US Secretary of State Clinton and High Representative for EU Foreign Policy Ashton pose alongside members of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Tri-Presidency in Sarajevo (Reuters)
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has urged Serbia to address the thousands of outstanding claims of sexual violence from the Bosnian war of the 1990s.
Amnesty has said that from 1992-95 tens of thousands women were subject to "torture, including often systematic and repeated rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy and other crimes of sexual violence," in the Serb enclave inside Bosnia-Herzegovina.
"The silence surrounding the wartime rape of women in [Serbia] is deafening," said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia programme director at Amnesty.
"Almost 20 years after the end of the conflict, the cruel failure to ensure justice for survivors of wartime sexual violence must at last be brought out of the shadows if the survivors themselves are to rebuild their lives and their families, communities and societies are to heal," Dalhuisen said.
Fewer than 40 cases of sexual violence against women have been prosecuted by Bosnia's courts or by the International Criminal Court, where former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is on trial on charges of genocide and war crimes.
"The authorities must identify the number of survivors of wartime rape and look into their needs. They must ensure that the public health system is well-equipped to provide the survivors with the necessary medical and psychological care," Dalhuisen said.
Amnesty's appeal followed a visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and European Union security and foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
They called for Bosnia to join the European Union and Nato and to resolve the internal disputes that still separate Serbs, Muslims and Croats.
"Political leaders in Bosnia-Herzegovina must do what the majority of citizens want and that's Euro-Atlantic integrations. Bosnia-Herzegovina has no time to waste on unproductive talks," Ashton told the Bosnia-Herzegovina's three presidents, each of whom represents one of the major ethnic groups.
"It is unacceptable that 17 years after the war some question the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia," added Clinton.
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