Back Hate Speech: Training for the Prosecutors and Police in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Hate Speech: Training for the Prosecutors and Police in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Addressing hate speech effectively requires targeted training and clear legal standards. To this end, the Council of Europe organised a comprehensive training session for prosecutors and police officers from 13 offices across Bosnia and Herzegovina, focusing on domestic and European legal standards for combatting hate speech.

The training session, implemented by the Council of Europe Division for Co-operation on Freedom of Expression, included presentations on relevant practices from the European Court of Human Rights and in-depth case study discussions.

Participants gained a thorough understanding of the criteria and broad spectrum of elements used to address hate speech. Key factors include the context, form, and content of the expression, its frequency and intensity, the importance of the individual spreading it, and the platform used.

One significant issue identified was the inconsistency in legal texts addressing hate speech across different regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, posing a challenge to effective protection. The training session also emphasised distinguishing between hate speech and hate crimes, urging investigators to explore hatred toward protected categories as a motive, recognise incitement to hatred, and address it accordingly.

On the second day, discussions centered on online hate speech, the denial of genocide, and other historically determined facts as relevant contextual elements. These discussions aimed to raise awareness among practitioners in Bosnia and Herzegovina about the importance of strengthened protection against hate speech.

The training was organised, in co-operation with the Centres for judicial and prosecutorial training of the two Entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, within the joint European Union and Council of Europe programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Türkiye”, within the action “Protection of freedom of expression and the media in Bosnia and Herzegovina – PROFREX”.

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina 18-19 June 2024
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"Everyone has the right to freedom of expression"

Art. 10 European Convention on Human Rights

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