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news 22 Feb 13

Bosnia Forced to Halt Issue of Personal Numbers

After a court ruled the law on personal numbers unconstitutional, Bosnia can no longer issue personal numbers to newborns and other people who lack them for some reason.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

A Bosnian Civil Affairs Ministry official, Milan Zjajic, said on Thursday that it was no longer possible to supply personal numbers for “those who do not have it” after the Constitutional Court ruled the responsible law unconstitutional.

According to Zjajic, the problem will mostly affect newborns and those who do not have personal numbers from some reason, as they will now also have problems in getting hold of personal documents.

He recalled that the Constitutional Court deemed unconstitutional Article 5 of the Law on Personal Identification Number in May 2011, and had obliged parliament to harmonize it with the law on local government in the Republika Srpska, the Serb-led entity in Bosnia.

The problem was down to discrepancies over the names of several municipalities whose names have been changed since the 1992-5 war. Examples are the town of Brod, which was previously called Bosanski Brod, and Samac, which was formerly called Bosanski Samac.

The Mostar-based daily Dnevni list wrote this week that since no changes had been made to the law, it ceased to be in force on February 12, since when no one can obtain a new identification number.

“The [Civil Affairs] Ministry will most likely propose changes to the law at the next session of Council of Ministers... and seek an urgent procedure in parliament,” Zjajic said.

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