Canton Sarajevo Ministry of Interior and Prosecutor’s Office together in combating hate crimes

Sarajevo Open Centre, with the financial support of the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Netherlands to the OSCE in Vienna, in cooperation with OSCE in BiH, on 18 and 19 October 2018, held the joint two-day education for police officers of the Canton Sarajevo Ministry of Interior (MoI) and prosecutors within the Canton Sarajevo Prosecutor’s Office. The training, named Prejudice as motives of hate crimes tackled these crimes, focusing on minority groups that are especially targeted by these hate crimes in BiH – lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) persons, Roma people, returnees, as well as religious and sacral objects.

During the first day of the training, there was talk about prejudice and stereotypes, as well as about the status of citizens belonging to these minority groups in BH society. Namely, prejudice are motives for committing hate crimes, thus the attitudes/opinions/emotions towards a certain (minority) group, that are not based on facts. By the end of the first day of the training, the participants had the chance to hear about the problems in practice, about the monitoring that the OSCE Mission is doing in BiH, as well as to learn about these hate crimes, the ways hate crimes occur and the consequences they produce.

During the second day of the training, there was talk about the contextual and legal framework and regulation of hate crimes. There was talk about the significance and prosecution techniques, as well as about the protocols signed between police and prosecutor regarding hate crimes, in order to enhance joint action/cooperation between police and prosecutor, with the aim to investigate these crimes more adequately. Also, the participants had the chance to, through group exercise and examples of cases that were processed, analyse cases and facts, and give their professional review on the investigations and crimes’ qualifications, in order to better understand hate crimes.

Knowing that hate crimes towards LGBTI persons, Roma people, returnees’ communities, religious and sacral objects are rarely processed in practice, or processed in inadequate ways and finally inadequately sanctioned, we think that education of police officers and prosecutors on this topic is of utter importance. Also, it is important because this is a relatively new legal regulation adopted two years ago in the Federation BiH, so the introduction to this topic is very important.

The participants of the two-day training were commanders and deputy commanders of the uniformed police, chiefs and deputy chiefs of the Sector of the Criminal Police of the Canton Sarajevo MoI, together with prosecutors of the Canton Sarajevo Prosecutor’s Office. This was the first time that the managerial/leading staff (commanders and chiefs and their deputies) participated in a training of this kind, which is very significant.