Bosnia court reopens trial on war crimes convicts

Bosnia court reopens trial on war crimes convicts

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[JURIST] The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina [official website] on Wednesday reopened criminal proceedings [press release] for a man convicted of war crimes in 2006, after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ruled in July that his rights were violated. Abduladhim Maktouf, an Iraqi-born Islamic militant, was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to five years in prison for atrocities against Croat civilians in 1993 during the Bosnian Civil War [JURIST news archive]. Maktouf petitioned for a retrial, and the court based its decision on the reasoning in a ECHR judgment [text], which held that the convictions had violated ECHR Article 7’s rule against retroactive punishments, because the court had applied a criminal code that was not in effect when the crimes were committed. In line with ECHR Article 6, which provides the right to a trial in reasonable time, the court scheduled a new trial.

The court also recently reopened the cases [Reuters report] of Bosnian Serb Goran Damjanovic and another Bosnian Serb following an ECHR ruling. In August the court sentenced [JURIST report] Goran Saric, a former police chief, to 14 years for crimes against humanity. In March the court convicted [JURIST report]
a former paramilitary unit commander from Montenegro on multiple counts of murder, torture, rape and looting committed during the the civil war in the former Yugoslavia (1992-1995) and sentenced him to 45 years of imprisonment.