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News 01 Mar 12

Bosnians to Have ID Cards In Cyrillic Also

Citizens of Bosnia will have identity cards written in Cyrillic as well as Latin script, the state parliament decided on Wednesday.

Elvira Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Starting from next year, citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina will have new identity card written in both Latin – as all are currently – and Cyrillic as the changed law ruled on Wednesday.

The new ID cards, which will also include biometric data, if a citizen wants it may also specify his or her entity in Bosnia.

Bosnia comprises two entities, the mostly Bosniak-Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the predominantly Serbian entity, the Republika Srpska.

The lower house of the state parliament, the House of the Peoples, confirmed the changes on February 29 unanimously. Parliament's other house accepted them at the beginning of the month.

The process of changing the identity card law started back in the summer of 2010 and for months was an issue of dispute as lawmakers from the Federation and Republika Srpska argued over whether to use Cyrillic letters or not.

MPs from the Federation said it was unnecessary. The opposite argument came from the Serb entity.

The amendments on using Cyrillic letters and specifying the holder's entity were suggested by MPs from Republika Srpska but only received wider support after a year-and-a-half.

Bosnia and Herzegovina officially uses both Latin and Cyrillic scripts, with Cyrillic used by Serbs in Republika Srpska. Serbs in the Federation entity use it less.

One of advantages of the new identity card, lawmakers said in Wednesday's discussion, is that all data will be saved in electronic fashion, including signatures, so that citizens can submit identity document applications or changes on line in future.

The Civil Affairs Ministry plans to start using the new identity cards system from January 1, 2013.

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