Fax: +387 33 442 479
SARAJEVO, 22 February 2012 – Criminal sanctions for domestic violence should reflect the gravity of the offence, to ensure their effectiveness as part of a comprehensive approach to prevent and combat domestic violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, concludes a report presented by the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina today.
The report “Ensuring accountability for domestic violence: An analysis of sentencing in domestic violence criminal proceedings, with recommendations” was based on the monitoring by the OSCE Mission of 289 domestic violence criminal proceedings in courts in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska and Brcko District between 2004 and 2010.
The report identifies the following main concerns: sentencing at or below minimum penalties prescribed by the law without adequate explanation, and over-usage of suspended sentences; often facilitated by the use of abbreviated proceedings; under-charging and reluctance to combine domestic violence with other charges; and failure to revoke suspended sentences upon violation of the probationary period. Out of all domestic violence cases analyzed, 77.2% resulted in a suspended sentence.
The report puts forth a number of recommendations for judges and prosecutors dealing with domestic violence cases. The recommendations include making a careful assessment before proposing and imposing suspended sentences, and providing a full and clear explanation of the mitigating and aggravating circumstances impacting the final sentence.
“Criminal sanctioning for domestic violence is, nevertheless, only one part of what needs to be a comprehensive and joint effort to address the issue of domestic violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Fletcher M. Burton, the Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH. “In addition to ensuring more efficient sanctioning of perpetrators, we must work towards the protection of victims and preventing this type of violence from happening at all”.
“The report will serve as a useful resource for the judiciary and other practitioners in meeting OSCE and other international commitments, and above all in ensuring the enforcement of rights of victims of domestic violence,” he added.
The full report can be downloaded at http://www.oscebih.org/documents/osce_bih_doc_2012022017152706eng.pdf.