Constitutional Position

The Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Annex 4 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina), which entered into force on 14 December 1995, now provides the legal framework for the organization and functioning of the Constitutional Court. This gives it a completely new political and legal foundation as compared with that of the previous period.

In the first place the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina elaborates in its Preamble certain basic normative principles, such as the respect for human dignity, liberty and equality; the respect for peace, justice, tolerance, and reconciliation and the respect for democratic governmental institutions and fair procedures, all of which being together representative of the best means for creating peaceful relations within a pluralistic society. Additionally, Article II of the Constitution not only contains a comprehensive catalogue of human rights and fundamental freedoms, but also declares the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its Protocols to be directly applicable in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Moreover, it is provided that the European Convention shall also have priority over all other laws.

The position of the Constitutional Court is provided for in Article VI of the Constitution which defines not only its jurisdiction, but also provides for its organizational structure and its procedure as well as for the final and binding character of its decisions. Defining the normative requirements for progress towards a democratic political system and modifying the internal structure of the state, the Constitution updated in this way the constitutional position of the Constitutional Court and made it compatible with the standards of a constitutional judiciary – both as an independent 'guardian of the constitution' and as an institutional safeguard for the protection of human rights and freedoms as laid down not only in the provisions of Article II of the Constitution, but also in the instruments contained in Annex I thereto.

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