Sejdić and Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Sejdić and Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina
European stars.svg
Decided 22 December 2009
Full case name Sejdić and Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina
Case number 27996/06 and 34836/06
Nationality of parties Bosnia and Herzegovina
Court composition

Sejdić and Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina (27996/06 and 34836/06) was a case (merged from two) decided by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in 2009, in the first judgment finding a violation of Protocol No. 12. The plaintiffs were two citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dervo Sejdić and Jakob Finci, who are Roma and Jewish, respectively.


The Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina provides that only ethnic Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats can be elected members of Presidency and House of Peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The applicants, being a Roma and a Jew, contested these provisions. Finci was represented by Clive Baldwin, formerly of Minority Rights Group International now with Human Rights Watch, and by Sheri Rosenberg of Cardozo Law School, with advice and assistance from Minority Rights Group International throughout. Mr. Dervo Sejdić was represented by F. Javier Leon Diaz, a Spanish human rights lawyer.


Applications were submitted in 2006 and communicated to the government in 2008. In 2009, the jurisdiction was relinquished to the Grand Chamber. In June, 2009, a public hearing was held and in December, 2009, the judgment was published.


The Court has found that applicants' ineligibility to stand for election to the House of Peoples violates Article 14 of ECHR (ban of discrimination in the field of Convention rights) taken in conjunction with Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 (free elections), by 14 votes to 3, and that their ineligibility to stand for election to the Presidency violates Article 1 of Protocol No. 12 (general ban of discrimination), by 16 votes to 1.

Judge Mijović (Bosnia and Herzegovina), joined by Judge Hajiyev (Azerbaijan), has expressed a partly concurring and partly dissenting opinion, finding no violation in applicants' ineligibility to the House of Peoples.

Judge Bonello (Malta) expressed a dissent concerning both access to presidency and to the House of Peoples.


In October 2011, the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina set in motion a constitutional reform, including changing the election provisions.[1]


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