When can I appeal to the Constitutional Court?

Pursuant to Article VI(3)(b) of the Constitution of BiH, the Constitutional Court shall also have appellate jurisdiction over issues under this Constitution arising out of a judgment of any court in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The following provisions of the Constitution of BiH are relevant to the appellate jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court: Article II(2) – the status of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Article II(3) - the catalogue of rights, Article II(4) – non-discrimination, Article II(5) – the refugees and displaced persons, Annex I to the Constitution of BiH – the Additional Human Rights Agreements.

The Constitutional Court interprets a concept of “judgement” in a wider context and, thus, the appeal may be lodged not only against the judgments but also against other decisions and rulings of ordinary courts, whereby the issues relating to specific rights and freedoms are resolved by final decisions.

It is outside the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court to appraise the quality of the courts’ conclusions with respect to the assessment of evidence if this assessment does not appear to be manifestly arbitrary. Likewise, the Constitutional Court will not interfere with the manner in which the ordinary courts accepted evidence as evidence material. The Constitutional Court will not interfere in a situation where the ordinary courts give their credence to the evidence of one party to the proceedings based on margin of appreciation. It is solely the role of ordinary courts, even when the statements given by witnesses in open court and under oath are in conflict.

The jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court is limited only to “issues contained in the Constitution”. The Constitutional Court is not called upon to review the establishment of facts or the interpretation and application of ordinary law by the lower instance courts, unless the lower instance courts' decision amounted to a violation of constitutional rights. This was the case if an ordinary court had interpreted and applied a constitutional right incorrectly or disregarded such a right, if the application of the law had been arbitrary or discriminatory, or if there had been a violation of procedural constitutional rights (fair trial, access to court, effective legal remedies etc.).