The Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina contains provisions criminalising the spread of contagious and venereal diseases. These do not specifically mention HIV, but there is a possibility for the criminalisation of HIV under these laws. To date there have been no known HIV-related cases under these provisions.
Article 227, “Transmission of Venereal Disease”, states that anyone who knows they are infected with a venereal disease and who transmits the disease to another through sexual intercourse, sexual acts “or in some other way”, is liable for a penalty of up to one year imprisonment.
Article 225, “Transmitting a Contagious Disease”, makes it an offence for anyone to fail to comply with orders from a healthcare body to “undertake medical examinations […] or other measures” designed to prevent the spread of “any contagious disease”. This provision carries a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment, or where committed through negligence, a fine or six months’ imprisonment. Article 240 enhances these sentences to between one and eight years, and six months and five years, respectively, in certain circumstances including where a person’s health is “seriously impaired” by the acts.
The exact parameters of these provisions are not certain due to the absence of any prosecutions. At a minimum, transmission of HIV with intent or recklessness could be criminalised under Article 227 of the Criminal Code. It is not clear whether HIV is considered a “contagious disease” for the purposes of the offence under Article 225.
Lastly, under Article 203 which criminalises rape, it is considered an aggravating factor if as a result of the offence, the victim suffers a “serious effect on health”. This could be applied to HIV, resulting in sentence enhancement if transmission takes place, but to our knowledge this has not been tested through case law.
CRIMINAL OFFENCES AGAINST PEOPLE’S HEALTH
Transmission of a Contagious Disease
(1) Whoever fails to comply with regulations or ordinances whereby a competent health care body orders medical examinations, disinfecting, quarantine or other measures for the suppression or prevention of a contagious disease with people, and where consequently a danger of the spreading of a contagious disease occurs, shall be punished by imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.
(2) The punishment referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article shall be imposed on whoever fails to comply with regulations and ordinances referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article as to the suppression and prevention of contagious diseases with animals, and where consequently a danger of transmission of the contagious disease onto humans occurs.
(3) Whoever perpetrates the criminal offence referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article out of negligence, shall be punished by a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.
Transmission of a Venereal Disease
Whoever, knowing himself to be infected with a venereal disease, transmits the venereal disease to another person through sexual intercourse or equivalent sexual act or in some other way, if at the same time the criminal offence of aggravated bodily injury is not perpetrated, shall be punished by imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.
Employing Persons Suffering from Contagious Disease
(1) Whoever, in a hospital, maternity hospital, boarding school, school, business enterprise or another legal person, or with a physical person as an entrepreneur, in a business activity in which foodstuffs are handled or that provides cleaning services or in a similar activity, in contravention of sanitary regulations employs or keeps employed a person suffering from a contagious disease, and where consequently a danger of transmission of a contagious disease occurs, shall be punished by imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.
(2) Whoever perpetrates the criminal offence referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article out of negligence, shall be punished by a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.