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Bosnia to Investigate Judge, Police, Over Livestreamed Femicide

Bosnia’s authorities will investigate several police officers and a judge who failed to issue a restraining order against Nermin Sulejmanovic, a gunman who livestreamed his wife’s murder over Instagram, after which he killed two more people and wounded another three before commiting suicide. 

The investigations were announced as a result of public pressure over the brutal femicide, which happened after the victim, 38-year-old Nizama Hecimovic, reported family violence to the authorities in the small town of Gradacac in northeastern Bosnia. 

“The investigation teams of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Tuzla Canton are conducting extensive operational and investigative actions related to events before, during, and after the triple homicide and attempted murder of three individuals in Gradacac on Friday, August 11,” Almir Arnautovic, Tuzla Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson, said on Monday. 

According to Bosnian media, the Office of the Disciplinary Prosecutor of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, VSTV, has initiated proceedings against Judge Lejla Numanovic from Gradacac, who refused to issue a restraining order against Sulejmanovic on August 7. 

Hecimovic reported Sulejmanovic for domestic violence, but was too afraid to testify. According to the judgment, despite being afraid to testify, Hecimovic sought restraining order, due to fear for her safety and life. 

The violence began when Sulejmanovic, a bodybuilder with a criminal record, first killed his ex-wife on a livestream on Instagram.

Sulemajnovic started his livestream by saying that viewers “will see what a live murder looks like”, then took a gun and shot dead his ex-wife. Thousands have watched his livestream. The Interior Ministry in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Federation entity said it will investigate people who voiced approval on social media for Nermin’s action. 

After police staged a man hunt to track him down, Sulejmanovic committed suicide in front of police officers.

According to media reports, the authorities will also investigate how the information on Hecimovic’s hidden location was leaked, which led to Sulejmanovic finding her. 

Hecimovic will be buried on Monday. Her family asked government officials not to attend the ceremony. A mourning day has been declared in Tuzla Canton, one of ten in Bosnia’s Federation entity.  The government of Bosnia’s other entity, Republika Srpska, has declared a day of mourning on Wednesday, August 16. 

Bosnia’s state-level government, the Council of Ministers, did not vote on Monday to declare a day of mourning on the territory of the country after two ministers from Republika Srpska, Stasa Kosarac and Nenad Nesic, voted against the decision. Bosnia’s deputy Human rights Minister, Duska Jurisic, wrote on her official Facebook that this was “a poor, pitiful attempt to undermine the state”. 

The murders happened on the day of the opening of 29th Sarajevo Film Festival in the country’s capital. The festival did not commemorate the victims since the opening on Friday night. 

Over the past seven years, 60 women have lost their lives through violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with eight cases in 2022.

The figure could potentially be higher because of the lack of official statistics on femicides in Bosnia. Protests have been announced in the biggest cities in Bosnia, demanding stricter penalties for femicide.

Source : Balkan Insight