BiH: Court annulled CEC’s decision – United Srpska can participate in the election

BiH: Court annulled CEC’s decision – United Srpska can participate in the election

The Court of BiH overruled the Central Election Commission BIH (CEC BiH) decision banning United Srpska party’s (Ujedinjena Srpska) participation in the local election. The ban was imposed after the party published a campaign video which, in CEC’s BiH opinion, was not in accordance with election rules.

“The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has annulled the decision of the CEC BiH from October 7, 2020, in the case of ‘United Srpska’”, the CEC BiH confirmed.

During a CEC BiH session last week, the members unanimously adopted the ban of the United Srpska, the party registered in Republika Srpska, from participating in the elections, and its leader Nenad Stevandić was fined €5,000 for publishing a video on social networks and the party YouTube channel. The response of the public on this video was not good and some parties reported the United Srpska to CEC BiH.

The CEC’s written explanation stated that the party violated several articles of the Election Law, the Dayton Peace Agreement, promoted hate speech, and had a continuity of provocations and public harassment.

However, the Court of BiH stated that the CEC BiH could not determine the existence of the violation of the Election Law outside the election campaign period, which lasts from October 16 to November 14. The disputed video was published on September 20

The Court, therefore, noted that the CEC BiH incorrectly established the facts related to the prohibited speech from the Election Law, which is contained in the disputed video.

“If the CEC BiH considered that the content of the disputed video violated the Election Law, it had the opportunity to sanction that violation under other provisions of the Law … which would eventually lead to other sanctions”, the Court said.

The disputed video clip depicted three young men (Bosniak, Croat and Albanian) which, during a conversation in the coffee shop, explain each other how they destroyed Serbs in their areas. A big man comes in, slams his fist on the table and says that they will not succeed because “(Republika) Srpska is now united”. After that the three flee out of the coffee shop in panic./ibna