“Citizens’ Declaration of Opposition to High Representative Schmidt’s Discriminatory  Plan for Election Reform”

hands pointing on the same spot with an layered european union flag - agreement Elections to the European Parliament concept

25 July 2022 – 12

We, the undersigned BiH citizens and allies, proclaim our resolute opposition to the High Representative’s impending decisions regarding election reform and the functionality of the Federation of BiH. We condemn the discriminatory plan that shall exclude ethnic groups and others from participation in the electoral process (from standing for election), irrespective of the census level. Such a deliberate disenfranchisement and withdrawal of equality of citizens is a blatant violation of decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in the Sejdić-Finci and Zornić cases. Such a decision by the High Representative shall be a betrayal of democratic values and should not be supported by members of the PIC. The High Representative’s impending decision continues the Dayton-imposed logic of constituent peoples, and further entrenches ethnic divisions rather than helping Bosnia move in the direction of a democracy of citizens with equal rights and dignity. It is simply incomprehensible that the High Representative would use his BONN Powers to further reinforce discrimination by supporting the gerrymandering intended by the Ljubić case, rather than upholding the above-mentioned ECtHR rulings with respect to equal rights. Mr. Schmidt’s decision in favor of apartheid against the majority people undermines Bosnia’s case for EU membership. In addition to the High Representative’s violation of democratic principles, we are concerned about the political consequences of this decision, which shall allow the avowedly separatist HDZ and SNSD parties to gain control of the House of Peoples. These are parties who by word and by deed have sought to undermine the sovereignty and integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the interest of neighboring Croatia and Serbia.  Their leaders have sought to block the functioning of the State and have brazenly referred to Bosnia and Herzegovina as a failed State. We are frankly appalled that the uncivil behavior of these parties and their leaders is now being rewarded by the High Representative. It is an unconscionable act of appeasement and a completion of genocidal goals from the 90s. The main source of public support of the High Representative’s decision has come from leaders in Croatia. Such meddling in Bosnia’s internal affairs, particularly by a government found guilty of being part of a Joint Criminal Enterprise seeking to establish Herceg-Bosna as part of a “Greater Croatia” is simply unacceptable. According to international standards, the modification of electoral processes so close to the scheduled election is highly irregular and perhaps unprecedented. Obstructions used for the necessary personnel replacements in the process of election of  judges of the BiH Constitutional Court and to highjack this institution. We have been dismayed  by the High Representative’s complete lack of transparency with this impending decision, absence of any information about the impending decisions related to amendments to the FBiH Constitution, without any modifications either in the Republika Srpska entity or at the state level, as well as with the rushed timing of the high vacation season for his complex decision. We are gravely concerned that these substantive injustices and procedural improprieties shall lead Bosnia to conflict rather than toward functionality. For these and other  reasons we categorically oppose the High Representative’s announced plan to impose election reform with BONN Powers that can mean a step backward for a democratic transformation and transition of BiH towards a civil society and a sovereign state.   We express our full support to the scheduled and future public protests as an expression of opposition to the impending anti-democratic decisions of the High Representative. We invite political entities and civil society organizations to actively engage and participate in organization, and ensuring if the continuity and dignity of the protests. We implore the international community to reject the plan and to engage in genuine dialogue with BiH citizens about a democratic future. Thank you.   Respectfully submitted, The undersigned For Krug 99 – Adil Kulenović, President Azra Zornić, Appellant before the European Court of Human Rights Jakob Finci, Appellant before the European Court of Human Rights Professor Hazim Bašić, Ph.D, University of Sarajevo Bojan Šošić, Psychologist Tanya Domi, Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, former Spokesperson of OSCE in BiH David Pettigrew, Professor at Southern Connecticut State University and a member of the Working Group for BiH in the USA Emir Ramić, Ph.D., Institute for the Research of Genocide, Canada    
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.