The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina concluded today a training course for police investigators on war crime cases. Twenty-five police inspectors and two prosecutors from the District Prosecutor’s Office of Banja Luka and Doboj, as well as two investigators from the BiH Prosecutor’s Office in Sarajevo took part in the event.
The two-day training course encompassed lectures on the elements of war crimes, investigation techniques, and methods of working with vulnerable and protected witnesses, as well as witnesses under threat.
“The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina is aware of the serious challenges faced by prosecutors, judges and the police in the country: the difficulty of indentifying and apprehending those responsible for crimes committed; the complexity of securing evidence and live witness testimony for trial; the competing urgency of crimes of the past and those of the present; and, not least, the lack of resources to ensure appropriate support and protection for victims and witnesses,” said Violeta Kovacevic, the Head of OSCE Banja Luka field Office. “This training course aims to help address the challenges by strengthening capacities of police investigators dealing with war crimes cases, therefore ensuring that investigations are conducted more efficiently, while at the same time rights of witnesses and victims are respected”.
The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina carries out an extensive justice monitoring programme around the country with a particular focus on war crimes prosecution, given its importance for rebuilding the faith of the public in the local criminal justice systems. “We believe that demonstrating the ability of police to deal with some of the most serious and sensitive cases would be an important step towards the restoration of the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina and reuniting communities torn apart by the war,” Kovacevic said.