• Miodrag N. Simović Faculty of Law, University of Banja Luka
  • Vladimir M. Simović Faculty of Security and Protection Independent University in Banja Luka
  • Marina M. Simović Faculty of Law of University „Apeiron“


criminal offense, sentence, imprisonment, long-term imprisonment


In the system of measures of social reaction towards perpetrators of criminal offenses, all modern criminal legislations, including the new legislation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, know penalties in the first place. These are the basic types of criminal sanctions which can achieve their purpose in the most complete way, and that is the protection of society and social goods from all forms and types of violation and endangerment by committing criminal acts. Whereas in the structure of criminal offenses there are also those offenses with severe consequences, violating the most significant social values, which are committed with a severe form of guilt (intentional or even premeditated), by returnees, in concurrence or by a group or organized criminal group, it is logical that all penal systems know the most severe punishment - long-term or life imprisonment (especially after the abolition of the death penalty - capital punishment) for the most serious forms of severe criminal offenses.
The authors recall that the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment undoubtedly derives from all major international human rights instruments. Unlike the death penalty, which is undesirable and has already been abolished in the member states of the Council of Europe and the European Union, life imprisonment is not in itself prohibited and does not constitute a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, if legal system gives hope to the convicted person that he will be released one day.
As regards the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, life imprisonment is not prohibited and is not necessarily inconsistent with Article 3 of the Convention. A life sentence may remain compatible with Article 3 of the Convention only if there is a possibility for release of the convicted person and for its review. Access to judicial review must be established in advance, objective and known to the convicted person, based on a legitimate penological basis and accompanied by sufficient procedural guarantees. The review process should provide for periodical review of the existence of a life sentence, starting no later than 25 years from the beginning of serving this sentence. In this context, the state has a positive obligation to provide a prison regime for these prisoners that is compatible with the goal of rehabilitation.
In order to comply with Article 3 of the Convention and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, national legislation should provide for the possibility of early release from prison for persons sentenced to life imprisonment - through conditional release or some other effective remedy. In this regard, the applicable criminal laws in Bosnia and Herzegovina do not provide for the possibility of imposing a life sentence. Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the countries in Europe that does not have a life sentence. However, after the ministers of justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska recently announced an initiative to tighten criminal sanctions for the most brutally committed criminal offenses and to introduce life imprisonment without parole, a debate was opened on the justification of such a measure. The problem in Bosnia and Herzegovina is that criminal laws at the level of BiH, the two entities and the Br?ko District of BiH, should be harmonized

Author Biographies

Miodrag N. Simović, Faculty of Law, University of Banja Luka

Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina;

Academy of Sciences and Arts

Vladimir M. Simović, Faculty of Security and Protection Independent University in Banja Luka

Faculty of Law University „Vitez“ - Vitez;

Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Marina M. Simović, Faculty of Law of University „Apeiron“

Ombudsman for Children of the Republika Srpska




How to Cite

N. Simović, M., M. Simović, V., & M. Simović, M. (2021). LIFE INPRISONMENT IN CRIMINAL LAW OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA. KNOWLEDGE - International Journal , 44(1), 71–75. Retrieved from