ECHR asks Bosnia to amend electoral legislation

NEWS 29.10.2019 11:16
Source: FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP

European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Tuesday in favour of Bosnian politician Irma Baralija, concerning “a legal void which made it impossible for the applicant, a local politician living in Mostar, to vote or stand in elections,” and urged the state to amend the relevant legislation within six months at the latest.

The Court found that that legal void had been created by the authorities’ failure to enforce a 2010 Constitutional Court ruling concerning arrangements for voting in local elections in Mostar and telling the authorities to harmonise the relevant legislation with the Constitution.

That had, in turn, led to a situation where the last local elections in Mostar had been held in 2008 and the city had been governed since 2012 by a mayor who did not have the required democratic legitimacy, said the Strasbourg-based court.

“Such a situation was incompatible with the rule of law. The Court could not, therefore, accept the Government’s justification for the prolonged delay in enforcing the ruling, namely the difficulties in establishing a long-term and effective power-sharing mechanism for the city council so as to maintain peace and to facilitate dialogue between the different ethnic groups in Mostar. The State had, therefore, failed to comply with its duty to take measures to protect Ms Baralija from discriminatory treatment on the grounds of her place of residence and to hold democratic elections in Mostar,” said the ECHR, urging the state to amend the relevant legislation, at the latest within six months of this judgement becoming final.

The decision was passed unanimously.