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2003 | Criminal Code for Bosnia and Herzegovina

The 2003 Criminal Code was drafted under the auspices of the Office of the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of a comprehensive process of judicial and legal reform in the country. The Code was significntly influneced by the legal backgrounds and agendas of its foreign drafters and met with difficulties of acceptance by the local population. Its particular significance in relation to international criminal law is that it contains the first provisions in Bosnian law for Crimes against Humanity (see Article 172) and an expansion of its earlier provisions on War Crimes (see Articles 173-175). While the 2003 code eliminates the death penalty, it imposes harsher minimum and maximum sentences for a number of crimes. The question of the possible retroactive application of the new Code to crimes committed during the 1990s was raised in the first war crime trial at state level, the case  of Abduladhim Maktouf.  However the Constitutional Court of BiH ruled that the crimes in question were already characterized as criminal under the criminal code pertaining at the time of commission i.e. the 1976 Criminal Code of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.