It is the Parliament and not the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina that should change the electoral legislation, said Constitutional Court President Zlatko Knezevic, commenting on the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling, tasking the country to change the Election Law and enable the citizens of Mostar to vote in elections first time after 2008.
Last week, ECHR acted upon an appeal by Irma Baralija, a Mostar politician who complained about not being able to vote or run in the local elections in that city due to the legal void that was created by the Constitutional Court's decision which assessed some of the Election Law's provisions incompatible with the Constitution.
The last local election in Mostar was held in 2008. Two years later, the Constitutional Court acted upon a motion by Croat representatives in the state Parliament, assessing parts of the state Election Law referring to Mostar as unconstitutional.
To date, the Constitutional Court remains unimplemented.
But the Strasbourg-based court decided that the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina “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” and urged the State to amend the relevant legislation within six months of this judgement becoming final, at the latest.
“If the State failed to do so, the Constitutional Court, under domestic law and practice, had the power to set up interim arrangements as necessary transitional measures,” said the ECHR's ruling.
Constitutional Court President finds this part of the judgement “surprising.”
“I was surprised by this referring to the option of the Constitutional Court deciding on that, because that would be in a way step outside the European Court's practices, outside the democratic frameworks. It is the Parliament and not the Constitutional Court that should do that,” Knezevic told N1.
However, if the Court is to decide, it will be left to the will of Mostarians.
“I have to believe that the Parliament will do its part of work. But if we come to the situation where we are deciding, we should hear what the citizens of Mostar say,” he said.
According to him, the responsibility is on the parliamentarians.
“It is extremely dangerous that the constitutional order is being constantly eroded by someone who is supposed to essentially protect it, which is the Parliament. We find it normal that our decisions are assessed and commented but they have to be implemented. We only ask that the law is passed,” said Knezevic.