Benelux countries call concept of constituent peoples in BiH ‘discriminatory’


Three EU member states expressed content with the adoption of the EU Strategic Compass for Security and Defence, giving a vision of the development of the Union’s defence, with reference to Bosnia and Herzegovina among other things but they were dissatisfied with the mention of “discriminatory” concept of the constituent people in the country.

“The Netherlands (NL), Belgium (BE) and Luxembourg (LU) welcome the adoption of the Strategic Compass for security and defense. NL, BE and LU however regret the fact that the text was amended to contain a reference to the discriminatory concept of constituent peoples,” the three countries said, referring to the current constitutional setup of Bosnia and Herzegovina that has been subject of several lawsuits before international courts due to the discrimination of those who do not affiliate with one of three main ethnic groups. 

The three countries stressed that their agreement with the strategic document does “in no way signal a change in the Dutch general position to ensure equality and non-discrimination of all citizens in BiH, notably by implementing the Sejdić-Finci case law of the European Court of Human Rights (EctHR).”

They underlined that “no legislative or political step” should be taken which would make the implementation of the Sejdic-Finci ruling and related ECtHR rulings more challenging or would further deepen ethnic divisions.

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Dervo Sejdic and Jakob Finci, of Roma and Jewish ethnicity, won a case against Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2009 after they sued the country over the inability to run for the post of the Bosnia Presidency member as the three-member institution was according to the Constitution reserved for ethnic Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats only.

The ECHR ruling remains unimplemented to date.




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