Changes to the Criminal Procedure Code were unanimously adopted at the Bosnia’s House of Representatives (HoR) on Monday, a few days after the adoption at the House of Peoples (HoP). MPs said this was their most efficient session that came at the end of the tenure.
The law changes were adopted in an urgent procedure, without a discussion and in absence of the Alliance of Independent Trade Union (SNSD), the opposition Serb party.
The changes stipulate clear deadlines for investigations as well as the regulations for immunity, which will not be granted to the witnesses charged with criminal offences for which the law stipulates imprisonment of ten or more years.
Bosnia’s Constitutional Court disputed certain law provisions in June 2017, urging the Parliament to amend the law within six months. The Parliament did that after more than a year.
“We made a step forward when it comes to the Criminal Procedure Code, so we don’t come to a situation where we have doubts regarding different interpretations…,” said Borjana Kristo, member of the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH).
The Court was extending the deadline for the Parliament to act on several occasions before it is fully annulled. Such an outcome would have meant annulment of numerous investigations. The international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been warning about this for months, pointing at possible consequences.
“I must express my content over the fact that just now at the end of our tenure we held the most efficient session, which lasted less than ten minutes, and adopted a very important law that might enable the rule of law finally start functioning in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the upcoming period,” stressed Mladen Bosic, representative of the Serb Democratic Party (SDS).
Representatives of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) and the Alliance for Better Future (SBB BiH) also expressed satisfaction over the law changes and their adoption.
“We got a quality law that entirely acknowledges the rights of citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and at the same time enable domestic judicial institutions a full capacity in the fight against terrorism, organised crime and other sorts of crime,” SBB BiH’s Damir Arnaut noted.
The law changes will come into force as soon as published in the Official Gazette of Bosnia and Herzegovina.