LONDON, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Silence about the torture and systematic rape of women by Serbian forces during the Bosnian conflict is "deafening," Amnesty International said Wednesday.
The full extent of sexual violence against women during the war that ended nearly 20 years ago has yet to be recognized by Serbia, the international rights group said in a statement accompanying a report, "When Everyone is Silent."
"The silence surrounding the war-time rape of women in Republika Srpska, an internationally recognized crime under international law, is deafening," said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia program director for the organization. "Both the authorities and the media are ignoring the suffering of part of the population."
Many survivors still suffer from physical, emotional and social effects of the violence, he said.
Dalhuisen said Serbian authorities have yet to collect data on the number of Bosnian women sexually brutalized or to develop policies that would address the women's needs.
The women can only achieve justice, Dalhuisen said, when their assailants are prosecuted and Serbia acknowledges and redresses the women's suffering.
Serbian law concerning civilian victims of war is inadequate, the Amnesty official said, because the deadline for victims to report has expired and it does not provide for psychological care of the women.
Fewer than 40 cases of crimes of sexual violence during the conflict have been prosecuted since 1995, the statement said.