Bosnia and Herzegovina’s House of Representatives recently adopted hate crime legislation that is inclusive of gender identity and sexual orientation.
Read more in the press release from the Coalition for Combat Hate Speech and Hate Crime below. The proposal by the Coalition was fully adapted. Accordingly, the law (Art 34) reads in reference to gender identity:
Whoever publicly incites or makes publicly available pamphlets, photos, texts and other materials which advocates, urges or incites hatred, discrimination or violence directed by any person or group of persons because of their race, religion, national or ethnic origin, origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, health status or other personal property, through the press, radio, television, computer systems or networks, at a public gathering or in any other manner, shall be punished by imprisonment from three months to three years.
Well done to the Coalition and everybody involved!
July 25 2013
Dear partners and supporters of the Sarajevo Open Centre,
We would like to inform you that the Coalition for Combat Against Hate Speech and Hate Crime, which Sarajevo Open Centre is a part of, has recently addressed the clubs of representatives of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the Federation of BiH and that we did sumbit a proposal of amendments to the Draft Law on amendments to the Criminal Law of FBiH. The Draft Law on amendments to the Criminal Law of FBiH has been discussed on July 23th and 24th 2013 in the abbreviated parliamentary procedure.
This initiative of the Coalition was a response to the definition of the hate crime proposed by this Draft Law, which was too narrow and excluded several protected grounds, association of the victim with the persons who possess some of the protected grounds, as well as the fact that the crime can be committed because of the real and the assumed characteristic of the victim.
Yesterday we have been informed by a member of the FBiH House of Representatives that our amendment proposal has been adopted. The Law on amendments to the Criminal Law of FBiH has been adopted by the House of Representatives including the definition on hate crime that our Coalition has proposed. Now the law will be submitted to the FBiH House of Peoples. This a great example of cooperation between BiH civil society organizations and political parties, where the parliament did recognize the expertise that is coming from BiH civil society organizations.
In September 2013 we will work with the same member of the House of Representatives on amending the FBiH Criminal Law with hate speech regulation.
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This is the first time for Federation of BiH to introduce hate crime into its Criminal Law. Republic of Srpska and Brčko District have introduced hate crime regulation in their Criminal Laws already in 2010.
The Coalition for combat against hate speech and hate crime was formed in January of 2013 with the support of Civil Rights Defenders and OSCE BiH and its current members are Association for Democratic Initiatives; Youth Initiative for Human Rights; Media Centre; Sarajevo Open Centre and later joined CURE Foundation; BH journalists and Press Council in BiH. The main goal of the Coalition is to advocate and lobby for adequate and proper regulation of hate speech and hate crime in the criminal legislation of both entities and Brčko District of BiH, as well as for the harmonization of this regulation on all state levels.
Attached to this mail, you can find the English and the Bosnian version of the memo and the proposition of amendments Coalition addressed to the clubs of the political parties of the Parliament of Federation of BiH.