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 nameSejdić and Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina
Case number27996/06 and 34836/06
Nationality of partiesBosnia and Herzegovina
Court composition
Jean-Paul Costa
Advocate General
Vincent Berger

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 December 2009, in the first judgment finding a violation of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights taken in conjunction with Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 thereof, with regard to the arrangements of the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina in respect of the House of Peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 12 with regard to the constitutional arrangements on the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The plaintiffs were two citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dervo Sejdić and Jakob Finci, who are of Roma and Jewish ethnicity, respectively.


The 1995 Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, created as part of the Dayton Agreement which ended the 1992–95 Bosnian War, included power-sharing provisions which provided that posts in the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the House of Peoples (upper house of the national parliament) were reserved for ethnic Bosniaks, Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats only.

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. Dervo Sejdić was represented by F. Javier Leon Diaz, a Barrister and established 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 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.[1]

Judge Mijović (Bosnia and Herzegovina), joined by Judge Hajiyev (Azerbaijan), expressed a partly concurring and partly dissenting opinion, finding no violation in applicants' ineligibility to the House of Peoples.[1]

Judge Bonello (Malta) expressed a dissent concerning both access to the presidency and to the House of Peoples.[1]


In October 2011, the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina set in motion a constitutional reform, including changing the election provisions.[2]

In November 2014, the UK and German foreign ministers, Philip Hammond and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, sent an "open letter" to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which pledged substantive progress towards Bosnia's EU membership if Bosnia's politicians gave a written commitment to implement a package of reforms, including compliance with the Sejdic and Finci ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.[3] However, as of 2019, 10 years after the ECHR judgment, no reforms have been implemented.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Sweeney 2013, p. 232.
  2. ^ Bosnia: A Move to End Discrimination Human Rights Watch 2 November 2011
  3. ^ UK, Germany Launch Joint Initiative on Bosnia
  4. ^ "Sejdić and Finci - After 10 years of absence of progress, new hopes for a solution for the 2022 elections". Council of Europe. 22 December 2019. Retrieved 14 September 2020.


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