Expert Group for ‘Sarajevo Times’: We Want a Functional FBiH That Serves Citizens

By: Nevena Šarenac

The expert group whose task is to prepare recommendations for constitutional changes in the FBiH conducted a series of consultations in the last period with representatives of local governmental institutions, international communities in BiH and the non-profit sector. The goal of the preparation of recommendations is to lead to a more functional, rational and efficient FBiH.

The task for the legal experts is to analyze the existing constitutional solutions, detect current shortcomings and to draw up recommendations for constitutional reform of the FBiH.

University professor Kasim Trnka and member of the expert group, in a statement for ‘Sarajevo Times’ noted that there are currently talks with experts and professional organizations, and that they are preparing an analytical overview on the current functioning of the FBiH.

“We have planned for the final phase the defining of recommendations, or what should be changed in the FBiH Constitution. We try to substantiate every expert suggestion with findings. In the meantime, we have analyzed the suggestions that were provided to us by different groups, but we found that they were going down the wrong direction. Specifically, they offer maps that redraw the FBiH, and we think that is the wrong path because it deflects attention from all other possible solutions that we have to consider’’, explained Professor Trnka.

He announced a conference in May that would consider all proposals and initiatives of the Expert Group, after which they will define final proposals that would be released into parliamentary procedures.

“When the recommendations enter into the parliamentary procedure, it is necessary to achieve a high degree of agreement in both houses of the FBiH Parliament. Only then will politicians come to a realization, and a big question is how they will relate to the recommendations of the Expert Group’’, said Trnka.

Professor Trnka excludes the possibility that the Expert Group would not come to a joint resolution, and says that it remains an open question on whether it will be followed by a complete or partial change in changes to the FBiH Constitution.

“The most ideal solution would be to fix everything up until the next elections, when they would be organized on the basis of a revised FBiH Constitution. At the very least, this implies that constitutional changes should be completed by the new year, so that the legislation could adopt to the new constitutional arrangements’’, concluded Professor Trnka.

The former member of the BiH Central Election Commission and city activist Vehid Šehić clarified that the Expert Group conducted an analysis of the current FBiH Constitution, and noted certain inconsistencies, deficiencies and omissions of certain constitutional norms that could lead to a political crisis.

“Based on that, we will write up recommendations in the next period. Apart from the constituency, we want a state of equal citizens, with equal rights duties for all people. Certain categories of the current FBiH Constitution places some people in a discriminatory position, and we want to prevent any form of discrimination through the Constitution’’, said Šehić in a statement for ‘Sarajevo Times’.

According to him, members of the Expert Group strive to create recommendations for a functioning FBiH that would serve the interests of citizens.

“Therefore, it is essential to strengthen the position of local governments, because municipalities and cities are places where we achieve most human and civil rights’’, added Šehić .

He pointed out that the Expert Group “absolutely does not draw any borders in the FBiH”.

“The question is whether our recommendations in the future will lead to a different territorial-political organization of the FBiH. Politicians unanimously confirm that they want BiH in the EU. We will have to accept EU standards when it comes to the regionalization of states, because Europe wants to be a Europe of regions, and not a Europe as a country’’, concluded Šehić.

The American Ambassador to BiH Patrick S. Moon was involved in the formation of the Expert Group in January. This group of legal experts enjoys the support of the US Embassy to BiH and USAID.

Apart from Kasim Trnka and Vehid Šehić, the Expert Group consists of prof. dr. Mirjana Nadaždin-Defterdarević, the first President of the FBiH Krešimir Zubak, who is now practicing as a lawyer, and university Professor Mile Lasić.

Members of the Expert Group assessed the working environment to be positive. Even though there are divergent views, different opinions and arguments are respected. The task for everyone is the same-prepare recommendations that would bring to a more functional, rational and efficient FBiH.

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