Death penalty officially removed from Republika Srpska Constitution

Death penalty officially removed from Republika Srpska Constitution

The EU Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Council of Europe Office in Sarajevo welcomes the decision rendered by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 4 October 2019 to formally repeal Article 11 of the Constitution of the Republika Srpska, as a symbol of a strong commitment to common European values. This is in line with the key priorities identified in the European Commission Opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU membership application and the Council of Europe standards.

The EU and Council of Europe Office reiterate the strong opposition to capital punishment in all cases and for all circumstances. The absolute ban on the death penalty in all circumstances is entrenched in Protocol 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

“We recall that on 9 October, on the occasion of the World Day Against the Death Penalty, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and CoE Secretary-General Marija Pejčinović Burić issued a joint declaration expressing the support to work towards the abolition of the death penalty worldwide and encouraging all countries to join the global Alliance for Torture-Free Trade”, says the EU Delegation in a statement.

Republika Srpska Justice Minister, Anton Kasipović, says that the official abolition of the death penalty in Republika Srpska is a good thing, adding that it could have been done more than a decade ago when the Republika Srpska competent institutions passed such a decision, but its entry into force was unjustifiably blocked.

“As far as we are concerned, this issue should not have reached the Constitutional Court of BiH because our commitment was to bring the Constitution in line with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms”, Kasipović said.

He recalled that the European Commission’s reports on BiH, among other things, emphasized the need to repeal the death penalty provision in the Republika Srpska Constitution and that it was important that it had not been applied, even though it was in effect.

“The death penalty has never been handed down in Republika Srpska, which demonstrates our society’s responsibility and commitment to protecting human rights and meeting international standards. Although never introduced into our Criminal Code, and thus not enforced, this constitutional provision was an obstacle to harmonizing legal regulations with European legislation”, Kasipović concluded.

The “BiH Official Gazette” published on Friday, November 1, the decision of the Constitutional Court of BiH repealing Article 11, paragraph 2 of the Republika Srpska Constitution allowing the death penalty ruling on October 4, 2019 at the request of the Caucus of Bosniak People, thus officially coming into force.

The Constitutional Court found that this Article was not in accordance with the Constitution of BiH and the Protocol to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

In 2009, the National Assembly of Republika Srpska adopted an amendment to remove the controversial article of the Constitution, but it did not enter into force since the deputies at the Bosniak People Caucus in the Srpska Council of Peoples did not adopt it.

The absurd thing is that, after years of resistance, the Bosniak Caucus in the Council of Peoples submitted an appeal to the BiH Constitutional Court with the request to abolish the death penalty in this entity./ibna