04 April 2011

A Permanent Type of Temporary

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a land of dystopian absurdities. It boasts a UN seat though it is under the formal dictatorship of a colonial overseer. It participates in the occupation of Afghanistan though it is itself occupied. It is said to be a democracy though any elected official may at any time be ejected from his office and be barred from ever running in an election again. It boasts one constitutional court which makes decisions by a simple majority though its complement of judges is only two thirds filled, another constitutional court of whose nine judges, three are foreigners and appointed by a foreign institution. It has in Washington and Brussels a protector of its sovereignty and independence that occupy it, threaten its officials, sideline its institutions and write its laws for it.

Last week the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina suspended the ruling of the country's Central Election Commission and in phrasing his decree made sure to point out this was a temporary suspension passed for the purpose of giving the Constitutional Court of the Federation "the opportunity to pronounce itself on these issues" .

The Constitutional Court was to respond to a demand for the appraisal of constitutionality submitted by the president of the Federation installed by the last lawfully constituted House of Peoples, a Croat, Borjana Krišto. Seeing the Court was bent on handling the issue at a closed session and without her presence, to which the complainant is by law entitled, she withdrew her demand. Without her complaint there is nothing for the Court to rule on, thus the rationale given by the High Representative to suspend the ruling of the CEC is made nonsensical.

Regardless, this being Bosnia and Herzegovina the decision remains in place until the foreign rulers decide otherwise, which they have made clear they have no intention of doing. A decree which in anticipation of a ruling by the Constitutional Court which is never going to materialise and for the sake of "legal clarity" temporarily suspends the decision of a body, which actually is competent to make them, is made permanent.

In the twilight zone that is the neo-colonial Bosnia and Herzegovina "temporary" just doesn't have the same temporariness about it.

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