Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday published law in the country's official gazette, stipulating punishment for denial of genocide during the Bosnian War of 1992-1995.
The law will come into force a day after publication in the official gazette.
The High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Valentin Inzko, Friday amended the country’s criminal code to ban the denial of genocide and the glorification of war criminals.
Inzko used his "Bonn Powers" to introduce the amendment to outlaw the public denial, condoning, trivialization or justification of genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes when it is done in a way that is “likely to incite to violence or hatred.”
According to the law anyone trying to deny, glorify, trivialize or justify genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes will be sentenced to six months to five years.
Those inciting hatred and violence against race, color, religion, national or social origin, nation, or ethnic group will be sentenced to three months to three years and anyone who distributes posters, flyers, and brochures related to those crimes will be sentenced to at least three years in prison.
The law also stipulates that those who reward, glorify, give privileges and name streets, squares, bridges, institutions, cities, or neighborhoods after those convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes, shall be sentenced to a minimum of three years.
- Bosnian Serbs protest decision
Bosnian Serb politicians said they will boycott the country's institutions in protest.
A Serb member of Bosnia’s joint Presidency, Milorad Dodik, denounced the amendments, saying: “We will not live in a country where someone can impose a law by simply publishing it on his website.”
Dodik repeatedly said over the weekend that Inzko’s decision should serve as a final push for the secession of Bosnian Serb lands from the rest of the country.
Other Bosnian Serb political representatives said they considered Inzko’s decision "unacceptable and void", adding they will boycott the work of the country’s multi-ethnic presidency, parliament, and government.
The Office of the High Representative, established with the Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, oversees the implementation of the peace agreement on behalf of the international community. Inzko, an Austrian diplomat, has been holding office since 2009.