Following the media reports and statements by political leaders regarding the anticipated impositions of amendments to FBiH Constitution and BiH Electoral Law by the Office of High Representative (OHR), we join dozens of activists, academics and political leaders in opposing any changes that would foster further divisions among the peoples of BiH and allow for systemic discrimination on ethnic grounds. Anticipated changes would de-facto provide additional mechanisms to HDZ and SNSD to completely block the country by tailoring the electoral law to the solemn need of these parties. Only a few weeks ago, the same HDZ and SNSD were called out by Bundestag, the legislative body in which Mr. Schmidt served, as those who aim to destroy BiH as a country and home to its diverse population. As can be determined from the media reports, it seems like Dodik and Čović are not alone in working against the multi-ethnic nature of BiH.
Mr. Schmidt intentionally chose to focus on only one major verdict by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (the so-called Ljubic case), completely disregarding numerous verdicts issued by the European Court of Human Rights concerning the electoral system of our country (“Zornić case”, “Sejdić-Finci case”, “Pilav case”, “Šlaku case”, “Pudarić case”). Such cherry-picking practices will leave a lasting scar on our country’s democratic advancements and endanger its economic progress and international reputation for decades to come. The proposed electoral changes will destroy any chance for BiH to become a fully functional democracy, as it will make the votes of tens of thousands of BiH citizens worthless. We believe it is more important to give a chance to vote and to be elected to all citizens in the country than to engage in unprecedented gerrymandering.
We are appalled by the fact that there are members of PIC who support these amendments, other than Russia. It seems like the Bosnian genocide and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine have not changed anything in the international community’s perception, as these decisions will push BiH toward Russia through its proxies HDZ and SNSD, and put the last nail in the coffin of the Euro-Atlantic path of the country.
We call on Mr. Schmidt to reconsider these changes, as the political and security situation might escalate in case such amendments are imposed. We call on all political leaders to put aside their differences and mobilize our friends across the globe to prevent the establishment of apartheid in our country. We call on intelectuals, academia and CSOs that have been supported by international organizations to voice their opinion and give their take on the discriminatory changes that might be imposed.