The Initiative for Monitoring the European Integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomes the process of amending the Law on Human Rights Ombudsman of BiH in order to implement the recommendations and guidelines contained in international acts ratified by BiH, as well as recommendations and opinions of international bodies, particularly the Opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU membership application and the accompanying Analytical Report of the European Commission.
We note that the solutions proposed, while addressing some critical issues, do not address all key issues related to the regulation of the work and organization of the Ombudsman Institution that are recognized by both BiH civil society and international actors.
We emphasize that the Initiative for Monitoring the European Integration of BiH, as a coalition of organizations with a large number of members focused on human rights, has already analysed the areas covered by these amendments and many others, and has offered its Model Law, which includes, among other things, the following solutions:
Election of the Ombudsman from the ranks of Others in order to reach an agreement between the prevailing political principle of national tripartite and the guarantee of equal treatment of all persons, regardless of their ethnicity, including persons belonging to national minorities or unwilling to declare themselves as members of one of the three constituent peoples (constitutional category of others), and in order to prevent indirect discrimination of citizens who do not declare themselves as one of the three constituent peoples in BiH.
Structured i.e., thematic division of labour among the ombudsmen themselves, which would speed up the decision-making process and make the Institution’s work more efficient. Consensus decision-making has so far resulted in significant delays or inactivity in sensitive cases.
We also note that, despite having the authority to do so, the Ombudsman did not entirely use the mechanisms of initiating or intervening in court proceedings, as well as the possibility of initiating misdemeanour proceedings in cases of non-implementation of recommendations or non-cooperation in cases of discrimination.
We believe that the process of amending the Law on Human Rights Ombudsman of BiH is not complete until all substantive requirements set out in the Analytical Report of the European Commission are met, which will comprehensively lead to improving the institution’s efficiency in fulfilling its mandate of human rights protection and promotion.
To provide adequate support to this process, the Initiative for Monitoring the European Integration of BiH and its members will join the current process of online consultations on the Law, with their proposals and explanations, in the hope that it will be recognized by the competent institutions.
The Initiative’s Model Law on the Institution of Human Rights Ombudsman of BIH can be found here.