The Peace Implementation Council Steering Board (PIC SB) supported the work of the Central Election Commission (CEC) in the preparation for the 2020 Local Elections and welcomed the presentation of its President Vanja Bjelica-Prutina in this respect. The PIC SB urged the authorities of BiH to promptly adopt the long-overdue state-level budget for 2020 to allow for the unimpeded functioning of the state-level institutions, including the CEC, and the discharge of their constitutional and legal responsibilities. To enable the CEC to effectively carry out technical preparations for the 2020 elections, the PIC SB calls on the BiH CoM to grant, in the interim, a special decision on expenditures in line with the Law on Financing of Institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The PIC SB recalls that the CEC is an independent body whose authority is derived from the BiH Election Law and that the Entity Election Commissions have no responsibilities in the organization of elections other than those granted to them by the CEC, and must act in accordance with the BiH Election Law.
Following the presentation by the NGO “Naše društvo” on the situation in Mostar after eight years without a City Council, the PIC SB also called on political actors to urgently implement relevant decisions by the BiH Constitutional Court and the European Court on Human Rights concerning local elections in Mostar, finding an acceptable agreement by the deadline established by the latter and ensuring that free and democratic elections may finally be held in Mostar this year, for the first time since 2008.
Marking the 25th anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica, the PIC SB pays its solemn respect to the victims, survivors and their families. The commemoration serves to remember the past and reminds of the importance of peace in BiH and the continued need to abstain from irresponsible, revisionist and divisive rhetoric. All war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the course of the conflict in BiH during the 1990s must not be forgotten or denied, and all responsible must be apprehended and brought to justice, while convicted war criminals must never be glorified. The PIC SB urges political leaders and elected officials to do their utmost to commemorate events and victims with dignity and to have a joint commemoration to promote peace and reconciliation, while supporting continued efforts to find and identify the victims.
The PIC SB urged the BiH authorities/political and institutional leaders to address the following priorities without further delay: to repare and adopt the action plan for the 14 key priorities of the European Commission’s Opinion and start to implement it. Deliver the methodology for the Program of Integration of BiH into the European Union and to appoint the new Federation Government, as well as the governments of Herzegovina-Neretva Canton and Canton 10, all of which remain unappointed with governments from the previous mandates still in place more than a year and a half since the October 2018 General Elections, and appoint pending positions at all levels, including in the judiciary and crucial state-level agencies.
Also, to prepare and carry out local elections throughout the country, ensuring they are conducted in a free, fair and safe manner in line with European standards. Refrain from divisive and destabilizing rhetoric in the campaign for the 2020 Local Elections, and instead focus on local governance challenges that affect the lives and livelihoods of citizens.
In addition, to reach agreement on electoral rules for Mostar, which must remain a unified city. This situation must be resolved without further delay and independently of other pending matters.
Also, to implement the Sejdic/Finci decision, as well as related decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, which remains unimplemented after more than a decade, and refrain from taking legislative or political steps that would make the implementation of these rulings more challenging.
Finally, to strengthen cooperation among all levels of authority in BiH and provide sufficient funds to manage migration as exclusive competencies of the state, and share the burden of accommodating migrants. In line with international law, the restrictive measures limiting the movement of migrants must be lifted.)
The PIC SB will hold its next meeting on 1-2 December 2020.
* The Russian Federation does not agree with this Communiqué.