On the occasion of the physical attack that took place on June 23 in Bratunac, in which Osman Mehanović suffered serious bodily injuries accompanied by insults and threats based on ethnicity, the Coalition for Combating Hate Speech and Hate Crime calls on the competent institutions to urgently prosecute the committed criminal act and act aimed at preventing similar attacks.
We invite the media in BiH to report on this criminal act with a focus on the institutional response, and to continuously monitor the further actions of the competent Prosecutor’s Office. During 2023, we witnessed an increase in the presence of hate speech in the public space, as well as criminal acts committed out of hatred, after which the public was mostly informed about “convictions”, but not about the sanctions that the institutions are obliged to implement.
We also demand from the institutions for the protection of human rights in BiH and representatives of the authorities to publicly condemn and sanction any criminal offense committed out of hatred, as well as to take concrete measures to prevent it and ensure the safety and dignity of the citizens of BiH in accordance with their competencies. It is necessary that the institutions deal more seriously with the phenomena of increased speech in the public space, hate crimes, prevention, but also sanctions, which will send a clear message to citizens that violence in communities in BiH will not be tolerated.
We appeal to the media and civil society organizations to actively monitor the institutional response to this crime and insist on criminal responsibility for the perpetrators.
We expect institutions to do their work in accordance with their competences and prosecute those responsible for inciting hatred and all forms of violence and hate crimes against other persons on the basis of the law. We remind you that in the Criminal Code of the RS, as prescribed in Article 123, paragraph 1, point 21) of this Code, a criminal offense committed out of hatred is defined as: or ethnicity, language, religious belief, skin color, gender or sexual orientation, health status or gender identity of a person”.
Members of the Coalition to Fight Hate Speech and Hate Crimes
Association for Democratic Initiatives from Sarajevo
KVART Youth Center from Prijedor
Civil Rights Defenders from Sarajevo
CURE Foundation from Sarajevo
MediaCenter Foundation Sarajevo from Sarajevo
Youth Initiative for Human Rights of Bosnia and Herzegovina from Sarajevo
Otaharin from Bijeljina
Youth Newspaper Association in Bosnia and Herzegovina (ONA) from Sarajevo
Sarajevo Open Center from Sarajevo
BH Journalists Association from Sarajevo
Press and Online Media Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina from Sarajevo
Tuzla Open Center from Tuzla