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Political parties hold citizens hostage: BiH Parliment must take a stand on proposals for implementation of Sejdić – Finci decision

Alisa Karović

18 12 predstavnicki dom parlamenta bih 16 SSCoalition “Equality”, which brings together more than twenty civil society organizations from all parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is calling collegiums of both Houses of the BiH Parliamentary Assembly to convene emergency sessions of the House of Representatives and House of Peoples, or a joint session of both chambers, and finally speak out about existing proposals for implementing the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Sejdić-Finci.

Almost two years ago (in August 2012), three proposals for the implementation of the decision were submitted within the parliamentary procedure: a joint proposal of HDZ, HDZ 1990; a joint proposal of SNSD SDS and a SDA proposal. The Parliament hasn’t vote to date on these proposals.

The discussion on constitutional changes and the implementation of the Sejdic and Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina in the past two years was completely separated from the highest representative body of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the future citizens was left to the leaders of political parties. Representatives of the European Union, instead of requiring the return of the process to the BiH Parliament Assembly, supported this distortion of the authority of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the same time investing 3.5 million Euros in the work of the BiH parliaments through the so-called Twinning Project.

The European Commission and the EU Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina has never came back to the discussion on the implementation of the verdict with the only legitimate body — the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia and Herzegovina due to lack of implementation of the Sejdic-Finci for nearly five years has blocked its way to the EU and, together with Kosovo, is the only country in the Balkans that does not have the candidate for EU membership status. Therefore, we urge political parties and their representatives in BiH Parliamentary Assembly to immediately begin permanent session of the parliament, until amendments to the Constitution of BiH and the BiH Election Law will be adopted.

Political parties and their representatives in the Parliamentary Assembly, which we as citizens chose, can free this country from the crisis. Through permanent session and discussions on the existing proposals within a month it would be possible to solve the key problem of the further progress of BiH on its path to the European Union, eliminating ethnic discrimination in the two most important institutions in BiH. Political parties and their representatives in the PA would thus show that they are finally ready to work for the interests of citizens, all constituent peoples and the “Others”, not just for their own partisan interests.

Bosnia and Herzegovina would be able, based on the implementation of the ECHR’s decision, to apply for the candidate status for membership in the European Union, and finally focus on the essential reforms, such as economic and social rights of citizens, as well as to obtain significant financial support in the coming years.

Parties that take a stand against voting on the existing proposals send to their citizens and voters a clear signal that their priorities are exclusively narrow party interests, but not citizens and the further progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina.