Fazlic and Others v. Bosnia (Admissibility)
Relatives as Victims | Duty to Investigate | Admissibility
The Court found that, taking into account the special circumstances prevailing in Bosnia and Herzegovina up until 2005 and the large number of war crimes cases still pending before local courts, the State did not infringe the minimum standard requiring the authorities to conduct investigations into claims that a person who was last seen in their custody subsequently disappeared in a life-threatening context. In particular, the Court referred to the fact that a number of persons were convicted for the crimes committed in the relevant area at the time of the events, and emphasised that the procedural obligation under Article 2 must be interpreted in a way which does not impose an impossible or disproportionate burden on the authorities. The Court also found that the authorities’ reaction to the victims' disappearance did not amount to inhuman or degrading treatment of their relatives, since they had not failed in any duty of reasonable expedition or of notification of the families.
June 3, 2014
Facts of the Case
All of the victims disappeared during an attack perpetrated against their town by Serb forces on 24 May 1992, in the context of the armed conflict in Bosnia. Some of them are believed to have been killed either during the takeover of the town or shortly thereafter, while others were killed in detention camps in July and August 1992. Between 1996 and 2002, the victims' families sought and obtained declarations of presumption of death with respect to their relatives; however, the victims' remains have not been found. Between 2009 and 2010, the victims' families requested war damages for the death of their relatives, but their requests were either rejected as out of time or still pending at the time of the application. Convictions in relation to the attack on the victims' town have been issued by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and by the Bosnian War Crimes Chambers.