Press release on the occasion of introducing hate crime into the Criminal Code of FBiH

Koalicija drugi pokusajCoalition for combat against hate speech and hate crime wants to emphasise that the decision of the Government of FBiH adopted yesterday to refer Draft Law on Amendments to the Criminal Code of the Federation of BiH in abbreviated procedure to the Parliamentary assembly of FBiH, is a determined and positive step towards adequate regulation  and processing of hate crimes.

Coalition wants to express its interest and contribution to the adequate and extensive regulation of hate crimes by addressing its own proposition of the amendments to the clubs of the political parties and the working bodies of the Parliament of FBiH. These amendments should raise the awareness of the legislator that the legal formulation of hate crimes should recognize as a main or sole motivation to execute the criminal act: hate, bigotry, intolerance or prejudice towards the victim on the grounds of his/her assumed or real personal trait, or a personal trait of a person victim is associated with, such as nation, religion or ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, health status, gender identity or some other personal characteristic.

The goal of the Coalition is to raise the awareness on the necessity to regulate hate speech in the Criminal Law of Federation of BiH, because of its growing role in marginalisation, discrimination and even increase of hate crime towards certain groups of citizens. The Coalition proposes for hate speech to be regulated in the similar way it is done in Serbia or Croatia, stating that: everyone who uses media, press, radio, television, computer system or network, on a public gathering, or in any other way, expresses or makes available to the public flyers, pictures, texts or any other materials which advocate, incite or encourage hatred, discrimination or violence towards an individual or a group because of their race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, health status or some other personal characteristics, will be sanctioned with one to three years in prison.

The members of the Coalition for combat against hate speech and hate crime would like to underline that Bosnia and Herzegovina should harmonize its criminal legislation with its international and regional obligations and documents for protection of human rights, thus ensuring adequate protection to all its citizens and condemning hate speech and hate crime as criminal acts which undermine the equality of all the citizens of FBiH, and marginalize certain groups of society,  and present the danger to the constitutional order of the FBiH.

Member organisation of the Coalition express hope that the Parliament will take their proposition into consideration when adopting amendments to the Criminal Law of Federation of BiH and recognize the necessity of adequate criminal regulation of hate crime and hate speech in FBiH, nad also organize a public debate for civil society, academic community and professional associations to express their opinion on the Draft Law on Amendments to the Criminal Code of the Federation of BiH.

Coalition for combat against hate speech and hate crimes 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; Mediacentre; 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 harmonisation of this regulation on all state levels.