07 May 08
Bosnia Amends Election Law for Srebrenica
Sarajevo _ Both Houses of Bosnia’s State Parliament have adopted changes to the election law for the eastern town of Srebrenica.
This change is valid only for the October 2008 local elections and only for Srebrenica, where some 8,000 Bosniaks were executed after the eastern Bosnian enclave fell to Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995. The town is now a part of the smaller Bosnian entity of Republika Srpska.
After a new centralised personal register and new identification documents were introduced in the country over the past four years, the local election law was set to allow only currently registered residents to vote for local administrations.
The amendments adopted on Wednesday will allow Bosniaks who were registered in Srebrenica even before the war and who currently do not reside there, to also vote for the city government there.
Since only a small number of Bosniaks have returned to their pre-war homes in Srebrenica, without this change Bosnian Serbs, who now make up the majority in the town, would significantly outvote Bosniaks in the next local government.
Although the Bosnian Serb leadership initially resolutely rejected such a possibility, they eventually gave in after last weekend’s negotiations between Republika Srpska Premier Milorad Dodik, and the top international envoy in Bosnia, Miroslav Lajcak.
The international community welcomed Wednesday’s decision.
“Delegates voting for the changes to the (Bosnia and Herzegovina) BiH Election Law of both houses of BiH Parliament have demonstrated political maturity and wisdom today. They have taken into account the tragic history of Srebrenica and these amendments to the BiH Election Law have created a frame for fair and correct elections in Srebrenica, within the legal system of BiH,” said Lajcak in a written statement issued to media.