Peace Implementation Council SB urged the BiH Authorities to advance decisively on Reforms related to the Rule of Law

The Peace Implementation Council Steering Board (PIC SB) Political Directors met via video conference on 1-2 December 2020 to review the process of implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP), which remains the basis for a stable, secure and prosperous Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The PIC SB reminded all parties of their obligation to comply fully with the GFAP, all its annexes, and decisions of the High Representative. It reaffirmed its unequivocal commitment to the territorial integrity and fundamental structure of BiH as a single, sovereign state comprising two entities. The PIC SB restated that the entities have no right to secede from BiH and only exist legally by virtue of the BiH Constitution.

The PIC SB urged the BiH authorities to advance decisively on reforms related to the rule of law and the fight against corruption, which are a key part of the EU accession process. The PIC SB underscored that judicial reforms are a key priority and expressed commitment to assist the BiH authorities in this regard. In particular, the PIC SB highlighted the need to amend the Law on the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) to establish a robust asset verification process to better address conflicts of interest and other integrity-related issues, strengthen the independence, integrity and accountability of judges and prosecutors and members of HJPC, and enable judicial remedy against HJPC decisions. The PIC SB acknowledges the HJPC members’ decision to address recent developments and encourages appropriate action that will restore trust in the institution.

The PIC SB urged the BiH authorities/political and institutional leaders to address the following priorities without further delay: adopt and implement the action plan on the 14 key priorities of the European Commission’s Opinion.

Namely, to improve coordination and cooperation amongst all levels of authority in BiH on combating the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigating its socioeconomic consequences, and increase capacities in testing and contact tracing to slow the spread of the virus and flatten the curve in terms of its impact on healthcare systems.

Reach agreement on electoral reform that takes into account decisions of the BiH Constitutional Court, and the Sejdic/Finci decision and related decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which remain unimplemented, some for more than a decade. In the process of electoral reforms, refrain from taking legislative or political steps that would make the implementation of the ECtHR rulings more challenging.

Take concrete steps starting at the highest political levels towards reconciliation in BiH, including through joint commemorations.

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 two years since the October 2018 General Elections, and appoint pending positions at all levels, including members of the Federation Constitutional Court and of crucial state-level agencies.

Ensure effective cooperation among all levels of authority in BiH and provide sufficient resources to manage migration and border security as the exclusive competences of the state, and ensure the fair distribution across the whole country of the responsibility for the humanitarian accommodation of migrants and asylum seekers. In line with international law, the restrictive measures arbitrarily limiting the movement of migrants must be lifted.

The PIC SB will hold its next meeting on 1-2 June 2021.

* The Russian Federation does not agree with this Communiqué.

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