Author(s): Adrijana Hanušić
Subject(s): Gender Studies, Law, Constitution, Jurisprudence, Criminal Law, Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Evaluation research, Studies in violence and power
Published by: Sarajevo Open Centre
Keywords: BiH; human rights; gender; sexual violence; criminal law; legislation; compensation awarded to victims; Law on the Victims of Torture BiH; Serb women;

Summary/Abstract: In May 2015 the Parliamentary Assembly BiH adopted the Changes and Amendments to the Criminal law of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which finally harmonized the definition of rape and other forms of sexual violence committed as war crimes against the civilian population or crimes against humanity, with international standards and jurisprudence of the international criminal courts. “Forcing the other person by using force, or threat of direct attack on their life or body, or life or body of another” was taken out of the definition of the elements of the crime. The old definition implied that the use of force or the threat of use of force were the only means available to determine that rape or other sexual activities occurred without consent. On the other hand international jurisprudence developed an approach according to which coercive circumstance can indicate the lack of consent, and the circumstances can be inherent in certain situations, for an example – in armed conflict. Such circumstance imply lack of consent to the sexual activities when it is clear that the person was in a state of coercion which precluded the very possibility of exercising their sexual autonomy. This is an example that needs to be followed not just in cases of conflict-related sexual violence, but also in instances of sexual violence during peacetime. In this way the number of perpetrators who can be prosecuted in the future is widened, because the obstacle of proof of this crime is removed. This change is also important in the context of deterrence from committing the crime in the first place, and so it has long-term potential and preventive functions.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: *
  • Page Range: 39-42
  • Page Count: 4
  • Language: English