In September 2010, TRIAL submitted an individual complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Committee against Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) concerning the enforced disappearance of Mensud Rizvanović, which occurred in July 1992. In this case, ACT is acting on behalf of Mrs Fatima Rizvanović and Mrs. Ruvejda Rizvanović, who are respectively the mother and the wife of Mr. Mensud Rizvanović.
On 20 July 1992 Mr. Mensud Rizvanović was arbitrarily deprived of his liberty in Rizvanovići (BiH) by members of the army of the Republika Srpska (Vojska Republike Srpske - VRS) taking part in ethnic cleansing operations perpetrated in that area. He was afterwards taken to the detention camp Keraterm, where he was subjected to ill treatment and inhumane conditions. He was seen alive for the last time by eyewitnesses in the hands of the guards of the facility in life threatening circumstances. The fate and whereabouts of Mr. Mensud Rizvanović remain unknown since then.
In spite of numerous attempts from his relatives to establish the truth regarding the circumstances of the arbitrary deprivation of liberty and the subsequent enforced disappearance of Mr. Mensud Rizvanović, his fate and whereabouts and the progress and results of the investigations remain unknown. Since then, Mrs. Fatima Rizvanović and Mrs. Ruvejda Rizvanović have lived in a lacerating situation of uncertainty.
Indeed, 18 years after the events, no ex officio, prompt, impartial, thorough and independent investigation has been carried out by BiH authorities and no one has been prosecuted, judged and sanctioned for the arbitrary deprivation of liberty, the ill-treatment and the enforced disappearance of Mr. Mensud Rizvanović, thus fostering an ongoing climate of impunity. Although both the authors have provided their DNA samples to international mechanisms and national institutions dealing with the subject of missing persons, to date the mortal remains of Mr. Mensud Rizvanović have not been duly located, exhumed, identified and returned to the family.
To date, Mrs. Fatima Rizvanović and Mrs. Ruvejda Rizvanović have not received reparation or compensation for the harm suffered by them and their loved one.
TRIAL therefore submitted an individual communication to the United Nation Human Rights Committee asking it :
to recognise that BiH violated numerous articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights subsequently to Mr. Rizvanović’s enforced disappearance, even though BiH has ratified the Covenant;
to declare that BiH also violated the Covenant with regard to the suffering caused by Rizvanović‘s mother and spouse owing to his disappearance;
to request BiH undertake all necessary action to launch independent investigations as a matter of urgency with a view to locating Mr. Mensud Rizvanović and, in the event of his death, exhuming, identifying, respecting and returning his mortal remains to the authors;
to request BiH undertake all necesary action to identify those responsible for his arbitrary deprivation of liberty, ill-treatment and subsequent enforced disappearance, judge and sanction them;
to request BiH undertake all necesary action to guarantee that Mrs. Fatima Rizvanović and Mrs. Ruvejda Rizvanović obtain without any further delay fair and adequate compensation and, in particular, access to medical and psychological care free of charge.
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.
The disappearance of Mr. Mensud Rizvanović took place within the general context of the “ethnic cleansing” operations that occurred in July 1992. To date, no one has been convicted, prosecuted and punished for his enforced disappearance, thus fostering an overall climate of impunity.
In 2010 the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the International Committee of the Red Cross estimated that around 10,000 people remain disappeared in BiH.