TRIAL and “Vaša prava BiH” work together in training Bosnian lawyers to bring complaints before international human rights mechanisms

Geneva/Sarajevo, 4 April 2011

On March 25 and 26, 2011 TRIAL (Track Impunity Always) organized the first stage of a comprehensive training program for “Vaša prava BiH” lawyers on the functioning of the main international human rights mechanisms relevant for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), in particular the United Nations Human Rights Committee and the European Court of Human Rights.

“Vaša prava BiH” employees from Sarajevo and Mostar attended a workshop where they were trained on how to draft and submit an application at the international level. Each trainee was assigned a concrete case to work on, mainly relating to relatives of missing persons from different parts of BiH under the supervision of TRIAL’s senior legal adviser. The aim of the program is to submit a number of individual communications before an international human rights mechanism, and the submission should formally be carried out by “Vaša prava BiH”, which will represent the applicants before the international mechanism concerned.

Considering the high number of cases of human rights violations in BiH that could be brought before, among others, the European Court of Human Rights or the UN Human Rights Committee, the training aims at enabling local lawyers to be able to respond to this increasing demand and help victims obtain justice and redress.

The cooperation is based on the premises that “Vaša prava BiH” is currently one of the major organizations in BiH offering free legal aid to particularly vulnerable individuals or groups that have been subjected to serious human rights violations. So far, “Vaša prava BiH” has been litigating cases and offering legal aid before domestic authorities. However, many of these cases could also meet the criteria to be submitted before international mechanisms in order to establish the responsibility of the BiH State as such and to allow victims obtaining justice and reparations where domestic authorities have proved unable to do so. Moreover, over the years, TRIAL has gained a considerable expertise in the litigation of cases of human rights violations occurred in various countries before the European Court of Human Rights, the Human Rights Committee and the Committee against Torture.

At present, TRIAL has already submitted 14 complaints concerning gross human rights violations such as enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings in BiH which are pending before the European Court of Human Rights and 23 individual communications before the UN Human Rights Committee. Moreover, TRIAL is planning to extend its work to other war related crimes in the future.

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