Statement by the EU Heads of Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina

On the occasion of the tenth World and European Day against the Death Penalty, the Ambassadors of the European Union member states present in Bosnia and Herzegovina have urged the relevant authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and particularly the Republika Srpska authorities, to take appropriate action to initiate a new debate about the provision in the Constitution of the RS which allows for the death penalty.

The European Union is opposed to the use of capital punishment in all cases and under any circumstances. Its universal abolition is one of the key objectives of EU human rights policy. The European Union regularly reaffirms its opposition to the death penalty and uses the various diplomatic tools at its disposal – including statements, demarches and Human Rights Dialogues with its partners – to advance the cause of worldwide abolition. The movement towards abolition is one of the top priorities in its recently adopted Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, as well as under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).

While Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Republika Srpska in particular, have not applied the death penalty since its abolition in 1997 and while the penal code of the Republika Srpska does not foresee its use, the EU Ambassadors in Bosnia and Herzegovina underline that the authorities in the Republika Srpska need to restart the procedures to modify the Republika Srpska Constitution as regards the death penalty. The EU Ambassadors recalled the personal commitment of the President of Republika Srpska to remedy this issue and also called on other stakeholders to take active and constructive steps to achieve this goal.