International protest against Belgian dam investor who threatens river activists in Bosnia-Herzegovina

SLAPP lawsuit against two young women from Bosnia and Herzegovina

young activists

The two young activists who have been targeted with the SLAPP case Sunčica Kovačević and Sara Tuševljak.

small hydro power plant in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The river Kasindolska river in Istočno Sarajevo, which has been devastated by the small hydropower plants of Green Invest.

© Jakub Hrab/Arnika
destroyed river in Bosnia

The devastation of river Kasindolska by the Belgium investor

© Robert Oroz

130 organizations today sent an open letter attached to this press to the diplomatic representatives of Belgium, the Head of EU Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and other relevant international institutions to voice their strong concern over the activities of the Belgian-based company Green Invest and its subsidiary in BiH, BUK d.o.o, who operate small hydropower plants on the Kasindolska river in Istočno Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Green Invest/BUK d.o.o. filed defamation lawsuits against two young Bosnian female activists, who have publicly spoken about the environmental impact of the hydropower plants on the Kasindolska river and its surrounding environment.  

“We consider these lawsuits to be Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPPs), which are increasingly used by politicians and corporations to intimidate environmental activists and censor criticism.  The two young women were targeted by Green Invest/BUK d.o.o. for standing up for their communities and their river and the lawsuit is a clear attempt to silence them and discourage others from speaking out,” said Lejla Kusturica from activist environmental organization ACT.

The Kasindolska river is a small mountainous river about 20km south of Sarajevo. People use it for recreation and for fishing. Green Invest/BUK d.o.o. operates one and plans to build two more small hydropower plants on the Kasindolska river. Since the beginning of the construction of the small hydropower plant in 2017 the local activists were voicing concern about their potentially negative impact on the river and its surrounding environment due to their breach of existing permits, including uncontrolled deforestation in conservation areas and soil erosion caused by the construction of access roads.  

In response, Green Invest/BUK d.o.o. has filed three defamation lawsuits seeking 7.500 EUR in damages and threatened further legal action against two young female activists who appeared in the media. The lawsuits have put tremendous pressure on the two activists. In addition to the phycological and financial effects of these proceedings, they face a risk of having to pay disproportionally high damages in the case court rules against them.

“SLAPP suits are a part of a growing trend in the region of public officials and powerful corporations misusing the justice system to intimidate and silence human rights defenders and shield themselves from public scrutiny.  They unduly restrict freedom of expression and have a significant chilling effect on public participation,” said Ulrich Eichelmann, CEO of Riverwatch.

"The biggest anger is caused by the fact, that these lawsuits come from an investor who is from Belgium and who has not spent his life on this river: neither enjoying its beauty nor seeing what the project of building small hydropower plant(s) has done to it. People here have the impression that a foreign investor claims more rights to the river than we who were born and who live here," said Sunčica Kovačević, river guardian from BiH.

"We have repeated it a thousand times and we say it again, we will not give up the fight for the Kasindolska River! Lawsuits from investors, especially, will not stop us, they only confirm that we are on the right path and one step closer to the final victory,” said Sara Tuševljak, river guardian from BiH.

Together with our partners in the Blue Heart campaign we urge Green Invest/BUK d.o.o. to withdraw the baseless lawsuits as soon as possible but before the first court session scheduled for 24th of October 2022 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We demand from authorities in the whole of the country to ensure that environmental defenders can express their concerns on the issues of public interest without fear of intimidation or legal reprisals.

How you can help


Future needs nature. EuroNatur cares for it. Please use your possibilities to help. With your donation you will make an effective contribution to a more livable environment.

Sustaining membership

EuroNatur focuses on long-term nature conservation projects instead of quick fixes. With your regular donations, you give us the planning security we need.


Major success: River Vjosa becomes National Park

++ Today the Vjosa River in Albania has been proclaimed Europe’s first Wild River National Park ++ EuroNatur, Riverwatch and many other partners have…

More Ski Resorts Planned Around Syvdovets

In 2016, the Transcarpathian Regional State Administration announced its plans to build a ski resort of the same name in the Svydovets mountain…

Romania's primary forests are disappearing - the EU Commission must intervene

++ Investigative research uncovers scandalous machinations in the forestry industry ++ EuroNatur demands strict protection for primary forests in…

Lead ammunition finally banned from wetlands

Good news for Europe's waterbirds: the use of lead shot ammunition in wetland hunting has finally been banned. The law came into force on 15 February…

Don’t be afraid of the wolf

For the first time in more than 100 years, the presence of a female wolf has been verified in the Black Forest. Since two male wolves already live in…

Flamingos or planes: Protests against Airport in Albania

++ World Wetlands Day focuses attention on global destruction of rivers, lakes, marshes and coasts ++ Major demonstration in Albania against…

Schwaderer in German President Steinmeier's delegation

Great honour for Gabriel Schwaderer: EuroNatur Executive Director took part in Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier's state visit to Albania and…

Vjosa Wild River National Park: Feasibility Study is a major milestone

The Vjosa River in Albania, one of the last wild rivers of Europe, is one major step closer to protection today as the team of Albanian and…

Legal action against the Vlora Airport in Albania

New developments on the planned airport construction in the Narta lagoon: The lawsuit filed by our partners against the project was ruled as…

Dismal prospects for Svydovets

A gargantuan ski resort is looming in the Svydovets mountains of Ukraine. The environmental movement Free Svydovets has filed a lawsuit against these…

Review of the Year 2022

War in Ukraine and the energy crisis, bird flu and a fish die-off, plus the continuing Coronavirus pandemic and its consequences: 2022 was a…

Spotlight on nature’s diversity

++ Start of EuroNatur photography competition 2023 ++ Anniversary for the “European Treasures of Nature”++

Further opposition to Albanian airport construction

European governments request that the Albanian government suspend the construction of the airport in the Vjosa-Narta Protected Area. The main…

Demand for acceleration of solar expansion

Leading Environment, Climate, and Nature Groups unite with solar sector in common call for sustainable solar acceleration

Bern Convention demands Bosnia-Herzegovina to stop all dam projects on Neretva River

On 2nd December, the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention (Convention on the Conservation of European Wild Flora and Fauna and Natural Habitats),…