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Presiding judge Minka Kreho said that this verdict implemented the request of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and removed the violation of Maktouf’s rights.
According to Kreho, the evidence presented by Maktouf’s Defence during the retrial weren’t of sufficient quality to warrant a verdict underneath the legal minimum.
“After the retrial – in which Maktouf’s guilt was not in question – the Court qualified the criminal act by the Criminal code of the former Yugoslavia and by doing so implemented the obligations under the verdict of the European Court of Human Rights”, said Kreho.
Applying the Bosnian Criminal Code, the Bosnian State court in April 2006 sentenced Maktouf to five years in prison for assisting members of the “El Mudjahid” unit with the illegal detention and kidnapping of five Bosnian Croat civilians in October 1993.
Explaining today’s verdict, the judges said that they considered all of the circumstances of the case and the amount of time passed.
“As aggravating circumstances the Court considered that the victims of the kidnapping were unarmed civilians, who were abused and that this caused fear of citizens. The Court also considered that the defendant knew the civilians would be kidnapped”, said Kreho.
As mitigating circumstances, the Court considered that Maktouf was a family man, a father, who conducted himself well during the course of the trial. This verdict can be appealed to the Bosnian Court appeals chamber.
Maktouf’s case was sent back to retrial after the European Court found that the wrong criminal code was used and that the Yugoslav code, which is more lenient then the Bosnian code should have been used. Implementing this decision, the Bosnian Constitutional court abolished the verdict.
After serving his five year prison sentence, Maktouf was stripped of citizenship and he left the country. Today he resides in Malaysia and he was allowed to spend a month in Bosnia and Herzegovina due to the retrial.
In the retrial, the Bosnian Court only considered the length of punishment, not the guilt of Maktouf.