The EU releases 2.9 million EUR for war crimes processing in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina has released 2.9 million EUR provided as EU support to BiH efforts in war crimes processing. This is the second tranche of funds intended to finance 142 war crimes case processing staff (prosecutors, judges, legal associates, investigators and other support staff) throughout BiH.

The release of this tranche was conditioned on the adoption of a country wide strategic framework for justice sector reform (JSRS). Following severe delays, the JSRS was adopted in September 2015. Thereafter the relevant BiH authorities provided an assessment outlining how the relevant conditions had been met. The European Commission and the EU Delegation completed the necessary analyses and procedures, and have transferred the funds to the Treasury of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Treasury is responsible for transferring the funds to the relevant authorities throughout the country. Such a transfer should be done in a swift manner.

Commenting on this, Head of the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina and EU Special Representative, Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, said: “Bosnia and Herzegovina faces a unique challenge in addressing the extensive backlog of war crime cases. That is why over a 5-year period the European Union will provide nearly 15 million EUR (14.86 million EUR) to finance the continuous investigation and processing of the significant number of remaining war crimes cases throughout the country. If Bosnia and Herzegovina had fulfilled the conditions as foreseen, the second tranche would have been paid a year ago.

The overall target of the EU support is to reduce the number of war crimes cases with a known suspect(s) by at least 50% by the end of 2018. The first tranche was released in December 2013. In addition to the budget support, the EU has also assisted BiH authorities in developing technical capacities that are linked to war crimes investigations and adjudication.