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20-year old Bosnian sentenced to 22 months of prison in Austria

The Austrian news portal recently posted an article about an exceptional process. The regional court in Linz sentenced the 20-year old M. R. to 22 months of prison, according to the criminal law of Bosnia and Hercegovina. Austrian Judge Ralf Sigl presided at the trial of a shooting at a nightclub in Bihać (BiH). The shooter was a naturalized Austrian citizen from Linz, who found shelter in Austria after committing the crime on the 28th of July 2021. One year later, he turned himself in to the police.

The 20-year old was on vacation in Bihać, Bosnia and Hercegovina, where he originated from. In front of a discotheque, there was a quarrel between one of his friends and a security guard, who prevented them to enter the nightclub. After leaving the site, the accused came back and shot at the security guard three times. One of the shots hit the guard’s right leg.

In BiH, the accused was wanted for attempted murder, but at that time, the 20-year old was back in Austria. There, he was now charged for intentionally injuring the attacked person. The friends of the accused turned themselves in to the police and downplayed their role as participants of the attack. At court, the accused 20-year old accepted the complete responsibility over the attack.

The EU Resident Prosecutor and the National Legal Advisor, two staff members of the regional project Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans, provided strategic and legal advice to the Cantonal Prosecutor in Bihać (Una-Sana Canton, Bosnia and Hercegovina). As extradition of the accused to BiH would be difficult and time consuming, and also the majority of witnesses were in Austria, the Cantonal Prosecution Office of the Una-Sana Canton decided accordingly and promptly to refer the case to the Austrian authorities. Else, the procedure before the Cantonal Court in Bihać would get prolonged and the costs would be raised. This is an excellent case of efficient international cooperation between the judiciaries of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Austria.

The regional project Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Italian Ministry of Interior and the Centre for International Legal Cooperation (CILC), and also co-financed by the European Commission (DG NEAR), the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development German Government (BMZ) and the Italian Ministry of Interior. The main objective is to strengthen the cross-border cooperation to counter serious and organised crime in the Western Balkans with institutions and networks of the EU.