The Head of the Human Rights Directorate of the Council of Europe, Christophe Poirel, and representatives of the Enforcement Division of the European Court of Human Rights will hold talks next week with government officials and senior diplomatic officials in Bosnia on the implementation of the Sejdic-Finci verdict and related groups of cases, the Council of Europe told Fena news agency on Thursday.
The Council of Europe’s five-day mission, which will be virtual due to anti-pandemic restrictions, envisages meetings with members of the BiH Presidency, the Minister of Justice, President of the Constitutional Court, members of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, the BiH Parliamentary Assembly and opposition parties.
The Council of Europe officials will also meet with the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina and hold separate meetings with the Heads of Delegations of the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as well as with the Quinte ambassadors (France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States and the Russian Federation).
Dervo Sejdic, a Roma and Jakob Finci, a Jew, have sued Bosnia because the Constitution does not allow them to run for president or member of the upper house of the parliament.
That is because according to the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, the country’s presidency consists of representatives of Bosnia’s three constituent peoples – the Bosniaks, the Serbs and the Croats. Its House of Peoples is also filled with members of only those groups.
That violates the rights of the country’s minorities and in 2009 the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ordered the country to remove this discrimination from its constitution.
Since then, nothing has been done to implement the ruling, which not only concerns minorities but also members of constitutive peoples who live in areas of the country dominated by one of the other two constituent peoples.
Bosniaks and Croats living in the Serb-dominated part of the country, Republika Srpska (RS), cannot run for president or upper house lawmaker either and neither can Serbs from the Federation (FBiH), which is the other half of the country where mostly the other two constituent groups live.