Bosnian Ban on Genocide Denial Comes Into Force

Provisions of the BiH Criminal Code banning the denial of genocide and glorifying war criminals, imposed by the outgoing High Representative to BiH, Valentin Inzko last week were published in the Official Gatezze Thursday and have come into force Wednesday, July 28. 

The law changes that the High Representative imposed among other things stipulate the prison sentence from six months to five years for the one who “publicly condones, denies, grossly trivializes or tries to justify a crime of genocide, crimes against humanity or a war crime.” Inzko introduced his decision recalling the special powers vested in the High Representative by Article 10 of the Dayton Peace Agreement and expressing a deep concern “that prominent individuals and public authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to deny that acts of genocide crimes against humanity and war crimes were committed during the armed conflict, that individuals and public authorities publicly question the legitimacy of judgements issued by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia and the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and that individuals and public authorities honour or praise convicted war criminal.” 

He also recalled that the UN Security Council repeatedly affirmed that the role of the international envoy in BiH, as a final authority in the implementation of the peace deal, includes the “authority to make binding decisions as he judges necessary on issues as elaborated by the Peace Implementation Council in Bonn on 9 and 10 December 1997.” 

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