Prosecutor's Office v. Radmilo Vuković

In 2007, the Court of BiH found Radmilo Vuković, a member of the Republika Srpska Army, guilty of War Crimes against Civilians under Article 173(1) of the Criminal Code of BiH for raping a Bosnian woman at least six times between June and August 1992, the early months of the Bosnian War. In 2008, a panel of the Appellate Division acquitted Vuković of these charges, finding the testimonies of the claimant and her sister to be inconsistent and thus not credible. First, the Court noted factual inconsistencies between the testimony of the claimant and her sister (e.g., the date of the first assault, whether the claimant told her mother of the assault). Second, the Court found the testimonies of the claimant and her sister were inconsistent with prior statements they had given in 1994 and 2001. Third, the Court noted that two defense witnesses testified that Vuković and the claimant were cohabiting partners engaged in an extramarital affair before the Bosnian War (however, the claimant denied any relationship). Lastly, the Court questioned why the claimant did not obtain an abortion to terminate the pregnancy resulting from the alleged rape once she was in safe territory. This case is notable because of the demanding standard set by the court regarding the testimony of rape victims: “The testimony of the injured party must not raise any suspicion as to its exactness and truthfulness, credibility and integrity of the witness exactly because the act of rape, as a rule, is never attended by a witness who might decisively support the testimony of the injured party.” This case is also notable because the Court considered the claimant’s decision to not have an abortion to be evidence that a rape had not occurred.

Second instance verdict available in English here.



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