MPs from the strongest Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Croat parties in the country have on Tuesday submitted to the House of Representatives a proposal for a law that would remove foreign judges from the country’s Constitutional Court.
The adoption of the law is, according to Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, a condition for ending the latest political crisis that emerged in Bosnia following a Constitutional Court ruling.
Last week, the parliament of the Serb-majority semi-autonomous part of Bosnia, Republika Srpska (RS), instructed RS representatives in state institutions to stop participating in any decision-making processes until a law removing the foreign judges from the Constitutional Court is adopted.
This means that state institutions will effectively be blocked.
The move came after the Constitutional Court declared that public agricultural property in Republika Srpska should be owned by the state and not by the RS.
According to the Constitution, which is part of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, the Constitutional Court is composed of nine judges – two Bosniaks, two Croats, two Serbs and three foreigners. The foreign judges are named by the President of the European Court of Human Rights.
Dodik has been accusing the institution of working against Republika Srpska, arguing that the three foreign judges frequently side with the Bosniaks and outvote the Croats and the Serbs.
According to the new proposal, the tripartite Presidency would name three Bosnian nationals to serve as judges in the Constitutional Court. Two would come from the Federation (FBiH) and one would come from the Republika Srpska.
The three judges would have to be members of different ethnic groups and the House of Peoples would then have to confirm their appointment – with more than half of the MPs in each of the three constituent people’s groups voting in favour.
“The mandate of three foreign judges expires on the day this Law enters into force,” the proposal says.
The proposal was signed by MPs from Dodik’s Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) and their coalition parties in the RS – the Democratic People's Alliance (DNS), the Socialist Party (SP) and United Srpska – as well as Bosnia’s Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH).