• International Community High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt today imposed amendments to BiH's electoral law.
  • Visoki predstavnik međunarodne zajednice u Bosni i Hercegovini Christian Schmidt je danas nametnuo izmjene Izbornog zakona BiH.

Christian Schmidt imposes amendments to electoral law

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Christian Schmidt imposes amendments to electoral law

Wed, 07/27/2022 - 20:42
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International Community High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt today imposed amendments to BiH's electoral law.

We publish a complete OHR statement detailing which parts of the electoral process the changes relate to:

"Using the powers given to the High Representative by Article V of Annex 10 (Agreement on the Civil Implementation of the Peace Treaty) of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter:General Framework Agreement), under which the High Representative is the final authority to interpret that Agreement on the Civil Implementation of the Peace Treaty, and Article II 1, (d) the above agreement, which requires the High Representative to facilitate the resolution of any difficulties arise in relation to the civilian implementation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina;

Citing paragraph XI.2 of the Conclusions of the Peace Implementation Conference held in Bonn on 9 October 2009, the And 10. Of 15 December 1997, the In 2013, in which the Peace Implementation Council welcomed the High Representative's intention to use its final authority in the country in relation to the interpretation of the Agreement implementing the civilian part of the Peace contracts, in order to help find solutions to problems in accordance with the above, 'by making binding decisions, when deemed necessary', on certain issues, including (according to point (c) of paragraph XI.2) 'measures to ensure the implementation of the Peace Agreement throughout the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its entities';

 

Also referring to paragraph 4 of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1174 (1998) of 15 October 1974, June 1998 -1998 In 2013, under which the Security Council, in accordance with Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter "... reiterates that the High Representative is the final authority to interpret Annex 10 on the civilian implementation of the Peace Treaty and that in the event of a dispute it can make its interpretations and recommendations, and make binding decisions, however it deems necessary, on issues explained by the Bonn Peace Implementation Council on 9 October 2009. And 10. Of 15 December 1997, the year';

Noting that Bosnia and Herzegovina's Constitution establishes that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a democratic state that functions in accordance with the law and on the basis of free and democratic elections;

Given the prominent place that the elections have under the General Framework Agreement for Peace and the need to guarantee that the elections to be held on 2 October 2019 are not a good idea. Of October 2022, the be free, fair and democratic in 2013;

Reaffirming that bosnia and herzegovina's citizens must be allowed to exercise their democratic rights in free, fair and democratic elections and that the conditions for such elections exist despite the inability of their political leaders to compromise on electoral reform;

Driven by the need to strengthen the integrity of elections and improve the management of the electoral process in a transparent way by providing opportunities for biH's Central Election Commission to effectively sanction violations of election campaign codes, and all in order to bring the electoral law into line with international standards and good practice for democratic elections according to the recommendations of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights on the OSCE Mission (ODIHR) and according to what is highlighted in the European Commission Opinion on BiH's request for EU membership;

Welcoming efforts by the European Union and the United States to enable an agreement on electoral reform to be agreed to address issues related to the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and the Constitutional Court, as well as the shortcomings regarding the integrity of the electoral process observed by international institutions, including the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights at the OSCE Mission or the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe;

Welcome efforts by the European Union and the United States to enable an agreement on electoral reform to be agreed to address issues related to the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and the Constitutional Court, as well as the shortcomings regarding the integrity of the electoral process observed by international institutions, including the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights at the OSCE Mission or the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe;

Vigorously urging all political parties to refrain from negative, irresponsible and rhetoric of divisions, urging authorities to ensure the integrity of the electoral process and urging citizens to cast their vote;

Recalling that the tone of past campaigns has been largely negative and polarizing, with a focus on nationalism, personal attacks, invoking Bosnia and Herzegovina's war time past and provoking fear, which has overshadowed socio-economic issues, such as the issues of corruption, unemployment, migration and education;

Convinced that the amendments below the decision do not change Bosnia and Herzegovina's electoral system or achieve any impact on the activities undertaken by the BiH Central Election Commission;

Noting that the reforms necessary to advance on the road to Integration into the European Union also include electoral reform and will therefore need to be approached shortly after the elections are held;

Taking into account, taking into account and noting all of the above, the High Representative shall hereby take the following decision:

  • it which follows and forms an integral part of this Decision shall enter into force as provided for in Article 10(1) of on a temporary basis, as long as Pa1. The Zakrlamentar Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina does not adopt in the same form, without amendments and without additional conditions.
  • 2. This Decision shall enter into force immediately and shall be published immediately on the official website of the Office of the High Representative and in the "Official Gazette of Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

Article 1. 

The Electoral Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Article 1.1a, behind point 15) adds new points 16) to 21), which read:

  • “16) "Electronic Media", within the meaning of this Law, are public and private television and radio stations with the appropriate permission of the Communications Regulatory Agency (RAK).
  • 17) "Online media", within the meaning of this law, are internet portals and other online platforms representing means of communication with a view to informing the public interest.
  • 18) "Print media", within the meaning of this law, are printed publications, such as newspapers, tabloids, magazines, books, pamphlets, which represent means of mass communication with the aim of informing the public interest.
  • 19) "Social networks" are online or mobile platforms that allow two-way interaction through users-generated content and communication, i.e. media available on certain platforms designed to enable users to create content and interact with information and their sources.
  • 20) 'Hate speech' is any form of public expression or speech that causes or incites hatred, discrimination or violence against any person or group of persons, on the basis of race, skin color, nationality, gender or religion, ethnic origin or any other personal characteristic or orientation that incites discrimination, hostility and violence.
  • 21) "Misuse of public funds and resources", within the meaning of this law, is any illegal use of the funds and resources of the State of BiH, entities, cantons, brcko district of BiH and other local government and self-government units, candidates in elections and electoral lists, as public or state officials, or directly elected persons, for the purpose of carrying out their official duties. Resources imply, within the meaning of this definition, movable and immovable property, as well as all human resources of public institutions used within working hours."

Article 2.

In Article 2.15 of the Law, a new sentence is added at the end of the second paragraph, which reads:

"If no appointment of a new or alternate member of the municipal election commission is made within the legal time limit, the BiH Central Election Commission may make their appointment."

Article 3 .

In Article 2.19 of the Law, a new position (13) is added behind paragraph (12), which reads:

'(13) It is prohibited to abuse the legal right to participate in the work of the electorate by fictitiously presenting as provided for in Article 7.3, paragraph (2) of this Law.'

Attitudes so far (13) to (17) become views (14) to (18).

Article 4.

Article 6.7 of the Law is amended as saying:

"(1) When deciding of its own motion or when deciding on objections and appeals, the BiH Central Election Commission shall have the power to order the electoral commission, the Electoral List Centre, the counting centres or the electoral board to take measures to remedy the identified irregularities.

(2) The BiH Central Election Commission shall have the power to impose the following sanctions:

a fine not exceeding 30,000 convertible marks;
removing the candidate's name from the candidate list if the candidate is found to be personally responsible for the injury;revocation of the certification of a political party, coalition, list of independent candidates or independent candidates; and a prohibition on hiring a particular person to work at the polling station, at the Electoral Roll Centre, in the municipal election commission, in counting centres or another electoral commission established in accordance with Article 2.21 of this Law."

Article 5.

Behind Article 7.2 of the Law, a new Article 7.2a is added, which reads:

"Article 7.2a

(1) Holders of the executive function laid down in Article 1.8, paragraph (6) of this Law and holders of mandates shall be prohibited from misuse of public funds.

(2) The misuse of public funds under paragraph (1) of this Article shall consist of the following actions:

the involvement of civil servants subordinate to the candidate in the performance of working hours with a goal of promoting candidates or political entities;
the use of premises of public institutions and bodies to carry out pre-election activities if the use of the same premises is not guaranteed by other candidates and political entities under the same conditions;

the use of means of communication, information services, office equipment of public institutions and election campaign authorities;

use of transport funds owned by state, entity, city, cantonal or municipal authorities and organisations without compensation or at reduced fees for campaign activities. This provision shall not apply to the transport of persons who are specifically protected in accordance with the law carried out as part of the security measures applicable in relation to senior officials subject to official protection provided by the competent authorities when carrying out their official duties or acting of their own motion;

signature collection or election campaign carried out by persons performing selected functions or are civil servants, during official activities or events organised by a public institution or body.

(3) Compliance with the restrictions set out in paragraph (2) of this Article shall not prevent public and elected officials or civil servants from carrying out their official duties.'

Article 6.

In Article 7.3 of the Law, paragraph 1, point 7) is amended as saying:

"7) use hate speech, and/or publish or use images, symbols, audio and videos, text messages, internet communications, social networks and mobile applications or other materials that may act like this."

Drugi stav člana 7.3 Zakona mijenja se i glasi:

"(2) False representation on behalf of any political party, coalition, list of independent candidates or independent candidates, as well as abuse of legal right to participate in the work of the electorate in front of a political entity contrary to the provisions of Article 2.19 this law by fictitious reintroduction on behalf of a political entity to which the seat on the polling board belonged with the aim of conducive to another political entity whose seat on the polling board did not belong. This prohibition shall also apply to members of the electorate'.

Article 7.

Article 19.8 The law changes and reads:

"(1) A fine of KM 600,00 to 3,000,00 KM will be punished for the injury of employees or engaged in electoral administration, if:

  • participate in a decision that may call into question its ability to act impartially (Article 2.1);
    does not designate polling stations in the municipality for voting at all levels of government in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Article 2.13 point 2);
  • ne osigura izborni materijal za glasanje na svim nivoima izbora u Bosni i Hercegovini (član 2.13 tačka 4.);
  • does not inform voters of all information necessary for the conduct of elections, in accordance with the regulations of the BiH Central Election Commission (Article 2.13 point 5);
    incorrectly counts ballots at polling stations and in municipal counting centres (Article 2.13 point 7);
    appoint the President and the members of the select committees and their deputies contrary to Article 2.19 paragraph (3);
    violates the prohibition under Article 2.19 paragraph (13);
  • does not update the data in accordance with the change in the number of voters and regulations of the BiH Central Election Commission [Article 3.8 paragraph (3) point b)];
    does not provide an insight into the central electoral list in the territory of its municipality [Article 3.8 paragraph (3) point c)];
    does not provide data for the Central Electoral List as set out in the rules of the BiH Central Election Commission [Article 3.8 paragraph (3) point d)];
    does not keep records of applications and objections and does not keep the accompanying documentation [Article 3.8 paragraph (4)];
  • determine polling stations contrary to Article 5.1 paragraph (3);
    does not provide electoral voting material [Article 5.3 paragraph (3)];
    unjustifiably not present throughout the voting and vote counting process (Article 5.5);
    does not determine the duties of the members of the electorate [Article 5.6 paragraph (2)];
  • the record of the work of the electorate does not contain the information required by this Law (Article 5.7);
    does not explain to the voter the way the vote is cast and does not ensure the secrecy of the vote [Article 5.11 paragraph (1)];
  • does not determine the identity of voters and the signature of voters on the central voter list statement in accordance with this Law (Article 5.13);
    issue a ballot or ballot contrary to the rules governing the issuance of ballots (Article 5.13);
  • assists the person in voting in a manner that does not comply with this Law [Article 5.19 paragraph (2)];
    forms are filled in contrary to Article 5.25; Or
    the data of the aggregated voting results for the municipality are not in accordance with Article 5.27.
    (2) For the infringement set out in paragraph (1), points 1, 7 and 1, And on 13 October 2013, Until 21 October 2013, the members of the electorate will be punished with a fine of KM 600.00 to KM 3,000.00.
  • (3) For the infringement set out in paragraph (1) of point 1, 7, And on 14 October 2013, Until 21 October 2013, the this Article will be punished by a political entity on behalf of which a member of the electorate is appointed, with a fine of KM 3,000.00 to KM 10,000.00."

Article 8.

Article 19.9 The law changes and reads:

"(1) A fine of KM 3,000,00 to KM 30,000,00 will be punished for infringing a political entity if:

does not provide modifications to the data within ten days (Article 4.22);

remove, cover, damage or amend a printed ad, poster, poster or other material used, in accordance with the law, for the purpose of the election campaign of political parties, coalitions, lists of independent candidates or independent candidates [Article 7.2 paragraph (2)];

place an ad, poster or poster, i.e. write its name or slogan related to an election campaign, in or on a building where the authority is located at any level, public company, public institution or local community, or on a religious facility, on a public road or public area, except in a place intended for plaque and advertising;

misuse of a public resource for its own use and promotion of the political entity to which it belongs [Article 7.2a, paragraph (2)];

carry and show weapons at a political rally, polling station or its surroundings, i.e. during a gathering in relation to the activities of a political party, coalition, list of independent candidates or independent candidate in the electoral process [Article 7.3 paragraph (1) point 1];
hinder the gathering of another political party, coalition or independent candidate, as well as encourage another to such activities [Article 7.3 paragraph (1) point 2];

prevent a journalist from doing his job in accordance with the rules of the profession and electoral rules [Article 7.3 paragraph (1) of point 3];

promises a cash prize or other material benefit with a view to obtaining voter support or threatens supporters of another political party, coalition, list of independent candidates or independent candidates [Article 7.3 paragraph (1) point 4];

encourages a person who is not entitled to vote [Article 7.3 paragraph (1) of point 5];
encourages the person to vote multiple times in the same elections or to vote on behalf of another person [Article 7.3 paragraph (1) point 6];

you provide a language that could specify or incite someone to violence or spread hatred, or publish or use a picture, symbol, audio or video, text message, internet message or other material that may act like this [Article 7.3 paragraph (1) point 7];

present itself falsely on behalf of any political party, coalition, list of independent candidates or independent candidates, or fictitiously present a political entity assigned a seat on the polling board in order to benefit another political entity whose seat on the polling board has not been assigned [Article 7.3 paragraph (2)];

hold an election campaign rally [Article 7.4 paragraph (1) of point 1];

exhibit at or around the polling station any material with a view to affecting voters [Article 7.4 paragraph (1) point 2];

uses domestic and international means of communication with a view to affecting voters [Article 7.4 paragraph (1) of point 3];

uses a megaphone or other proclamation devices with a view to affecting voters [Article 7.4 paragraph (1) of point 4];

perform any activity that hinders or obstructs the electoral process [Article 7.4 paragraph (1) of point 5];

does not submit a declaration of total property status on the required form in (Article 15.7 and Article 15.8) within 30 days of publication of the mandate certificate in the Official Gazette of BiH);

exceed the maximum amount of funds to finance the election campaign as set out in Article 15.10;
run an election campaign between the date of the election call until the date of the official start of the election campaign [Article 16.14 paragraph (3)];

the observer, during the observation of the electoral process, hinder electoral activity and does not respect the secrecy of the vote [Article 17.2 paragraph (1)];

the observer shall not carry official accreditation during the observation of electoral activities and shall bear any characteristics or markings linking it to a particular political party, coalition, list of independent candidates or independent candidate [Article 17.2 paragraph (3)].
(2) For the infringement set out in paragraph (1) of point 2, the Until 17 October 2013, the this article committed by a supporter of a political entity will punish that political subject.

(3) For the infringement set out in paragraph (1) of point 1, the this article will also punish the responsible person of a political party, coalition or list of independent candidates with a fine of KM 600.00 to 15,000.00 KM.

(4) For the infringement set out in paragraph (1) of point 2, the Until 18 October 2013, the this article will also be punished by a political entity candidate with a fine of KM 3,000.00 to KM 15,000.00.

(5) For the infringement set out in paragraph (1) of point 5, 9, and 10. this Article will also be punished by employees or engaged in electoral administration with a fine of KM 600.00 to KM 3,000.00.

(6) For the injury provided for in this Article, the Central Election Commission of BiH, in addition to fines, may impose other sanctions provided for in Article 6.7 of the BiH Electoral Law.'

Article 9.

In order to avoid suspicion, misdemeanor proceedings shall begin before the entry into force of this Law, shall end in accordance with the provisions of the law in force at the time of the offence, unless this Law is lenient for the perpetrator.

Article 10.

This Law shall enter into force on the eighth day from the date of publication on the official website of the Office of the High Representative, or on the first day since its publication in the "Official Gazette of Bosnia and Herzegovina", whichever of those days occurs earlier.