Parliament of FBiH adopted the proposition of hate crime definition of the Coalition for combat against hate speech and hate crime
On the 23rd of July of 2013 the House of Representatives of the Parliament of FBiH adopted the text of the Law on amendments to the Criminal Code of Federation of BiH and referred it into further procedure in the House of Peoples of the Parliament of FBiH.
It is important to emphasize that this law is the first one to propose the introduction of hate crime in the Criminal Code of the Federation.
The Club of the representatives of SDP of the Parliament of FBiH which proposed this Law took into consideration the amendments to the hate crime definition of the Coalition for combat against hate speech and hate crime, before harmonizing its text. The Coalition for combat against hate speech and hate crime addressed these amendments to all the Clubs of representatives in the Parliament of FBiH in order to ensure that these new changes of the Law ensure more detailed and adequate legal definition and protection from hate crime. Representatives of the SDP Club contacted the Coalition and its representatives because they recognized the necessity to properly regulate hate crime and include the suggestions of the Coalition into their Draft of Law on amendments to the Criminal Code of FBiH. The Coalition suggested expanding the already proposed definition in order to include more potential hate crimes. This is an excellent example of the collaboration between representatives of the government can and the civil society.
Thus the House of Peoples of the Parliament of FBiH was addressed with a Law on amendments to the Criminal Code of FBiH which defines hate crime as every criminal act for which predominated or sole motivation was hatred, hostility or prejudice towards the victim, based on his/hers real or assumed personal characteristic, or a personal characteristic of a person victim is associated with, such as nationality, religion, ethnicity, rase, gender, sexual orientation, disability, health status, gender identity or some other personal trait. This Law also regulates that if a criminal act was hate motivated, the court must take that motivation into account as an aggravating circumstance, unless hate motivation is already regulated as a qualified form of a criminal act by this Law.
Coalition for combat against hate speech and hate crime considers the adoption of the text of this Law and its referral to the House of People the first and determining step towards the adequate processing and sanctioning of hate crime, as well as towards proper combat against this form of cruelty and violence in Federation of BiH. The Coalition welcomes the effort and the endeavour of the representatives of the House of Representatives as well as their willingness to work with the civil society in order to properly and comprehensively regulate hate crimes.
Coalition and its member organisations will continue their work and the advocacy on adequate regulation and processing of hate crime cases, as well as on rising the awareness on the danger hate speech represents and the necessity for its criminal regulation.
Coalition for combat against hate speech and hate crime was founded in January of 2013 by Association for Democratic Initiatives, Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Mediacentre Sarajevo, Sarajevo open Centre, BH journalists, Press Council in BiH and CURE Foundation with the support of OSCE and Civil Rights Defenders. The Coalition was mainly formed in order to advocate for adequate regulation of hate speech and hate crimes in the criminal legislation of both entities and the Brčko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and for the harmonization of criminal laws on all the state levels.
On behalf of the members of the Coalition for combat against hate speech and hate crime