CoE: Retention of the present discriminatory election system a clear violation of the requirements of the ECHR

CoE: Retention of the present discriminatory election system a clear violation of the requirements of the ECHR

STRASBOURG/SARAJEVO, June 10 (FENA) – The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the implementation of the Sejdić and Finci judgment issued a decision expressing the greatest concern over the lack of tangible progress in adopting measures to ensure that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s constitution and electoral legislation are fully in line with the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

The Deputies recalled that in these judgments the Court found discrimination against persons not affiliated with the constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina or those failing to meet a combination of the requirements of ethnic origin and place of residence as regards their right to stand for election to the House of Peoples and the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina; recalled and underlined that the retention of the present discriminatory election system constitutes a clear violation of the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights and this is not only an aggravating factor as regards the State’s responsibility under the Convention for an existing or past state of affairs but also represents a threat to the effectiveness of the Convention machinery;

The Deputies also expressed their gravest concern in respect of the lack of tangible progress in the adoption of measures envisaged to ensure that the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its electoral legislation are fully aligned with the European Court’s judgments; reiterated once more the crucial importance of the respondent State’s obligation, assumed under Article 46 of the Convention, to abide by the Court’s judgments promptly, fully and effectively to ensure the maximum possible reparation for the violations found; and recalled Interim Resolutions CM/ResDH(2011)291, CM/ResDH(2012)233 and CM/ResDH(2013)259, in which the Committee strongly urged the authorities and political leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina to amend the Constitution and the electoral legislation;

While deeply regretting that no information has been provided in writing by the authorities since the Committee’s last decisions, noted with interest the information provided during the meeting on the recent establishment of the Inter-Agency working group tasked with the preparation of amendments to the electoral legislation and invited the authorities to keep the Committee regularly informed on further steps taken to implement the present judgments.

The Deputies exhorted the authorities to accelerate the electoral reform process in order to fully align the Constitution and statutory legislation with the European Court’s judgments; underlined in this context that changes to the Election Law without corollary changes to the Constitution would leave the latter with the discriminatory provisions impugned by the Court’s judgments.

Also, they exhorted the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure that by 1 September 2021, a draft proposal on amendments to the Constitution and the Election Law is prepared so that the 2022 elections take place under Convention-compliant conditions.

They have decided to resume examination of these cases at their 1411th meeting (September 2021) (DH) meeting; should no tangible progress be achieved by then, affirmed their readiness to take new action to ensure that the respondent State abides fully and effectively by its obligations deriving from the Court’s judgments, stated the Council of Europe.