DID YOU KNOW?  -- Three years before the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide, Serbs torched Bosniak villages and killed at least 3,166 Bosniaks around Srebrenica. In 1993, the UN described the besieged situation in Srebrenica as a "slow-motion process of genocide." In July 1995, Serbs forcibly expelled 25,000 Bosniaks, brutally raped many women and girls, and systematically killed 8,000+ men and boys (DNA confirmed).

30 April, 2010


TRIAL (Track Impunity Always – Swiss Association against Impunity) recently filed three applications before the European Court of Human Rights against Bosnia-Herzegovina regarding the massacre of the Bačić and Horozović families, and the forced disappearance of Refik Bačić, perpetrated by Serb forces in 1992.

In July 1992, as ethnic cleansing operations occurred in the region of Prijedor, members of the Serbian army attacked two homes in which the extended Bačić and Horozović families had sought refuge. With only unarmed women and children inside, the soldiers opened fire on the homes, killing 29 people including 21 members of the Bačić and Horozović families (10 women and 11 children). The bodies were then taken to an unknown location. Only three people survived the massacre, including Zijad Bačić and Hidajet Horozović, children at the time and, today, two of the three applicants before the Court. The third petitioner, Fikret Bačić, who was abroad at the time, personally lost 12 family members in the massacre.

Several days before the massacre, a group of approximately ten men, including Refik Bačić, the brother of Fikret Bačić, were stopped by Serb forces, allegedly for questioning. That was the last time Refik Bačić was seen. He has been missing ever since.

Almost 18 years later, no impartial, independent and thorough investigation has been undertaken into Refik Bačić`s disappearance, and no effort has been made to locate his body. Nor has there been an attempt to uncover, exhume, and identify the remains of the victims of the massacre, so that they can be returned to the families. At present, none of the perpetrators of the massacre have been prosecuted or punished for the crimes, although witnesses have identified several suspects. The three applicants have raised the case with the Bosnian authorities, international organizations present in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and other bodies responsible for disappearances, but with little response.

On July 16, 2007, the Constitutional Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina ordered the local authorities to turn over all available information in the cases of Refik Bačić and the massacre. To date, the Bosnian authorities have not executed this order and have not forwarded the information requested by the applicants.

“Impunity in Bosnia-Herzegovina, unfortunately, is all too common,” said Philip Grant, President of Trial. “The victims simply cannot take it any more – the bodies of their loved ones still have not been found, while the perpetrators of these crimes, some of whom continue to live in the area, remain undisturbed.” According to Lejla Mamut, coordinator of TRIAL in Sarajevo, “the authorities are not doing their job. It is important in these circumstances that the victims can petition an independent body outside of the country to force the authorities to respect and enforce their rights.”

In late April 2010, TRIAL brought the three applications before the European Court requesting a judgment against Bosnia-Herzegovina for the violation of Article 2 (the right to life) and Article 3 (the prohibition on torture and inhuman and degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights for its failure to undertake the necessary investigations and prosecutions. The applicants also assert that they are victims of violations of Articles 3 and 8 (right to the respect for family life) due to the official indifference to the case and their inability to mourn and bury their loved ones in accordance with their beliefs.


According to sources, between 100,000 and 200,000 people were killed between 1992 and 1995 during the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and an additional 25,000 to 30,000 were victims of forced disappearances. Almost 10,000 people have never been found.

Since its creation, TRIAL has petitioned the European Court of Human Rights in twelve cases involving Bosnia-Herzegovina. Six other files were brought before the United Nations Human Rights Committee. The condemnation of Bosnia-Herzegovina for these human rights violations would be a first, as no decision on such cases have yet been made by any international human rights body, which lends these cases a particular importance.

The organization is also active in cases of forced disappearances or torture in Algeria, Libya, and Nepal and represents more than twenty families before various international bodies.

For more information

Philip Grant, +41 22 321 61 10 (French / English)
Lejla Mamut, +387 62 38 69 34 (Bosnian / Serbian / Croatian / English)