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Constitutional Court Rejects Appeals by Demirovic and Copelj

29. October 2020.14:38
The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has rendered decisions rejecting appeals filed by Ibrahim Demirovic, who was sentenced to 13 years, and Habib Copelj, who was sentenced to five years in prison for crimes against Serb civilians in the Mostar area in 1993.

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The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo: The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina

In its decision rejecting Demirovic’s appeal the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina stated that it had been determined that the right to a fair trial had not been violated, regular courts provided a detailed, clear and substantiated explanation of their decisions in terms of assessment of evidence and application of substantive law, and, on the basis of a careful and diligent evaluation of the evidence, they concluded that the appellant had committed the crime charged upon him.

“Therefore, the Constitutional Court finds that there has been no infringement of the right to a fair trial of the appellant provided for in the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and European Convention,” the Constitutional Court stated in its decision.

The Constitutional Court further concluded that there was no violation of the right to an effective legal remedy, as the appellant had the possibility to express an appeal against the disputed first instance verdict, which he did.

“The fact that the used legal remedy did not result in success for the appellant cannot lead to a conclusion that the right was violated,” the decision states.

At the beginning of January last year Demirovic sought the Constitutional Court to take a temporary measure to postpone the execution of his imprisonment sentence until a final decision by that court.

In April 2019 the Constitutional Court rejected the request as unfounded.

In a second decision, under which Copelj’s appeal was rejected as unfounded, the Court said that the appellant’s allegations about the violation of the right to a fair trial referred to allegations that his right to equality of parties to the proceedings had been violated, so he also problematized the determined factual status and evaluation of evidence. In his appeal Copelj alleged an infringement regarding the punishment meted out.  

“The Constitutional Court finds that there is no violation of the right to a fair trial provided for in the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and European Convention given that the disputed verdict is explained and clear, passed down on the basis of a determined factual status and evaluation of evidence and does not give an impression of arbitrariness, while there is nothing to indicate an infringement of the right to a fair trial as a whole,” the decision rejecting Copelj’s appeal states.

In December 2018 Demirovic was sentenced, under a second instance verdict passed down by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to 13 years in prison for having participated in unlawful detention, inhumane treatment and forced labour of Croat civilians in Bijelo Polje, near Mostar, as well as rape of protected witness B. Under the same verdict, Copelj was sentenced to five years for inhumane treatment of detainees.

Besides them, under the same second instance verdict, Enes Curic was sentenced to eight years, while Samir Kreso and Mehmed Kaminic were acquitted of charges.

According to the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, decisions of that court are definitive and binding. 

Emina Dizdarević


This post is also available in: Bosnian (Bosnian)