On 30 September 2021, in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), UNODC conducted a workshop on information exchange on criminal procedural law applicable in firearms investigations through its Global Firearms Programme. Twelve criminal justice practitioners, including prosecutors, State Investigation and Protection Agency representatives, and Border Police, attended the workshop.
Participants had discussed the Review of adjudicated trafficking cases under Article 193 of the Criminal Code of BiH, which includes the facts of the case and arguments before the basic court, appeals court, and in the final verdict.
The discussions identified several challenges in applying the criminal procedure law and substantive criminal law. Examples of such challenges include the lack of deadlines for prolonging special investigative activities, which could lead to interruption of the criminal investigation. In applying Article 193 of the BiH Criminal Code, some courts have disagreed with the qualification of firearms trafficking activities at border crossing points to accomplish the trafficking offense. The current provision of Article 193 of the BiH Criminal Code does not envisage the movement across the border as a substantive component of the crime. Instead, these activities have been qualified as an attempt for firearms trafficking.
Finally, the confiscation of tools used for committing the offense, such as vehicles, has been problematic in some cases. Courts have requested the prosecution to prove ownership of the vehicle by the perpetrator. In cases of rented cars, this was not possible. As a result, the vehicle has been returned to its legal owner, which contradicts Article 193, paragraph 6 of the BiH Criminal Code, which provides for confiscation of the means for transportation of the firearms.
This activity is implemented with the financial contribution provided by Germany, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway through the Western Balkans SALW Control Roadmap Trust Fund and supported by the European Union.