Rights group Amnesty International is calling on Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska to make reparations for survivors of wartime rape.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the rights group says Bosnian Serb authorities have not made any meaningful attempt to understand or address the needs of the victims.
John Dalhulsen, Amnesty’s program director for Europe and Central Asia, says “the cruel failure to ensure justice for survivors of wartime sexual violence must at last be brought out of the shadows if the survivors themselves are to rebuild their lives and their families.”
He says that “justice for survivors requires both the prosecution of perpetrators and the acknowledgement of — and resolve to redress — the consequence of their abuse.”
Amnesty says since the start of the 1992-to-1995 war in Bosnia, it has collected numerous testimonies of women who were subjected to systematic and repeated rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy and other crimes of sexual violence.
The rights group says many of the survivors have developed post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological problems, including depression, fragmented memories, lack of concentration, flashbacks, nightmares and anxiety.
Thousands of Muslim women were raped by Serbian forces in the areas they occupied during the war.
Amnesty says that out of tens of thousands of these documented instances, fewer than 40 cases have been prosecuted by either the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia or by state and local courts in the republic.