Bosnia and Herzegovina Passes New Law on Protection from Domestic Violence
Wednesday, May 25, 2005 4:05 PM

On 29 March 2005, Bosnia and Herzegovina President Niko Lozancic signed Decree No. 01-109/05 proclaiming the Law on Protection from Domestic Violence. The law defines domestic violence as "any act of inflicting physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm or suffering, as well as threats as regards to aforementioned, and lack of due care and attention which may seriously impede family members from enjoying their rights and freedoms in all areas of public and private life which are based on equality" (Art. 6). Article 6 also lists several acts that constitute domestic violence, such as the use of physical force or psychological coercion; acts that result in physical, psychological or monetary damage; certain forms of intimidation; verbal attacks; stalking; sexual harassment (as defined in the Gender Equality Act of Bosnia and Herzegovina); the destruction of joint property, and; a failure by other family members to protect the victim under specified circumstances. Part IV provides for several protective measures, including removal from and a prohibition against return to the dwelling; a restraining order; protection of the victim of domestic violence; prohibition against harassment and stalking, and; psycho-social treatment and rehabilitation for the offender. Violation of this law is considered a misdemeanor, and anyone who violates a prescribed protective measure may be fined KM 2,000 to 10,000 (Art. 21). An "official person" who fails to report an act of domestic violence as outlined in Article 6(2) may be fined or face a minimum prison sentence of fifty days.

The law is to enter into force upon publication in the Official Gazette of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and will be enforced six months after such entry into force (Art. 22).

Check back soon for comments on the new law by The Advocates for Human Rights.