Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Formerly a constituent republic of Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (population 4.5 million) declared its independence in March 1992. This initiated a war between local military groups and paramilitary groups from bordering countries. The war resulted in numerous atrocities in the forms of massive imprisonment and killing, rape and other forms of torture of civilians. According to some estimates, more then 200,000 people were killed and, at one point in time, almost 50% of the population was displaced or were refugees.

It has been estimated that approximately thirty percent of Bosnian women are victims of domestic violence. Many women do not report domestic violence, in part due to the stigmatization that it could bring. The legal framework for combating domestic violence has been improved by laws on domestic violence adopted in the Federation of BH and Republic of Srpska in 2005.

Rape, including marital rape, is illegal in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  However, a sense of shame prevents some rape victims from reporting it to the authorities, and police tend not to treat reports of spousal rape with the requisite seriousness.

Trafficking in women and girls for purposes of sexual exploitation is a serious problem. Implementation and coordination of anti trafficking law enforcement at all levels of government is the responsibility of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Ministry of Security.

To see the full STOPVAW section on Bosnia and Herzegovina, please click here.