Natisni vsebino

Bosnia and Herzegovina


A first seminar for judges on friendly settlement in civil cases was held on 4 December 2002 in Banja Luka. Ten first instance court judges from the Federation of BaH and ten from RS participated. The Human Rights Ombudsman of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr Frank Orton, has taken the initiative to the seminar and was the seminar leader. He commented: 

- The courts of this country are overloaded with cases. Every measure to help them to come to grips with their situation must be explored. Friendly settlement in civil cases is one possibility. In many countries the court system would totally succumb, if the courts had not been very active and successful in this regard. 

- In addition such settlements foster efficient enforcement of the outcome of court cases and they thereby contribute to making the court system more efficient and respected. Seminars of this kind could further contribute to an approach and an attitude towards the cases and the parties that have proven valuable. 

In line with his legally prescribed duty to promote Good Governance and the Rule of Law, the Ombudsman earlier last fall invited the Entity Ministers of Justice to discuss the value of seminars on friendly settlement in civil cases and to explore the interest among BaH judges to attend such seminars. The Ministers welcomed the initiative and took responsibility for the practical arrangements. 


In 1997 a local company submitted to the Fed Bah Ministry of Urban Planning and Environment a request for receiving approval to exploit gravel in the riverbed of Diva Grabovica. In June 1997 the Ministry, on the basis of various experts’ opinions, rejected this request. Unsatisfied with the decision the company initiated an administrative dispute before the Fed Bah Supreme Court. The Court rejected the company’s complaint on 15 June 2000. The judgement was final.    In spite of the decision of the Fed Bah Ministry, confirmed by the judgement of the Fed Bah Supreme Court, the company continued to exploit gravel in the riverbed in question, having begun its operations there already in 1996. By ignoring the existing procedure and the judgement of the Supreme Court, the firm was violating the regulations on physical planning and the environment. However, responsible authorities did for a long time not undertake any action to bring this continued violation to an end. 

The riverbed of Diva Grabovica was prior to the war under consideration to gain recognition as a national protected area. It is an ecological sensitive area with a flora and fauna, unique in Europe. 

The case was brought before the Ombudsman on 14 April 2002 by an NGO. Having investigated the circumstances, the Ombudsman contacted the relevant authorities within the Municipality of Mostar-North as well as the Fed Bah Civil and Urbanism Inspector, inquiring why the Supreme Court judgement had not been followed. Each authority claimed it not to be within its responsibility, but someone else's, to take action. 

New Laws on Urban Planning and Construction entered into force in October and November 2002. The Ombudsman's continued requests for due authority action finally induced the Fed Bah Civil and Urbanism Inspector to issue a relevant decision on removal of the gravel plant within 60 days of the receipt of the decision. 

The Ombudsman welcomed the Inspector's decision, but stated that he would be satisfied and close his case only when full implementation was at hand and the plant was in fact removed.   


The Ombudsman received a Swedish democracy project group on 1 October, a Swedish Foreign Ministry delegation on 3 October, a Norwegian Helsinki Committee representative on 4 October and OHR Head of Legal Reform Unit on 15 October. He met with the BaH Presidency Chair on 16October and the same day in Banja Luka with the RS National Assembly Speaker, RS National Assembly Complaints Board and the RS Ombudsmen and the following day with the Banja Luka Mufti and with the Travnik Mayor. On 24 October he hosted aworking dinner for the Entity Ministers of Justice. On 6 November he received two OSCE human rights officers. On 7 November he met with the High Representative. On the same day he received the Head of the Archives of BaH. On 8 November he met with the Head of the BaH Agency for Civil Service, on 10 November with UNHCHR Special Rapporteur and on18 November with Ms Nane Annan. On 19 November he chaired a meeting with the Heads of a number of BaH State Institutions. On 26 November he received the CRPC Executive Officer, on 27 November a Norwegian Directorate of Immigration delegation and on 28 November the former Helsinki Committee President. On 29 November he participated in a Council of Europe Link Diversity seminar. On the same day he was received by BaH Presidency Member Tihić. On 1 December he met the CoE Parliamentary Assembly Monitoring Mission. On 3 December he received the Polish Ambassador and also the Minister of Education of Sarajevo Canton. Later the same day he met the US Ambassador. On 9 December he received BaH Institute for Health representatives. On 11 December he met the OSCE HoM and on 13 December the EC HoM and also a US Embassy representative. On 16 December he met the CRA Director and on 20December he received a Municipality of Mostar-North delegation and met the CoE Secr Gen Spec Rep.

International contacts

On 25-28 October the Ombudsman met with various officials in Budapestand Györ, including the BaH Ambassador to Hungary. On 29 and 30 October he was a speaker at a Bundesakademie für Sicherheitspolitik conference on minority issues in Bonn and on 31 October he addressed the Group of Rapporteurs for Democratic Stability of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (GREDS) in Strasbourg. On 13-17 November he participated at the 2nd Round Table with National Human Rights Institutions / the 4th European Meeting of such Institutions in Belfast and Dublin. On 19 and 20 November he hosted the Ombudsman of Croatia(the visit included an official dinner with the Croatian Ambassador, a training session with HRO staff and a meeting with an RS NA Complaints Commission representative and two of the RS Ombudsmen). On 28 November he had a meeting with and hosted a dinner for the Ombudsman of Macedonia and some of his staff and on 5-8 December he participated in a European IOI Chapter conference in Ljubljana, chairing a session on“The Ombudsman and Civil Society”.

Media and other events

On 18 November the Ombudsman was interviewed by "Ljiljan" and on 22 November by FENA. On 26 November he lectured at the Pale Law Faculty as part of his Law Faculty lecturing program. On 3 December he attended the BaH Parliament opening. On 10 and 11 December he hosted his traditional Human Rights Day receptions in Sarajevo and Banja Luka. On 13 December he hosted the 4th Seminar for BaH Law Student Representatives. On 17 December he organised the first meeting after the war of the Deans of the BaH Law Faculties. On 18 December he hosted a formal dinner for a number of Heads of State Institutions. On 19 December he held a press conference on the Rule of Law and the Environment and on 23 December he was interviewed by a Radio Free Europe journalist.

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