Circle 99 – Krug 99
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
14 September 2023 – 39


1. The Association of Independent Intellectuals “Krug 99” (“Circle 99”) expresses its satisfaction with the Decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Slaven Kovacevic.  We are especially satisfied with this Decision since it confirms the decades-long efforts of Circle 99 to affirm the values of civil society and a democratic state, as well as the creation of a legal framework for political equality of all people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  2. Implementation of the Decision is of the greatest historic significance in view of the hundreds of years of efforts dedicated to the transformation and integration of the Bosnian state into the world-wide community of modern democratic states.  The Decision definitively marks the defeat of ethno-nationalism with its conflicted and unsuccessful ethnocratic order, and affirms the international principles of the Convention on Human Rights.  The path is clear and the obstacles must be overcome.  
3. The protection of active electoral rights, or the rights of a citizen to be able to vote for whomever he wants in all institutions at the state level, means the return of sovereignty into the hands of citizens who elect their political representatives and, at last, can participate in decision making and requiring of responsibility in their own country.  
4. It is especially significant that the European Court of Human Rights confirmed that Bosnia and Herzegovina must evolve from ethnic representation into the civil principle of representation in the institutions of governance.  This recognizes that the ethnic electoral system (including the ‘constituency of national groups’) undermines, reduces and limits democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  
5. Considering that democracy is one of the fundamental principles of every modern society and state, Circle 99 calls upon all actors in the international community to focus on the need for thorough implementation of the Kovacevic Decision, as well as other Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.  We call for pressure to be brought to bear on local political leaders so that full-fledged democracy can be achieved in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where citizens will be able to elect their authorities who can be removed if they do not function in the interests of all citizens.  The current ethnic electoral system and governance only guarantees the permanent participation in government of ethno-nationalist political parties and structures.  These have not up to now worked for, nor would they in the future work for, the welfare and wellbeing of all citizens.  Rather, they seek to freeze their existing political position through the continued participation of existing political players in all future governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  
6. We call upon all domestic political parties and political actors to exercise rational thinking and to implement the Kovacevic Decision by which a political system in Bosnia and Herzegovina would be in harmony with European standards.  This in turn would represent a serious step toward the opening of accession talks for the membership of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the European Union.  Representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the European Court should work to defend the human rights of the citizens, and not take measures to counter the Decision.  This would only lead to delays in action.  
7. We call upon the international community to prevent and refrain from any policy of imposing negotiations and concessions, in place of the principle of full-fledged carrying out of the Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.  We especially call upon actors in the executive and legislative branches of governments (for example, EU Parliaments and U.S. Congress), as well as non-governmental organizations, the media and public opinion-makers.  We call for refraining from meaningless rhetorical support and political mechanisms which were for the most part products of the current situation and were the reason in the first place for the Decision.  Familiarization with the real situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, without interpretations from those causing the conflict situation and wanting to maintain the status quo, is absolutely necessary.  
8. Having in mind the already significant and growing resistance of ethno-nationalists and their readiness to destroy the peace in order to preserve the existing situation and the privileges they have attained, we call on all citizens to show active resistance in the name of the future and the prosperity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Circle 99 appeals for unity and the coming together of all organizations, regardless of political or ideological affinities, to achieve a common assessment and the need for organizing mass resistance:  demonstrations of the citizens for a future in peace and for a modern and prosperous Bosnia and Herzegovina.  
9. We express our satisfaction that the European Court of Human Rights has decided in favor especially of three appellants:  the Jakob Finci case, the Azra Zornic case (passive electoral rights) and now the Slaven Kovacevic case (active electoral rights of citizens).  All three are members of Circle 99, an association which has actively worked on these issues for the past 30 years.  
Conclusions of the session of Circle 99 (held on 10 September 2023),  Presenters: Prof. Dr. Zlatko Hadzidedovic, Prof. Dr. Senadin Lavic, Prof. Dr. Hazim Basic, Appellant Azra Zornic, Appellant Dr. Slaven Kovacevic
Adil Kulenović, President  

Association of Independent Intellectuals – Circle 99 (Bosnian: Krug 99), a leading Bosnian think-tank, was established in Sarajevo in 1993, in the midst of the Bosnian war (1992-1995), while the capital was under siege. Circle 99 provides a platform to bring together intellectuals of various professional and ethnic identities; university professors, members of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, artists, journalists, entrepreneurs, diplomats, and other prominent figures from Bosnia and from abroad. Multidisciplinary discussions and initiatives are held each Sunday throughout the academic year, in the form of regular sessions about politics, science, education, culture, economy, and other societal issues. The overall goal is to sensitize the public towards a democratic transformation, achieving and maintaining peace, and integration of modern Bosnia into the community of countries fostering liberal democracy. Circle 99 has been declared an organization of special significance for the city of Sarajevo.