[JURIST] The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina [official website] announced Monday that 25 defendants facing war crimes charges have begun a coordinated hunger strike [press release], demanding to be tried under the criminal code in place at the time of their alleged crimes, not under the 2003 criminal code [text] which authorizes forty-year maximum penalties for the crimes charged. The code enforced during the 1992-1995 civil war [Wikipedia backgrounder] authorized maximum penalties of only fifteen years. The Court said it would:
act in accordance with its legal obligations, respecting all rights of the suspects and accused. Taking into consideration the ongoing hunger strike the Court of [Bosnia and Herzegovina] will also ensure the necessary medical assistance to the detainees.Reuters has more.
The War Crimes Chamber of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina was established [JURIST report] in 2005 to relieve the caseload of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and is organized under Bosnian law. Many of the defendants engaged in a similar strike [JURIST report] in January, which halted proceedings. In March the Court dismissed their claims that the application of the 2003 criminal code violated the European Convention on Human Rights [text].