In January 2011, TRIAL lodged an application before the UN Human Rights Committee concerning the arbitrary arrest, ill-treatment and alleged subsequent death of Ermin Kadirić in July 1992, on behalf of Dino Kadirić and Emira Kadirić, son and wife of the victim.
On 20 July 1992, Rizvanovići members of the Bosnian Serb forces (Vojska Republike Srpske - VRS) and of paramilitary groups surrounded the village of and apprehended many civilians, including Ermin Kadirić, who was staying at his house with his wife and children, including five year old Dino. Together with other men from the neighborhood, was ill-treated for hours and eventually arbitrary killed by members of the VRS.
Before being forced to leave the area and being taken away, together with her children, to the concentration camp of Trnopolje, Mrs. Kadirić and other eyewitnesses could see the body of Ermin Kadirić lying on the ground. Allegedly, the mortal remains of her husband were subsequently removed and concealed and, to date, they have not been located, exhumed, identified and returned to his family. Ermin Kadirić is registered as “missing” before international organizations and domestic institutions, which formally consider his case “still open”.
Almost 18 years after the events, no effective investigation has been carried out by BiH authorities and no one has been prosecuted, judged or sanctioned for these crimes. In 2001, the victim’s relatives have provided institutions dealing with missing persons cases with their DNA samples. Nevertheless, to date the mortal remains of Ermin Kadirić have not been identified nor located.
Dino Kadirić and Emira Kadirić live in a lacerating situation of uncertainty as they were never informed about his whereabouts nor about the progress and results of the investigations.
In January 2011, TRIAL therefore submitted an individual communication to the United Nations Human Rights Committee asking it:
to find that BiH has violated numerous articles the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights with regard to Ermin Kadirić, due to the ongoing failure of BiH authorities to conduct an ex officio, prompt, impartial, independent and thorough investigation into the events, in order to establish the whereabouts of his body, as well as to identify those responsible for these crimes and to prosecute, judge and sanction them;
to find that BiH has violated several articles of the Covenant in respect of the victim’s wife and son;
to request BiH to order independent investigations as a matter of urgency with a view to locating, exhuming, identifying, respecting and returning the mortal remains of Mr. Ermin Kadirić to his family;
to request BiH to bring the perpetrators of the arbitrary arrest, ill-treatment, arbitrary execution and the subsequent removal and concealment of the mortal remains of Mr. Ermin Kadirić before the competent civil authorities for prosecution, judgment and sanction, and to disseminate publicly the results of this measure.
The General Context
It is estimated that between 100,000 and 200,000 persons died as a consequence of the conflict (1992-1995) in BiH and that between 25,000 and 30,000 were victims of enforced disappearance. Approximately 13,000 people remain disappeared to date.
The case of Ermin Kadirić occurred in the context of a first wave of enforced disappearances and “ethnic cleansing” operations perpetrated by the Serb army in the spring and summer of 1992.
Notwithstanding the existence of strong evidences on the identity of those responsible for the arbitrary arrest, ill-treatment and arbitrary execution and the subsequent concealment of the mortal remains of Ermin Kadirić, to date no one has been convicted, prosecuted and sanctioned for the mentioned crimes, thus fostering an overall climate of impunity.
On 5 November 2015 the UN Human Rights Committee issued a decision on the case, finding BiH responsible for the violation of several provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including the rights to life, personal liberty, and the prohibition of torture with regard to Mr. Ermin Kadirić. The Committee declared that the State is responsible for not providing information on the progress of the investigation into the crimes committed against Mr. Kadirić to his loved ones. The failure of the State to unveil the truth on what happened to Mr. Kadirić exposed his wife and son to anguish and distress amounting to inhumane and degrading treatment.
The Committee requested BiH to:
Locate the mortal remains of Mr. Ermin Kadirić;
Bring to justice without unnecessary delay those responsible for the crimes committed against Mr. Kadirić;
Provide the wife and son of Mr. Kadirić with adequate compensation and measures of satisfaction;
Provide the wife and son of Mr. Kadirić with the necessary psychological rehabilitation and medical care;
Prevent similar violations in the future and ensure that investigations into allegations of enforced disappearance and arbitrary executions are accessible to the families of victims.
BiH has now 180 days to inform the Committee about the measures taken to implement this decision.
Read the decision