Court in Bijeljina rules in favour of Bosnian language in school


The Basic Court in Bijeljina passed a verdict in favor of the parents of students of the Elementary School "Mesa Selimovic" from Janja over violation of the right to equal treatment and discrimination. The basic court ruled that the entity of Republika Srpska (Government of RS - Ministry of Education and Culture) and the elementary school prevented, limited and excluded equal treatment in terms of naming and writing the Bosnian language as a mother tongue in the school's pedagogical and other documentation (certificates, student records and other documentation) in relation to students of Bosniak ethnicity/children of the plaintiff, as well as in relation to all other students of Bosniak ethnicity, and violated the right of parents and students of Bosniak ethnicity to equal treatment.

“The Republika Srpska has failed to take the necessary steps and measures to ensure equal treatment of all children in schools in the territory of the RS in terms of naming the mother tongue, not only in the “Mesa Selimovic” elementary school in Janja, which is especially important,” Haris Kaniza, a lawyer who represented the parents from Janja, told

The defendants are ordered to jointly and urgently carry out actions and necessary measures that will eliminate discrimination and its consequences and ensure the rights of the plaintiffs as parents, their children as students and all other students at the Elementary School “Mesa Selimovic” in Janja for equal treatment concerning the designation of the mother tongue as Bosnian, which will ensure the designation and entry of the Bosnian language as the mother tongue in the pedagogical and other documentation of the second defendant school (certificates, student records and other documentation).

They were also ordered to stop naming and entering the mother tongue in pedagogical and other documentation as “Language of the Bosniak people”, and all within 30 days from the date of receipt of the verdict.

The parents from Konjevic polje are also waiting for the implementation of the verdict handed down by the Basic Court in Srebrenica, which ordered the learning of the Bosnian language and teaching in the Bosnian language in the educational process of the RS.

In 2013, parents of Bosniak returnee students protested in front of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) demanding the right for their children to learn and write in their mother tongue. The struggle of parents from Konjevic Polje against “the discriminatory system of education in Republika Srpska,” as they called it, has been going on for a whole decade, despite the rulings in their favour, and “Petar Kocic” Elementary School has never implemented their demands, one of which is the study of the Bosnian language.

Classes in Nova Kasaba, for children who do not attend “Petar Kocic” Primary School, are financed by the Sarajevo Canton.