Bosnia and Herzegovina
Practice Relating to Rule 45. Causing Serious Damage to the Natural Environment
Under the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Criminal Code (1998), it is a war crime to order or commit “long-lasting and large-scale environmental devastation which may be detrimental to the health or survival of the population”.
The Republika Srpska’s Criminal Code (2000) contains the same provision.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Criminal Code (2003) contains the following war crimes provision:
Whoever, in violation of the rules of international law in time of war or armed conflict, orders or perpetrates any of the following acts:
c) Long-lasting and large-scale environmental devastation, which may be detrimental to the health or survival of the population.
shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of not less than ten years or long-term imprisonment.
In 1992, in identical letters to the UN Secretary-General and the President of the UN Security Council, Bosnia and Herzegovina stated:
In Tuzla, the aggressor has attacked a major chemical facility, which could cause a massive ecological catastrophe encompassing much of southern Europe. Stocks of chlorine there are 128 times larger than they were in Bhopal, India, before the disaster.
In 1993, in a letter to the President of the UN Security Council, Bosnia and Herzegovina stated:
On 1 December, at 2115, from the direction of Korenita Strana near the town of Koraj, Serbian forces fired two “Volkov” rockets in the direction of the chemical plant complex [in Tuzla]. One rocket landed within the fenced-in area of the complex. Fortunately, this rocket did not hit the storage tanks holding the chlorine and other chemicals, and a major humanitarian and ecological disaster did not occur … As per the request of the Mayor of Tuzla, we ask that the Security Council send a team of international experts to Tuzla to assess the potential humanitarian and ecological consequences if the chemical plant is hit by artillery.