E.U.'s Human Rights Court: Bosnia Discriminated Against Jews, Roma

By JTA

Published December 22, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the exclusion of Jews and Roma from Bosnia’s highest state offices is unlawful discrimination.

Tuesday’s ruling is “a major step forward in Europe’s struggle against discrimination and ethnic conflict,” said Sheri Rosenberg, co-counsel for Jakob Finci and a professor and director of the Human Rights Clinic at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. “This decision affirms that ethnic domination should have no role in a democracy.”

By a vote of 14-3, the court found that the exclusion of Jews and Roma could not be justified. It stated that the “authorities must use all available means to combat racism, thereby reinforcing democracy’s vision of a society in which diversity is not perceived as a threat but as a source of enrichment.”

The ruling in the case of Sejdic & Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina concerned the exclusion from the Bosnian presidency and the upper house of parliament of a Bosnian Jew and a Bosnian Roma. The Bosnian Constitution, drafted by negotiators during peace talks in Dayton, Ohio, in 1995, restricts the highest offices of state to members of Bosnia’s three main ethnic and religious groups – the Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims.

Finci, the successful applicant, was born in a transit camp during World War II after his parents, Bosnian Jews, had been deported from the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. Returning to Bosnia after the war, he has had a distinguished career in public life and is now the Bosnian ambassador to Switzerland. But his ethnicity and religion prevented him from the possibility of seeking election to the highest offices of state.

Bosnia’s next presidential and parliamentary elections are due next October. Constitutional reform has been under discussion in Bosnia since 2005 but has not produced any change.






Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.