Gender-Sensitive and Transformative Reparations in Bosnia

Authored by: Ashley Binetti

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Mass Atrocities, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Transitional Justice
Country: Bosnia
Region: Europe and Eurasia
Year: 2015
Citation: Binetti, Ashley. Gender-Sensitive and Transformative Reparations in Bosnia. Washington, DC: Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, 2015.

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Executive Summary

On June 24, for the first time in the history of the Bosnian War Crimes Court, judges included compensation to a wartime rape victim as part of the Court’s ruling. Bosiljko Marković and Ostoja Marković were ordered to pay roughly $15,000 to the woman they raped during the war. The Court also sentenced each man to ten years in prison. On June 29, the Court sentenced former soldier Slavko Savić to eight years in prison for raping a civilian during the war, and ordered him to pay roughly $16,500 to the survivor. Such reparations orders for survivors of wartime rape are a huge step forward in the transitional justice process following the 1992-95 Bosnian war. It is estimated that 35,000 women were raped during the conflict. Until now, Bosnian courts have encouraged victims to file claims for compensation in civil proceedings—which can be prohibitively expensive and also requires survivors to reveal their identities. Now that the War Crimes Court is willing to include reparations orders as part of its ruling, it is expected that many more women will come forward.Given the anticipated spike in reparations claims, the Court should bear in mind the international community’s consensus that effective reparations should be gender-sensitive, transformative and participatory as it proceeds in its important work. This paper traces the trajectory of reparations in the context of the United Nations Security Council’s Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda, examines the importance of transformative and participatory reparations under this framework, and concludes with recommendations for the Bosnian War Crimes Court as it seeks to provide redress for wartime rape survivors.