Bosnian Court says United Srpska can take part in election, watchdog was wrong

NEWS 15.10.2020 18:38
Source: N1

Bosnian Court has overruled the election watchdog's decision banning the Serb nationalist United Srpska (Ujedinjena Srpska) party's participation in the local election after the party published an offensive campaign video, the watchdog said Thursday.

“The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has annulled the decision of the Central Election Commission (CIK BiH) from October 7, 2020. in the case of ‘United Srpska’,” the CIK BiH said.

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During a CIK BiH session last week, the watchdog unanimously adopted the ban of the United Srpska, based in Bosnia's Serb majority part called Republika Srpska, from participating in the elections, and its leader Nenad Stevandic was fined €5,000 for publishing a video on social networks and the party YouTube channel which was deemed offensive by non-Serbes.

The CIK's written explanation of the Central Election stated that the party violated several articles of the Election Law, the Dayton Peace Agreement, promoted hate speech, and had a continuity of provocations and public harassment.

However, the Court stated that the CIK could not determine the existence of the violation of the Election Law outside the election campaign period, which lasts from October 16 to November 14.

The disputed video was published on September 20 this year.

The Court, therefore, noted that the CIK incorrectly established the facts related to the prohibited speech from the Election Law, which is contained in the disputed video.

“If the CIK considered that the content of the disputed video violated the Election Law, it had the opportunity to sanction that violation under other provisions of the Law regulating illegal behaviour in the campaign period, which lasts until the time of the election, which would eventually lead to other sanctions,” the Court said.