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Kovačević v. Bosnia and Herzegovina, No. 43651/22, ECtHR (Fourth Section), 29 August 2023

Type Judgment
Case number 43651/22


Inability to freely exercise active electoral rights due to a combination of territorial and ethnic requirements. 

Normative references

Art. 1, Prot. 12 ECHR


1. The fact that the Constitution and the Electoral Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina impose a dual requirement of residence and ethnicity to be able to fully exercise the right to active and passive voting can no longer be justified considering the conflict that affected the country in the 1990s and the institutional solutions that were reached in the peace talks.

2. The combination of territorial and ethnic requirements amounted to discriminatory treatment in violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 12 to the ECHR in the context of both the right to participate in elections to the House of Peoples and the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
(The applicant, a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina residing in Sarajevo, located in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina - a federal entity with a Bosniaks and Croats majority - by not declaring his affiliation to any of the country's 'constituent peoples' (Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs) or any other ethnic group, was unable to vote for the candidates of his choice in the last state-level legislative and presidential elections held in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2022).