A decision on whether to apply the 1991 or 2013 census population results for the appointment of the House of Peoples of Bosnia's Federation (FBiH) semi-autonomous entity is solely on Bosnia's Central Election Commission, European Union's (EU) ambassador in Bosnia, Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, said Thursday.
“As far as the European Union line is concerned, we believe that the CIK needs to take its decision based upon the legislative and constitutional framework,” EU Special Representative in Bosnia said pointing out that, if contested, the decision has to be contested properly at court.
The Commission was set to decide on the matter on Thursday but, according to some media outlets, the CIK members were opposed to discussing it until the Constitutional Court rules on a related matter as requested by a Bosnian Croat politician.
Which census will be applied became a burning issue after the October 7 general election and it is directly related to the post-war return of refugees and persons, who were displaced as a result of the 1992-95 Bosnian war.
Since the two censuses show a different population structure, implementation of either the 1991 or 2013 census results would give two different structures in the composition of the FBiH House of Peoples, particularly in the representation of the Bosniaks and the Croats, two ethnic groups sharing this entity.
Addressing the media following a Thursday meeting with the EU's Political and Security Committee (PSC) and head of Bosnia's state government, Wigemark said this issue was not a question of concern for the international community but the local authorities.
The Venice Commission, the Council of Europe's advisory body, earlier assessed that either of the two population censuses could be used as a basis, recalled Wigemark, adding that “this is the opinion of the Venice Commission we very much rely upon.”
However, he stressed, the main interpreter of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA), a peace treaty which ended the war and established the government system, was not the EU but the Office of the High Representative (OHR), the top international body in Bosnia overseeing the implementation of this document.
The OHR “made it clear” the 1991 population has to be used, Wigemark said.
“You have to draw your own conclusions. It is important that the decision is made. And if it is contested that it is contested properly at the court, and whatever decision is final that it is implemented,” he added.