Nine years ago, two friends won a case on the International Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, against the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, because, in accordance with the laws and the Constitution, they are not allowed to run for the position of the member of the BiH Presidency.
Their names, Dervo Sejdić and Jakob Finci, are now famous in the BiH as a synonym for the injustice in the highest legal documents, where not all citizens are equal. The so called “Sejdić – Finci” verdict was announced nine years ago but the solution in the case still waits to be implemented. In fact, it is not likely that it will happen in a reasonable time because it will “unpack” the issue of the constitutional reforms and open the path for bigger reconstruction of BiH Constitution. There is no politician in BiH who will agree with these reforms but all of them are saying that the “Sejdić – Finci” case must be solved.
According to BiH Constitution and Election Law, three members of the BiH Presidency are elected from three “constitutional nations” – Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats. Serbs are elected from the Republika Srpska and the other two from Federation BiH. That was agreed in Dayton, during peace negotiations, and the Constitution in integral part of the Dayton Peace Agreement. The problem however, is that these provisions do not recognize other nationalities and prevented them from running for the position in the Presidency. All nations other than Serbs, Croat and Bosniaks are in the category of “others” and, according to Strasbourg Court verdict, are “second grade citizens”.
Jakob Finci is a Jew, Dervo Sejdić is Roma in nationality, and they decided to fight in order to open the path for reforms, which would mean that all nations in BiH are equal and have the same opportunities.
On the occasion of the ninth anniversary of the verdict, Željko Komšić, Croat member of the BiH Presidency met with Sejdić and Finci in Sarajevo.
“It is about time to stop deceiving ourselves and pretend to go on the European road. European democratic values do not recognise any exclusive representation of people”, Komšić said on the press conference after meeting.
He added that the Strasbourg Court deems the time has come for a political system that would ensure every citizen of BiH a right to run in the election for the Presidency and the House of Peoples without a discrimination on the basis of ethnic affiliation and without entitling constituent peoples with special rights.
“It is clear here there are political forces, we all know who they are, who are deliberately ignoring the conclusions of EU institutions, pulling Bosnia and Herzegovina back in terms of its European integration”, Komšić pointed out, without referring to specific names.
Sejdić expressed the hope that Roma children will consider school as their home in which no one will discriminate them. He said that, in the near future, he would like to see more jobs for all BiH citizens, and especially for the Roma, and that everyone will be able to live from their work.
“I hope that our and your persistence will result with the solution of the “Sejdić – Finci case”, Sejdić said.
Finci began his address to the media by apologizing to the BiH citizens because, for nine years, they are forced to hear about the “Sejdić-Finci” judgment, like there are no other problems.
“This country has other problems, but because of this, we have been stopped on the European path. The European Union cannot accept for a candidate member a country that does not respect the EU Convention on Human Rights”, Finci said.
Along with Sejdić and Finci, several other BiH Citizens filled a complaint to Strasbourg Court because of similar problems. The BiH authorities can remain silent and do nothing for some period but it is clear that this issue, one day, will need to be resolved urgently./IBNA