Appearing Invested in Transitional Justice, Balkan States Remain Slow to Convict Their Own

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Saturday, April 27, 2019
Alex Psilakis

On April 10, 2019, Balkan Insight reported that the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Sarajevo Canton allocated over 350,000 euros of its 2019 budget to providing legal assistance to those charged with war crimes. Approximately 230,000 euros have gone to funding defendants’ lawyers, while 128,000 euros have funded legal assistance-oriented NGOs working alongside Bosnia’s ex-soldiers and former officers. Members of the Bosnian legal community praised the decision, recognizing that war crimes cases can run for years and accumulate steep legal bills. Since more than 50 ex-soldiers and former officers are currently on trial in Sarajevo, many view these funds as key to carrying out the trials against this large number of defendants. Other Balkan states, such as Croatia and Serbia, partially fund the defense of certain war crimes suspects, making the move fairly uncontroversial. Yet some members of the Serb-majority Republika Srpska have spoken out against the plan, as it only aids former members of the Bosniak-led army