Bosnia and Herzegovina
Practice Relating to Rule 157. Jurisdiction over War Crimes
The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Criminal Code (1998) punishes several war crimes and provides:
(1) Criminal legislation of the Federation applies to a foreigner who has committed a criminal offence against the Federation or its citizens in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina or abroad, when the offence in question is some other than the one referred to under Article 131 of this Code, provided that he/she is found on the territory of the Federation or has been extradited.
(2) Criminal legislation of the Federation applies to a foreigner who commits a criminal offence abroad against another country or a foreigner, for which the law of that country prescribes imprisonment for a term of five years or a heavier penalty, provided the perpetrator is found on the territory of the Federation.
The Republika Srpska’s Criminal Code (2000) contains the same provision.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Criminal Procedure Code (2003) states:
Notwithstanding the laws of the country where the criminal offence was committed, the Prosecutor may undertake the prosecution if such an act is a criminal offence against the integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina or if that act is considered a criminal offence under the rules of international law.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Criminal Code (2003) states:
The criminal legislation of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall apply to anyone who, outside of its territory, perpetrates:
c) A criminal offence which Bosnia and Herzegovina is bound to punish according to the provisions of international law and international treaties or intergovernmental agreements.
In 2007, in the Lučić case, the Panel of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina stated:
According to the universal jurisdiction principle, customary international humanitarian law is obligatory for each state throughout the world, regardless of whether it has ratified the appropriate international legal instruments. Therefore, each state is bound to prosecute or extradite (aut dedere aut judicare
) all persons suspected of having violated customary international humanitarian law.