Croatian lawmakers have passed a bill that compensates the victims of rape during the country's war for independence more than twenty years ago — a move hailed as a late but important step in healing the wounds of the 1991-95 conflict.

The law entitles the victims to a one-time compensation of some 13,000 euros ($14,000), a monthly allowance, as well as health care, counseling and legal aid.

Parliament passed the legislation on Friday with 86 votes in favor and three abstentions.

Experts have estimated that several thousand women suffered some form of sexual violence during the war that broke out when Croatia declared independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991.

Parliament speaker Josip Leko said "it was important to acknowledge this crime."