Bosnian Constitution Discriminates

The European Court for Human Rights has ruled that Bosnia and Herzegovina discriminated against Jews and Roma by forbidding them to stand for key elected posts, including parliament and the presidency.

In a historic judgment issued on Tuesday, December 22nd 2009, the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg said the prohibition, included in the Bosnian Constitution, amounted to discrimination and breached the electoral rights of the two applicants, Dervo Sejdic of Romany origin and Jakob Finci of Jewish background.

The applicants made complaints since the Bosnian Constitution does not allow them to stand for elections to the Presidency and the House of People of Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the Dayton Peace Agreement – the Bosnian Constitution, Bosniacs, Croats and Serbs are the only ‘constituent people’ while other communities are called ‘non-constituent’ or ‘others’ and are not allowed to run for President or lawmakers.