Nedim Ademovic, a legal expert, said that Svetozar Pudaric's candidacy for Bosnia's Presidency member from among the Serb people which was rejected by the Central Election Commission (CEC), is a provocation of a legal case which does not stand a chance in Bosnia and Herzegovina because similar cases were rejected in Bosnia before.
The CEC held a session last Thursday, at which they verified a total of 36 candidate lists and identified a number of shortcomings in other lists prepared for the general election in Bosnia, set for October 7. When it comes to independent candidates, where Pudaric belongs, the CEC rejected Pudaric’s candidacy on account of his residence.
Given that he declared himself as a Serb, and that his place of residence is in the territory of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) entity, he is unable to be a candidate for a member of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency from the Serb people.
Namely, the Bosnian Constitution stipulates the Presidency consists of three members, representatives of the three constituent peoples living in Bosnia. These are the Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. The Bosniak and Croat members of the Presidency are elected in the FBiH, while the Serb Presidency member is elected in the Republika Srpska (RS) entity.
The Presidency members must, therefore, come from the respective entities where their place of residence was legally registered prior to the election.
Ademovic said regardless of the fact that the European Court of Human Rights already said this was a form of discrimination, the Constitutional norm is still in force.
“The CEC must stick to the Election Law which must prescribe the norms stipulated by the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Constitutional Court must protect the Constitution. Therefore, the hands of all these institutions, including the hands of the highest judicial institution in the country, are tied,” Ademovic said. “The only institution which can help in this case is the European Court of Human Rights, however, Bosnia has already been sentenced for similar cases and this is no longer a legal but a political issue.”
He adds that the only way to change this is for Bosnian citizens to vote for those who want to change this situation in the country and thus punish those political options which refuse to implement the verdicts of the European Court of Human Rights.
In 2009, the Roma representative Dervo Sejdic and former Head of the Jewish Community, Jakob Finci, sued Bosnia for its discriminatory Constitution barring them – as they are neither Bosniaks, Croats or Serbs – from running for Presidency. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled in favour of Sejdic and Finci, saying the state is discriminating against them as a Roma and a Jew.
This and other verdicts by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina have now produced a political crisis in which political actors are unable to reach an agreement on the changes to the Election Law and the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina.