Hate incident is an action motivated by prejudice which is not that big in scope or harmful enough for it to be considered as a criminal act.
Hatred motivated crimes are a criminal act motivated by hatred towards certain groups in a society. It consists of two elements:
It has to be strictly referred to in the criminal code. Nobody can be prosecuted for an act that is not written in a criminal code as such. If we look back on a hate incident we will notice that it is missing exactly that element.
It is motivated by prejudice. That means that the perpetrator chose his or her victim exclusively because of his or her characteristics which are common inside their social group. For example: religion, nationality, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, gender identity etc.
Hatred motivated crimes sends strong message of bigotry towards the victim or group that the victim belongs to. That can cause feelings of insecurity and distrust among the community and escalate and increase tensions in a society.
Perpetrator of this criminal act does not need to have any personal feelings towards the victim and does not need to know the victim. The motive behind this act is prejudice, in other words, subjective opinion and perception of the victim by the perpetrator. Most common target of hate crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina are returnee communities, religious and sacral objects, LGBT persons, Roma people.
Freedom of expression
Freedom of expression consists of freely voicing your opinion in public without fear of retribution and a right to state your opinion and thoughts publicly without fear that someone will stop or punish us. It is one of the pillars of democratic government and rule of law. It is also universal human right that belongs to every individual in the entire world.
Hate speech is oral or written expression which consists of publicly inciting or spreading bigotry and hatred towards certain group (or individual) with the goal of creating strife, inciting prejudicial action, discrimination and violence. It usually targets someone because of their nationality, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, medical status, gender, age, etc.
Expression that goes beyond boundaries of freedom of expression, and has incitation of hatred and bigotry and incites discrimination and violence as its goal is hate speech. The use of the right to freedom of expression carries with it certain responsibilities and obligations, and in certain cases it can be limited.
Presence of hate speech in public discourse is one of the most direct indicators of weak democratic society and is based exclusively on negative prejudices and stereotypes.
Perpetrators of hate speech and hate incidents rarely cease their activity just on those acts. Therefore, lack of proper reaction of public institutions and lack of adequate regulation and sanctions for those acts paves the ground for their escalation into the hate crime.