The main idea for this topic came as a reflection of the recent happenings that shocked the entire Region, especially Serbia. Actresses from Serbia, after several years, gathered courage and told the whole world how they survived rape. The cases were investigated, and some of them had a criminal proceeding as the epilogue. This paper will contain three chapters. The first chapter will give the definition of the “sexual assault” with special emphasis on consent, which is the key element that connects several sexual offences such as crimes “sexual harassment” and “raping”. The second chapter will provide an overview of European Court of Human Rights practice considering the crime of rape and the effect of ECtHR case law on national legislation. Finally, the final chapter will present the legislation regulating the “crime of rape” in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia. This chapter is important for showing the difference between the definition, processing and the punishment for raping a person. It is well known that, for example, in 2019, Serbia adopted “Tijanas law” which implies life imprisonment for the most serious crimes : aggravated murder of a child, rape with a fatal consequence, sexual intercourse with a helpless person with a fatal consequence, sexual intercourse with a child with a fatal consequence, sexual intercourse with a child with abuse of position with a fatal consequence. Finally, in the conclusion of the paper the authors will try to answer several questions, for example to what extent the courts respect the Strasbourg principles, why rape victims find it difficult to dare to press criminal charges, what should states improve in the judicial system when it comes to the crime of rape.
Keywords: gender equality, sex offences, rape, Istanbul Convention, European court for the human rights.