During his visit to Brussels this week, High Representative Valentin Inzko met with European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders to discuss the current state of affairs in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s judiciary, and the lack of respect for the rule of law in the domestic political arena.
“In its first article, the Annex 4 of the GFAP clearly states that BiH shall be a democratic state operating under the rule of law. However, this is hardly complied with. The rule of law must be dramatically strengthened, and the fight against corruption should become a real priority if Bosnia and Herzegovina is to become a stable and prosperous democratic country built on solid foundations. These are the areas where the politicians’ sincerity should be judged when it comes to their declared commitment to the EU accession path,” said the High Representative.
The High Representative used this opportunity to outline the key problems related to the rule of law, including the disrespect of rulings by domestic and international judicial institutions. He also mentioned the continuous attacks on the BiH Constitutional Court – a state judiciary body firmly grounded in the Dayton Agreement – and the longstanding failure to implement the BiH Constitutional Court’s ruling on Mostar, as well as the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling in the “Sejdić-Finci” case.
“Tens of thousands of citizens are being deprived of their civic rights, as they cannot vote in Mostar or run for election for a number of state offices. If Bosnia and Herzegovina wants to move forward and stop the drain of its population, it has to vigorously tackle the challenges related to the rule of law,” added the High Representative.
The interlocutors also discussed the suggested new rules for enlargement, the situation around the HJPC, and the Priebe Report.
On Wednesday the High Representative also had the opportunity to meet Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová, and mention to her that members of ethnic minorities such as Jews and Roma are unable to run for the BiH House of Peoples or the BiH Presidency, despite the repeated rulings of the European Court of Human Rights to the contrary.