News 24 Oct 13

Bosnia Quashes Ten War Crimes Convictions

Bosnia’s constitutional court overturned the convictions of ten unnamed war criminals after a European human rights court ruling suggested they were tried under the wrong criminal code.

Justice Report

The constitutional court said on Thursday said that it had quashed the verdicts and returned the cases to the state court for new rulings after the European decision cast doubts over a series of war crimes convictions in Bosnia.

“The constitutional court accepted ten appeals, having established that the European Convention on Human Rights has been violated,” said registrar Zvonko Mijan, without giving any names.

The constitutional court made the ruling after the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg decided in July this year that the state court had retroactively passed verdicts in two war crimes cases using a criminal code that was only adopted in 2003 – years after the crimes were actually committed.

The two cases were against Goran Damjanovic and Abduladhim Maktouf, who were sentenced under the 2003 criminal code instead of the potentially more lenient 1976 Yugoslav law.

In line with the Strasbourg decision, the state court recently ordered the retrial of Damjanovic and Maktouf.

A number of other requests for war crimes retrials have been made, but the state court could not say whether any of them have been processed so far.

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