The honouring of obligations and commitments by Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Parliamentary Assembly
debate on 24 January 2018 (6th Sitting) (see Doc. 14465, report of the Committee on the Honouring of Obligations
and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring
Committee), co-rapporteurs: Mr Tiny Kox and Sir Roger Gale). Text adopted by the Assembly on
24 January 2018 (6th Sitting).
1 Bosnia and Herzegovina joined the
Council of Europe on 24 April 2002. Since then, the authorities
have implemented all the country’s formal commitments entered into
upon accession. To date, Bosnia and Herzegovina has signed and ratified
90 Council of Europe conventions.
2 The Parliamentary Assembly congratulates the authorities of
Bosnia and Herzegovina on the adoption of an ambitious reform agenda
in July 2015 and on officially submitting its application for membership
of the European Union in February 2016.
3 The Assembly also welcomes the long-awaited publication, in
2016, of the 2013 population and household census, and the progress
made in the implementation of the revised strategy for the implementation of
Annex VII to the Dayton Peace Agreement on the return of refugees
and internally displaced persons.
4 The Assembly considers that the issue of missing persons should
remain high on the authorities’ agenda and expects the Missing Persons
Institute to receive the necessary budgetary means.
5 The Assembly regrets the slow pace of implementation of the
2009 National War Crime Strategy: the 2015 deadline for the most
complex cases was not met and investigations into alleged war crimes
against at least 7 000 people remain to be resolved by December
2023. The Assembly urges both the entities and the State to ensure
that the judiciary is sufficiently funded.
6 The Assembly is pleased to note that the Central Election
Commission organised the 2014 general elections and the 2016 local
elections in a professional and efficient manner and constantly
strives to promote further technical improvements to the voting
7 However, the Assembly notes that the 2014 elections were held
for the second time under a legal and constitutional framework which
is in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS
No. 5) since the 2009 judgment in the case of Sejdić
and Finci: once again, only Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks
could run for the State presidency or be elected/appointed to the
State House of Peoples.
8 No constitutional amendments to solve this fundamental issue
have been adopted to date. The Assembly urges once again all political
stakeholders to shoulder their responsibilities and to adopt the necessary
changes both in the constitution and in the electoral law, at the
latest six months before the next general elections in October 2018.
The residency requirement for the election of the tripartite State
presidency should also be removed, in accordance with the judgment
of the European Court of Human Rights in the Pilav case.
9 The Assembly also urges the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina
to adopt the changes required for the implementation of decisions
by the Constitutional Court on the electoral system for the city
of Mostar and on the composition of the Federation House of Peoples.
10 For the Assembly, it is highly problematic that the authorities
cannot muster the political will necessary to end a situation where
the citizens of Mostar have been prevented from exercising their
right to choose their representatives in the city council for over
11 The Assembly considers it a matter of urgency to implement
the Constitutional Court’s decision of 1 December 2016 on the composition
of the Federation House of Peoples (in the Ljubić case)
well ahead of the next general elections in 2018, as otherwise there
is a serious risk that government formation both at federation and
State level after the elections will be blocked.
12 The Assembly urges the authorities in both entities to adopt
amendments to their constitutions: it is highly regrettable that
the Constitution of Republika Srpska still provides for the death
penalty and that the federation’s constitution still contains provisions
related to an ombudsman institution that was abolished in 2008.
In four cantons of the federation, constitutional amendments to
the respective cantonal constitutions are required to guarantee
the status of “constituent people” to the Serbs living there.
13 The Assembly considers that the authorities of Bosnia and
Herzegovina should step up efforts to implement the country’s remaining
accession commitments and its membership obligations. While respecting the
entities’ and the Brčko District’s autonomy, the necessary reforms
should be implemented in a spirit of constructive dialogue between
the various levels of authority. State structures in key areas should
be reinforced and not undermined.
14 While accepting that the institutional framework of the country
is a complex one, the Assembly regrets that complicated decision-making
processes in the State parliament (such as the requirement of entity
voting, a double qualified majority needed for the adoption of all
decisions, or the invocation of the Vital National Interest protection
clause) considerably slow down the legislative reform process.
15 The Assembly also regrets that nationalistic and ethnic rhetoric
still dominates the political discourse throughout the country,
particularly ahead of elections. There should be zero tolerance
for hate speech or the glorification of war criminals.
16 The Assembly is very concerned about the increasing disrespect
for the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina and urges the competent
authorities to abide by decisions of the Constitutional Court and
the State Court, which are final and binding. It regrets in particular
the decision of the Republika Srpska not to implement a decision
of the State Court on the State-level registration of defence property
located on its territory, the decision to hold a referendum on the
Republika Srpska national day despite a ruling by the Constitutional
Court banning it, and the protracted delay by the State parliament
in implementing the decision of the Constitutional Court on Mostar.
As regards the strengthening of democratic institutions, the
Assembly calls on the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to:
17.1 strengthen local self-government
in Bosnia and Herzegovina in line with the 2012 recommendations
of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council
17.2 adopt a new law on the prevention of conflicts of interest
at State and entity level, in accordance with international standards,
and strengthen the bodies monitoring conflicts of interest as well
as the asset disclosure regime;
17.3 further improve the law on the financing of political
parties and implement all outstanding recommendations contained
in the third evaluation round of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO)
concerning the transparency of party funding both at State and entity
17.4 complete the establishment of a unified public service
broadcasting system with State-level management, set up the corporation
of public broadcasting services and adopt legislation ensuring permanent
funding of the three public broadcasters;
17.5 adopt legislation aimed at ensuring transparency in the
ownership of media outlets;
17.6 ensure that the law on access to information is effectively
implemented and take measures to increase the safety of journalists
who have been subjected to death threats and other intimidation measures
in recent years;
17.7 pursue the reform of the State-level ombudsman institution
in line with the recommendations of the European Commission for
Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) and ensure sufficient funding
for the institution, notably to enable it to comprehensively monitor
the implementation of the 2009 Law on Prohibition of Discrimination.
As regards the rule of law, the Assembly calls on the authorities
18.1 step up the fight against
corruption within the judicial and prosecution system, the police
and the administration; prosecute cases of political corruption,
bribery and trading in influence both at State and entity level
and harmonise the various applicable legislations; and strengthen
the institutional capacity of the anti-corruption agency;
18.2 adopt without further delay the remaining laws and by-laws
on anti-money laundering and the financing of counter-terrorism
in order for the country to be removed from the “light grey list”
of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF);
18.3 adopt a new law on the courts and set up either a Supreme
Court at State level or an Appellate Court within the existing State
Court, in line with the recommendations of the Venice Commission;
adopt a new law on the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council taking
into account the recommendations of the Venice Commission; continue
efforts to harmonise the four existing legal systems in the country.
As regards the protection of human rights, the Assembly calls
on the authorities to:
with the harmonisation across the country of the legal framework
for the execution of criminal sanctions and ensure better co-operation
between the three existing separate prison administrations.
19.2 establish fully independent police complaint bodies to
investigate allegations of ill treatment of detainees, in line with
the recommendations made by the European Committee for the Prevention
of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT);
19.3 continue to implement measures to foster the integration
of the Roma community in society;
19.4 continue to implement measures to deal with the phenomenon
of trafficking in human beings, particularly children;
19.5 take as a matter of priority all necessary steps to implement
their accession commitment to eliminate segregation and assimilation
The Assembly, while welcoming progress made in a number of
areas since the adoption of its Recommendation 2025 (2013)
functioning of democratic institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, remains
concerned about the lack of progress in the field of constitutional
reform and reform of the electoral law, which threatens the political
stability and progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Therefore, pending
the implementation of this and previous resolutions and recommendations,
it resolves to pursue its monitoring of the honouring of obligations
and commitments by Bosnia and Herzegovina.