On Documenta's work and the campaign

The situation in which civilian victims of war are today is in the centre of Documenta's years-long work. The key stand point is to ensure social rights and other forms of reparations, i.e. to affirm the rights to reparations. The focus of raising visibility and the rights of victims is a key step towards dealing with the past in Croatia.

Key activities include:

  • documenting and analysing administrative and court proceedings,
  • strengthening civilian victims of war and associations of victims,
  • analysing and researching about the needs, problems and positions of civilian victims of war,
  • supporting victims in court proceedings before Croatian courts and European Court for Human Rights,
  • public advocacy of the rights to reparations.

The framework of our advocacy and media campaign "Victims Have Waited for Too Long" consists of individual stories of civilian victims of war, carrying a message to the public and responsible institutions that families of the killed and missing civilians, parents of children killed in the war, victims of mines, camp prisoners and victims of rape and sexual violence expect a comprehensive compensation with the aim of making necessary changes to the legal framework.


Civilian victims

Civilian victims of war are persons who suffered, individually or within a group, certain damage. Damage are physical and mental injuries, emotional pain, material losses or other serious violations of their rights through acts or failures which present severe violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law. The concept of victim also includes close family members or protégés of a direct victim and persons who suffered damages in an attempt to help victims in need or to prevent their victimization.


Civilian victims of war are:

  • persons directly killed in war,
  • persons directly injured in war,
  • persons who died from consequences of war, during or after the war, such as illness, malnutrition or lack of certain rights – consequences which are not normally expected in times of peace,
  • victims of a one-sided conflict in cases when the state commits violence over its citizens,
  • victims of rape or other forms of war-time sexual violence,
  • refugees, expellees/internally displaced persons,
  • persons who died of war injuries after the war.



The number of civilian victims in Croatia is still unknown, but it is estimated there to be between 4,000 and 8,000 civilian victims. Only a smaller number of them has the status of civilian victims of war, which enables them to realize accompanying welfare rights (disability pension, unemployment benefits for those who are unable to work, care and house aid, etc.). Most of the victims have no information about their rights and possibilities to realize welfare rights. Family members of the dead still await prosecution of war crimes. Numerous victims who have filed requests for compensation of non-material damages due to the death of a close relative have still not received any damages and are today paying high court expenses. Cases of sexual violence against civilians and camp prisoners have mostly not been prosecuted and victims do not have ensured psycho-social or other support. Almost 2,000 persons have been injured by mines during and after the war, and significant part of territory has still not been de-mined. A large number of residential buildings were destroyed in areas where there had been no war operations, and proceedings for compensation of material damages have mostly resulted in charging victims with court expenses.


Most of the victims today receive no adequate support from the state or the society as a whole. Most of survivors need a public recognition of their suffering, psycho-social aid, and social solidarity. Victims deserve moral and material satisfaction.

Civilian victims of war have to right to adequate, efficient and timely compensation.

Types of compensation are:

RESTITUTION – return to the situation which preceded the violation of rights: bringing back freedom, respect for human rights, identity, family life and citizenship, return to their place of residence, going back to work and return of assets.


  • violation of physical integrity and mental pain,
  • lost chance for employment, education and welfare benefits,
  • material damages and loss of profit, including loss of employment capacities
  • moral damages
  • expenses of legal representation, medical care, psychological counselling and welfare services,
  • every economically assessed damage.


REHABILITATION – medical and psychological help, legal and welfare aid

SATISFACTION should contain:

  • end of continued injuries,
  • verification of facts and complete and public acknowledgement of truth,
  • search for those who are missing,
  • court and administrative punishment of persons responsible for injuries,
  • official declaration or court decision which re-established dignity, respect and rights of victims and persons closely related to victims,
  • commemoration and paying respect to victims,
  • public apology and accepting responsibility.