An open letter from the Main Council of the Croat National Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina

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 Concern about the situation in BiH

We are addressing you with deep concern for the current situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our country is currently facing a great constitutional crisis and an open attack on the constitutional and legal order and the rule of law.

It has been a year and a half since the Constitutional court of BiH ruled in the “Ljubić” case, and the Election law of BiH has still not been reformed in accordance with the ruling. There is only three months left until the general elections of 2018, and the solution for the implementation of the “Ljubić“ ruling is still not in sight. On the contrary, we are witnesses of different attempts of manipulation of the mentioned ruling and using the ruling itself as an excuse for harsh encroachment on the Dayton Agreement and the Constitution of BiH. Instead of trying to implement the “Ljubić” ruling in the Parlimentary Assembly of BiH, as the Constitutional court of BiH ordered in the decision, a group of five Bosniak parties (SDA, SBB, SDP, DF and NS), in violation to the Constitutional court of BiH ruling and the Constitution of BiH, are trying to resolve the implementation of the “Ljubić” ruling in the Parliament of the Federation of BiH.

 

The decision of the Constitutional court of BiH in the “Ljubić” case

The Constitutional court of BiH (constitutional court at the BiH/state level) has made a decision that the Election law of BiH (a law at the state level) is not in accordance with the Constitution of BiH (state constitution) and ordered the Parlimentary Assembly of BiH (the parliament at the state level) to reform the Election law of BiH and make it in accordance with the Constitution of BiH within the six months. Moreover, we want to remind everyone that the Constitutional court of BiH explicitly required that the Parlimentary Assembly of BiH implements the ruling within the six months. As this did not happen, the Constitutional court of BiH has erased unconstitutional clauses of the Election law in July of 2017.

From the above information it is completely and unequivocally clear that the Parlimentary Assembly (PA) of BiH is the only institution that has constitutional authority and legislative powers to implement the ruling of the Constitutional court of BiH in the “Ljubić” case. Moreover, it is completely and unequivocally clear that any attempt to implement the “Ljubić” ruling at the entity level and in entity Parliament of the Federation of BiH is an act of derogation and contempt of both the Constitutional Court of BiH and the Constitution of BiH itself.

 

Entity coup against the state

By putting the entity above the state, and the entity parliament above the state parliament and the legislation at the entity level above the legislation at the state level five Bosniak parties have, with the proposal of the “Law on the electoral units and the number of mandates of the Parliament of the Federation of BiH,” both de iure and de facto performed an entity coup against the state, threatened the constitutional and legal order in BiH and violated the Constitution of BiH and the Dayton Agreement.

Therefore, the Croat National Assembly of BiH calls on all political parties and actors in BiH, as well as on all representatives of the international community, all responsible institutions and all citizens in BiH to react to the harsh attack on the constitutional and legal order in Bosnia and Herzegovina and help protect the Constitution of BiH and to help implement the decisions of the Constitutional court of BiH and secure and defend the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

The political context of the entity coup against the state (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Other than the fact that the “Law on the electoral units and the number of mandates of the Parliament of the Federation of BiH” represent an entity coup against the state at the formal and procedural level, or in other words, a harsh encroachment of the constitutional and legal structure set up with the Dayton Agreement and the Constitution of BiH, we have to mention that the controversial legislation is also not valid at the substantive level. The legislation in question contains the same stipulations that the Constitutional court ruled unconstitutional This tells us that the five Bosniak parties refuse to implement the ruling of the Constitutional court of BiH both formally and in content.

It is also worrying that the current Government of the FBiH has actively involved itself in the process of the entity coup against the state and gave an Opinion which support the implementation of the anti-Dayton and anti-constitutional Law on the electoral units and the number of mandates of the Parliament of the Federation of BiH” without the procedure of getting opinions from the relevant commissions and bodies of the Government of the FBiH.

It is obvious that the Bosniak political representatives do not want to give up the anti-constitutional privileges which the erased stipulations of the Election law of BiH gave them. They do not want to give up the unconstitutional stipulations of the Election law of BiH because that gives them a possibility in which after some future general elections 14 out of 17 of delegates in the Bosniak Club, 12 out of 17 of delegates in the Serb Club and 6 out of 17 of delegates in the Croat Club and 5 out of 7 of delegates in the Others Club in the House of Peoples of the Parliament of the Federation of BiH are elected from the list of the five Bosniak parties (SDA, SBB, SDP, DF and NS), while at the same time none of those five parties gets even a single vote from citizens of the Federation of BiH which at the last official census identified themselves as Croats, Serbs or member of the Others group. It is obvious that the contested Election law of BiH allows Bosniaks a full control of the House of Peoples of the Parliament of the FBiH (to be precise, 37 out of 58 delegates) and it allows a control of at least 1/3 of delegates in all the clubs in the House of Peoples.

We want to remind everyone that the decisions in the House of Peoples are made with a simple majority, other than the decisions which are concerning the vital national interest. After the imposed amendments by the OHR on the Constitution of the FBiH, now it is required a 2/3 majority rather than a simple majority to invoke any question of the vital national interest which are not listed in the Constitution. Moreover, rather than a simple majority, after the amendments, now only 1/3 of votes are required in each of the Clubs to elect the President and vice-presidents of the FBiH, as well with a possibility of a confirmation in only one chamber (Bosniak-majority House of Representatives), which means that Bosniaks have a possibility to elect the complete executive branch in the Federation without support or involvement of the other constituent peoples.

In that case, both the President of the FBiH and two vice-presidents would also be from the five mentioned Bosniak parties, as well as all 16 ministers in the FBiH Government and prime-minister. If we take into consideration that in accordance with the disputed Election law of BiH Bosniaks can elect both members of the Presidency of BiH which are elected from the FBiH without a single Croat electoral vote, it becomes clear why Bosniak political representatives do not want to implement the ruling of the Constitutional court of BiH in the Ljubić case and reform the electoral legislature.

Moreover, Bosniaks make up over 70% of the population in the FBiH, and as such, in the lower chamber of the Parliament of FBiH, the House of Representatives, they have a secured not only a simple majority, but a two-thirds majority. The disputed parts of the Election law of BiH gave Bosniaks de facto full control of the whole Parliament of the FBiH. By controlling the Parliament of the FBiH the Bosniaks also have the full control of the executive branch at the FBiH level. Even if it happens that in the FBiH Government there is legitimate Croat representatives, because of the Government structure and the procedure in decision-making, the Government decisions can still be made without any Croat support, as Bosniaks always have 8+1 votes in the Government out of possible 17 – the decisions are made with a simple majority, rather than with a consensus on the important questions, as was the case before the imposed OHR amendments.

After the adoption of the mentioned Law in the House of Representatives of the Parliament of the FBiH and the Opinion of the Government of the FBiH, it is clear that Bosniak political representatives are ready to pay for the full institutional and political control of the Federation of BiH with the destruction of the constitutional and legal order of our shared country and with brutal violation of the Dayton Agreement.

All mentioned above lead us to the fact that the end goal of such politics is turning the Federation of BiH into a Bosniak entity, and after that, to turn that Bosniak entity into Bosniak national state.

 

Political and criminal responsibility of the actors of the entity separatism and a coup against the state

Therefore, the Main Council of the Croat National Assembly of BiH openly calls on all political parties and actors, as well as on all representatives of the international community, all responsible institutions and all citizens and the public in BiH that within their powers and possibilities do everything they can to protect the Dayton Agreement, the Constitution of BiH, the constitutional and legal order and the rule of law.

We are especially calling on the OHR and the Steering Committee of the PIC to protect the Dayton and the Constitution of BiH, as these are the institutions whose primary purpose is to protect the Dayton Agreement, as well as the constitutional and legal order established by it.

Moreover, we especially appeal to all the members of the HNS BiH at all levels of government and in all institutions, to decisively and uncompromisingly oppose all attempts of further majorization of Croats in the FBiH, and in accordance with their duties and powers name and call for political and criminal responsibility all actors which are takin part in the mentioned process of the violation of the Dayton Agreement and destruction of the constitutional and legal order in Bosnia and Herzegovina through entity separatism. 

President of the HNS Main Council

Božo Ljubić

Mostar, 9 July, 2018.

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