Bosnia to change constitution over discrimination

10th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Bosnia's parliament on Monday began procedures to amend the country's constitution which Europe's rights court says discriminates as it bars Jews and Romas from running for higher office.

A commission grouping representatives of 13 parliamentary parties is charged to propose to parliament before November 30 the constitutional amendments, as well as those necessary to change the electoral law, the assembly's press office said.

The reform is one of the main conditions for Bosnia to obtain EU candidacy status.

In December 2009, the European Court of Human Rights slammed Bosnia for barring Jews and Romas from running for high elected office.

The court ruled that the Balkan country violated provisions of the convention prohibiting discrimination and upholding the right to free elections.

Two plaintiffs in the case, Dervo Sejdic who is of Roma origin and Jakob Finci who is Jewish -- both prominent public figures, filed a suit in 2006 claiming discrimination and a breach of their human rights.

Bosnia's government failed to amend the constitution before October 2010 general elections.

Bosnia's constitution makes a distinction between two categories of citizens: "constituent peoples" -- Bosniaks (Muslims), Croats and Serbs -- and "others" -- Jews, Roma and other minorities.

Posts in the Bosnian parliament and its tripartite presidency are reserved for the three so-called constituent nations under the rules which were intended to prevent ethnic strife in the wake of the 1992-1995 war.

© 2011 AFP

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