PUBLIC APPEAL: Use the law to ensure justice for the abused girl, not freedom for the sex offender

On the occasion of the announcement of the District Public Prosecutor’s Office in Bijeljina about the potential violation of procedural laws and legally binding international agreements by the Council of the District Court in Bijeljina, in the case against Milenko Tomić from Bijeljina, accused of molesting a child under 15 years of age, women’s organizations and networks of women’s organizations in the Republic of Srpska and all of Bosnia and Herzegovina, from judicial institutions and judicial authorities in BiH, demand:

  • To use all legal possibilities and the main hearing in the trial against Milenko Tomić from Bijeljina, accused of having committed the criminal offense of molesting a child under the age of 15 during August and September 2021, committed against a girl from Bijeljina, a member of the sports club of which he was coach, end and thus reduce the abuse of domestic procedural laws and the violation of international conventions that the District Public Prosecutor’s Office of Bijeljina warns against;
  • That the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, in an urgent procedure, initiate a review of the potential disciplinary responsibility of the members of the judicial council in this case because they allowed the main trial to take an unjustified long time by complying with the unjustified demands of the defense of the accused.

On January 17, the District Prosecutor’s Office in Bijeljina published a Public Announcement on the official website of the Prosecutor’s Office in which they warn that the Council of the District Court during the main trial allowed that, despite the objections of the prosecution, the proceedings unreasonably prolong by presenting unnecessary evidence, and thus led to a violation principles of the Criminal Procedure Law.

The epilogue of the proceedings will be that the accused is released from detention without the first-instance verdict being pronounced. From the beginning of the process, the accused publicly threatened the girl and her parents, which is why the possibility of his release deeply shocks and disturbs the public and devalues all postulates of justice and the meaning of the work of the judiciary.

District Public Prosecutor’s Office in Bijeljina also states that “the court panel ignored the provisions of the Law on Protection and Treatment of Children and Minors in Criminal Proceedings (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Srpska”, number: 13/2010, 61/2013 and 68/2020) which prescribe that criminal proceedings for offenses from Article 184 of the aforementioned law are urgent, and refer to criminal offenses by which children are harmed, which is the case in the specific case”.

During the main trial in this case, 28 hearings were held, among other things at the request of the defense of the accused, and the trial was stopped by a request for the removal of two judges from the Chamber, which turned the process into a farce because it was about judges who, during the main trial, respected all defense requirements.

Having in mind that the District Court of Bijeljina does not have a witness support department, the repetition of procedural actions brought new traumas for the victim, her family and witnesses, and the damage done is incalculable, if we bear in mind that our justice system does not have programs to support victims and witnesses of criminal acts in relation to sexual violence.

  • Women’s organizations, organizations for the protection of human rights and children’s rights, public figures and legal experts in BiH, the signatories of the statement call on the competent authorities to urgently initiate legislative and other measures to establish specialized support services for victims of sexual violence, which is the recommendation of the GREVIO Committee for BiH and to recognize the rights to protection and support for victims of sexual violence, who, as the case in Bijeljina once again shows, were also exposed to the violence of the judicial institutions from which they sought justice and protection for the violence they survived.

The urgent reaction of everyone in the judicial system who have the authority to do so is the only response to the misuse of the “fair trial” postulate that occurred in the District Court in Bijeljina. Only in this way can the scales of justice be brought into balance and some confidence in the judiciary and the people who exercise judicial functions can be restored.


Association “Žene sa Une“ Bihać

Maida Zagorac, Sarajevo

Association of Citizens “Vive žene“ Tuzla

Jasmina Čaušević, Sarajevo

Organizaton “Glas žene“ Bihać

Ecological Association ”Eko put“ Bijeljina

Snežana Jagodić Vujić, Bijeljina

Milkica Milojević, Banja Luka

Women’s Association “Žena“ Janja

Association “Medica” Zenica

Milanka Kovačević

Nikolija Bjelica Škrivan

Portal “Direkt“

“Banja Luka Center for Human Rights”, Banja Luka

“Women’s Network BIH“

Women’s Association Derventa

Foundation “INFOHOUSE“ Sarajevo

Association CROA Sarajevo

Association “Seka“ Goražde

Association Network for Building Peace

Sarajevo Open Center

AC Budućnost Modriča

Gordana Vidović

Initiative Women Citizens for Constitutional Reform

Association “Naša djeca“ Sarajevo

Danka Zelić

NGO Association of Citizens “Grahovo“ Bosaansko Grahovo

Foundation CURE, Sarajevo

Foundation “United Women” Banja Luka

Helsinki Citizens‘ Assembly Banja Luka

Foundation of Local Democracy Sarajevo

WA “Maja“ Kravica

Association “Žena BIH“ Mostar

HO “Horizonti“ Tuzla

Magdalena Tošić

Begzada Jovanović

Urem “Siguran korak“ Bijeljina

“Ženska zadruga“ Bijeljina

Svetlana Rašević-Sarić

Jovanka Vuković

Association of Women with Disabilities “Impuls“, Bijeljina

Citizen’s Initiative Mostar

Association “Zemlja djece u BIH“ Tuzla

Association of Active Women “GENDER” Brčko

Lana Jajčević, Banja Luka

Jelena Novović

Sanja Todorović

Bosa Miletić

Women’s Association Višegrad

Dragana Đurić

Association “Forum žena“ Bratunac

Stanka Frančić

Association of Roma Women (UŽR) “BOLJA BUDUĆNOST” City of Tuzla

Indira Bajramović

Coalition “KOLOSI“ Bijeljina

Milorad Jović

Dubravka Kovačević

Melani Isović

Nina Aleksić

Ana Kotur-Erkić

Center of Women’s Rights, Zenica

Safe Network BIH

Ana Medan

Zilka Spahić

TPO Foundation, Sarajevo

Network of NGOs for Children’s Rights “Snažniji glas za djecu”

Women’s Roma Network “Uspijeh”


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