Open Letter of the Initiative for Monitoring the European Integration of BiH

The Initiative for Monitoring the European Integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina[1], as an informal coalition of forty civil society organizations, wants to contribute to the acceleration and credibility of the European integration process of Bosnia and Herzegovina through an open letter to the competent government institutions.

This process should result in the more efficient functioning of the state apparatus, the elimination of all forms of discrimination from the constitutional and legal order of BiH, the fight against corruption, and respect for the highest democratic standards, human rights, and freedoms. In this regard, we believe that the following should be the priorities of the competent institutions involved in this process:

  • Adoption of the proposal for Amendments to the Law on Financing the Institutions of BiH, which will eliminate the possibility of jeopardizing the holding of the 2022 General Elections due to a possible failure to adopt the Law on the Budget of BiH Institutions and International Obligations of BiH for 2022.
  • Ensuring that elections are conducted in line with European standards by implementing relevant OSCE/ODIHR recommendations (technical changes, the introduction of scanners, resolving issues related to manipulation of polling station committee elections)
  • Implementation of all five judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg through amendments to the BiH Constitution, followed by adaptation to these constitutional solutions through amendments to the constitution and laws at lower levels of governance
  • Adoption of the Law on the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of BiH, the Law on Conflict of Interest in BiH Institutions and the Law on Public Procurement of BiH, in such a way that new legal solutions represent significant changes, in accordance with the standards prescribed in the European Commission Opinion and European Commission Analytical Report
  • Amendments to the Law on Human Rights Ombudsman of BiH which will meet all the substantive requirements outlined in the Analytical Report of the European Commission
  • Harmonization of the Law on Protection from Domestic Violence and criminal laws with the Istanbul Convention
  • Protection of freedom of expression and protection of journalists from violence and threats, particularly in the online sphere, through the implementation and amendments to criminal laws, to allow for effective investigations into violence against media professionals, as well as the sanctioning of attackers and threatening individuals
  • Improvement and harmonization of entity laws on protection against defamation with the harmonization of domestic case law with the standards of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg
  • Harmonization of cantonal laws and the RS Law on Public Assembly with relevant international standards in this area, as well as the adoption of a framework law on public assembly in the FBiH that would harmonize and raise cantonal regulations to a higher standard.
  • Adoption of the Law on the Prohibition of Denial, Minimization, Justification or Approval of Genocide, Holocaust, Crimes against Humanity or War Crimes, as a separate law at the state level
  • Ensure the smooth, full and accelerated implementation of the Revised War Crimes Processing Strategy adopted at the end of September 2020
  • Development of the Civil Servants Register
  • Improvement of the Law on Associations and Foundations of BiH

Civil society in BiH expects the work and action on the above priorities to be transparent and inclusive, because only in this way can a thorough improvement of our country’s legislative and institutional framework be ensured, thereby accelerating the fulfilment of key priorities from the Opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU membership application.

The Initiative supported by: ACIPS, Sarajevo; Student Association of the Faculty of Law, University of Tuzla; Banja Luka Association of Queer Activists (BUKA), Banja Luka; Centre for Socio-Ecological Development, Banja Luka; Human Rights Centre, University of Sarajevo; Crvena, Sarajevo; European Research Centre, Sarajevo; Green Council, Sarajevo; Infohouse, Sarajevo; OKC Abrašević, Mostar; Perpetuum mobile, Banja Luka; Association PEKS, Tuzla; Vesta, Tuzla; Foreign Policy Initiative BH, Sarajevo; Zeleni Neretva, Konjic.

[1] Active members of the Initiative for Monitoring the European Integration of BiH are: Aarhus Centre in BiH, Sarajevo, Association for Democratic Initiatives, Sarajevo, BH Journalists, Sarajevo, Balkan Investigative Reporting Network BiH (BIRN), Sarajevo, Centre for Investigative Reporting, Sarajevo, Centre for Youth Kvart, Prijedor, Centre for Political Studies, Sarajevo, Centre for Civil Society Promotion, Sarajevo, CURE Foundation, Sarajevo, Foundation 787, Sarajevo, Forum ZFD, Sarajevo, Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly, Banja Luka, Hope and Homes for Children, Sarajevo, Youth Initiative for Human Rights in BiH, Sarajevo, Association Kali Sara, Sarajevo, MyRight – Empowers People with Disabilities, Sarajevo, Oštra Nula, Banja Luka, Transparency International in BiH, Banja Luka/Sarajevo, Association Transitional Justice, Accountability and Remembrance, Sarajevo, TRIAL International, Sarajevo, Sarajevo Open Centre, Sarajevo, Your Rights BiH, Sarajevo, Why Not, Sarajevo, Land of Children, Tuzla, Žene ženama, Sarajevo.