Our efforts to sensitise the judiciary and educate legal experts on the rights of LGBTI people have resulted in the appointment of another contact person in the prosecutor’s office who will work with LGBTI people who have been victims of hate crimes. Amir Midžić, Cantonal Prosecutor at the Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office of Una-Sana Canton, will be the contact person for all LGBTI people seeking assistance in reporting hate crimes on the grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Contact persons have already been appointed in the prosecutor’s offices of Sarajevo Canton, Tuzla Canton, and the District Prosecutor’s Office in Trebinje, and with the appointment of prosecutor Amir Midžić, LGBTI people in the Una-Sana Canton will also have a prosecutor to whom they can turn in the event of a hate crime. In a short interview, we discussed the importance of education on LGBTI issues and the prosecutor’s appointment as a contact person.
Has the Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office of Una-Sana Canton previously worked on cases of crimes committed out of prejudice on the grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity?
According to available data, the Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office of Una-Sana Canton had no reported cases of crimes committed out of prejudice on the grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity, which does not mean that such crimes do not occur in this area, but it does represent the fact that affected members of the LGBTI community do not report such crimes for a variety of reasons.
Why do you believe it is vital to appoint a contact person in the Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office of Una-Sana Canton who will be in charge of receiving reports of hate incidents and crimes against LGBTI people?
In light of the foregoing, it is almost certain that it is necessary to appoint a contact person at the Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office of Una-Sana Canton who will be in charge of receiving reports of violence against that group of citizens, implying that the prosecutor should contribute to dispelling the fear of being second-class citizens and strengthening the awareness that they have the same right to protection as all other citizens while keeping in mind that many of the LGBTIQ movement ideas encounter serious opposition in various segments of society. In particular, almost all religious traditions condemn “alternative sexual practices” as morally repugnant.
Do you believe that legal experts in BiH are properly educated on LGBTI issues?
Given the general situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s education system, and the fact that the rights of members of the LGBTI community have only recently begun to be discussed, I believe that additional education of judges and prosecutors, as well as other persons involved in the prosecution of crimes involving the LGBTI community, is required, particularly in the presentation of cases from the practice of our or foreign courts and prosecutor’s offices.
Have you attended training on hate crimes against LGBTI people, and if yes, was it beneficial to you and your colleagues?
I did not undergo training on hate crimes against LGBTI people, but I did attend workshops on the topic “European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg – Processing Cases of Hate Speech” organised by the Association of BH Journalists, and I participated in the international conference titled “Hate Crimes: Challenges of Regulation and Prosecution in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, which had a positive effect on my further work. I believe that training on this topic will be very beneficial in terms of quality preparation for the prosecution of these crimes, which are expected to be reported more frequently with the democratic development of society.