Palić v. Bosnia and Herzegovina
Deprivation of Liberty | Relatives as Victims | Right to Know the Truth | Duty to Investigate | Duty to Prosecute
Taking into account the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the years following the war, and the fact that there had been no substantial period of inactivity on the part of the domestic authorities, the Court found that the domestic criminal investigation into the victims' disappearance and death was conducted with reasonable promptness and expedition. The Court also found that, without putting in doubt the suffering of the victim's relatives, the authorities’ reactions could not be categorised as inhuman and degrading treatment, since domestic authorities recognised the victim's disappearance, his wife received compensation, the victim's remains were eventually identified, and an independent and effective criminal investigation was eventually carried out.
September 15, 2011
Articles not violated / not dealt with
Article 2 [ECHR], Article 3 [ECHR], Article 5 [ECHR]
Facts of the Case
Mr. Avdo Palić, a military commander of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, disappeared in July 1995 when he went to negotiate a surrender with the Army of the Republika Srpska in the context of the armed conflict taking place in the country. Following many fruitless attempts to obtain any official news about him, Mr. Palić's wife lodged an application against the Republika Srpska with the Bosnian Human Rights Chamber in November 1999. In December 2000, the Human Rights Chamber held that Mr. Palić had been a victim of enforced disappearance, and ordered the Republika Srpska to carry out an investigation, to release Mr. Palić, if still alive, or to make available his remains to his wife, and to disclose all information about his fate and whereabouts. Mr. Palić's wife was also awarded non-pecuniary damages. In January 2006, the decision of the Human Rights Chamber had not been enforced yet. In March 2006, a declaration of presumed death was issues with respect to Mr. Palić. In April 2006, an ad hoc commission established by the Republika Srpska stated that Mr. Palić had been captured by the Army of the Republika Srpska and held first in a private flat and then in a military prison, where he was interrogated by security officers. It was also confirmed that a Security Officer had taken him away from the prison in September 1995. In December 2006, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina issued arrest warrants against the officers suspected of having committed an enforced disappearance as a crime against humanity. In May 2007, one of the two officers was transferred to the custody of the ICTY. In August 2009, Mr. Palić's body was found in a mass grave. In December 2009, the ICTY amended the indictment against the officer, charging him with the forcible transfer and deportation of Muslims, a consequence of which was the killing of Mr. Palić. His trial commenced in February 2010.