On 9 and 10 November, the Director of Human Rights and the Execution Department carried out a mission to Sarajevo during which meetings were held with national authorities and representatives of the international community on the long-pending execution of the Sejdić and Finci group of five ECHR judgments concerning ethnic-based discrimination in one’s right to free elections.
The Director recalled that the Committee of Ministers examined these cases in all of its 2021 Human Rights meetings. In its decisions of September 2021 the Committee noted with utmost concern that, as a result of the absence of measures taken, almost 12 years after the Sejdić and Finci judgment, there is a clear and growing risk that the fourth general elections since this judgment (foreseen for October 2022) will be held in a constitutional and legislative context which will not be in compliance with the European Convention’s requirements and the respondent State’s obligations under Article 46 ECHR. The respondent State’s authorities were urged to bring forward the process for the execution of the Court’s judgments so that the 2022 general elections are carried out in Convention-compliant conditions.
The Director of Human Rights noted with interest that the Inter-Agency Working Group preparing electoral reforms was planned to be reconvened on 10 November, the first time since late July. He underlined that these judgments remain a high-level priority for the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The availability of the Council of Europe, notably the Venice Commission, to provide all necessary assistance to the authorities in order to ensure the timely adoption of these reforms was reiterated.
The Committee of Ministers will re-examine these cases at its Human Rights meeting on 30 November-2 December 2021.