During 2016, Sarajevo Open Centre was advocating with every Cantonal Ministry of Internal Affairs in Federation of BiH to include hate crime modules into their permanent and obligatory trainings in 2017. Police officers in every single Ministry of Internal Affairs are obligated to participate in these trainings. When it comes to educating police officers, in last few years Sarajevo Open Centre has worked on the topic of hate crime in many different ways and with high intensity.
After we had conducted basic trainings about hate crimes for police officers for every Cantonal Ministry of Internal Affairs in 2016, we successfully advocated for inclusion of hate crime modules in obligatory trainings in 2017.
Every cantonal ministry gave its consent and promise that module on hate crime will be held. After we achieved these agreements with cantonal ministries, we conducted a train the trainer programme regarding hate crime, so the police officers who participated in this education could continue to adequately educate their colleagues. We maintained contact with ministries in order to check if these trainings were actually conducted.
In last few days we contacted all ministries of internal affairs in FBiH to get feedback on whether hate crime module was held and how many police officers participated. The only exception is Ministry of Internal Affairs of Canton Sarajevo, since we have already successfully advocated for this programme in 2013, and they have included this education programme in their permanent and obligatory trainings for police officers.
Ministries of Internal Affairs that organised hate crime trainings for their police officers are: Zapadnohercegovački, Hercegovačko-neretvanski, Zeničko-dobojski, Srednjobosanski and Bosansko-podrinjski Canton, while ministries in other cantons educated those police officers who are more likely to arrive first at the scene of committed criminal offence: Tuzlanski (total of 242), Unsko-sanski (123), Posavski (20). Ministry of Internal Affairs of Canton 10 notified us that they were not able to conduct hate crime module during 2017, and that they will be doing it in December 2018.
We are happy to see that Ministries of Internal Affairs recognised the importance of educations for police officers on the subject matter of hate crime, and that these trainings helped them to teach their police officers how to treat these offences in accordance with amendments to the Criminal Code of FBiH, in which bias is set as an aggravating circumstance when these criminal offences are committed based on protected characteristics which are common for the victims – race, skin colour, religious beliefs, national or ethnic origin, language, disability, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.