Text of the General
in Paris, France.
Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Based on respect for human dignity, liberty, and equality,
Dedicated to peace, justice, tolerance, and reconciliation,
Convinced that democratic governmental institutions and fair procedures best produce
relations within a pluralist society,
Desiring to promote the general welfare and economic growth through the protection of
private property and the
promotion of a market economy,
Guided by the Purposes and Principles of the Charter of the United Nations,
Committed to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of Bosnia
and Herzegovina in
accordance with international law,
Determined to ensure full respect for international humanitarian law,
Inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Civil
and Political Rights
and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Declaration on the
Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, as well as
other human rights
Recalling the Basic Principles agreed in Geneva on September 8, 1995, and in New York on
September 26, 1995,
Bosniacs, Croats, and Serbs, as constituent peoples (along with Others), and citizens of Bosnia and
determine that the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina is as follows:
Article I: Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Continuation. The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the official name of which
henceforth be "Bosnia and Herzegovina," shall continue its legal existence under international
law as a state, with its internal structure modified as provided herein and with its present
internationally recognized borders. It shall remain a Member State of the United Nations and
may as Bosnia and Herzegovina maintain or apply for membership in organizations within the
United Nations system and other international organizations.
- Democratic Principles. Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be a democratic state, which
operate under the rule of law and with free and democratic elections.
- Composition. Bosnia and Herzegovina shall consist of the two Entities, the
Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska (hereinafter "the Entities").
- Movement of Goods. Services. Capital. and Persons. There shall be freedom of
throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Entities shall not impede
full freedom of movement of persons, goods, services, and capital throughout Bosnia and
Herzegovina. Neither Entity shall establish controls at the boundary between the Entities.
- Capital. The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be Sarajevo.
- Symbols. Bosnia and Herzegovina shall have such symbols as are decided by its
Assembly and approved by the Presidency.
- Citizenship. There shall be a citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to be
regulated by the
Parliamentary Assembly, and a citizenship of each Entity, to be regulated by each Entity,
- All citizens of either Entity are thereby citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- No person shall be deprived of Bosnia and Herzegovina or Entity citizenship arbitrarily or so
as to leave him or her stateless. No person shall be deprived of Bosnia and Herzegovina or
Entity citizenship on any ground such as sex, race, color, language, religion, political or other
opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other
- All persons who were citizens of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina immediately prior
to the entry into force of this Constitution are citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The
citizenship of persons who were naturalized after April 6, 1992 and before the entry into force of
this Constitution will be regulated by the Parliamentary Assembly.
- Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina may hold the citizenship of another state, provided that
there is a bilateral agreement, approved by the Parliamentary Assembly in accordance with
Article IV(4)(d), between Bosnia and Herzegovina and that state governing this
with dual citizenship may vote in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Entities only if Bosnia and
Herzegovina is their country of residence.
- A citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina abroad shall enjoy the protection of Bosnia and
Herzegovina. Each Entity may issue passports of Bosnia and Herzegovina to its citizens as
regulated by the Parliamentary Assembly. Bosnia and Herzegovina may issue passports to
citizens not issued a passport by an Entity. There shall be a central register of all passports
issued by the Entities and by Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Article II: Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
- Human Rights. Bosnia and Herzegovina and both Entities shall ensure the highest
internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms. To that end, there shall be
a Human Rights Commission for Bosnia and Herzegovina as provided for in Annex
6 to the
General Framework Agreement.
- International Standards. The rights and freedoms set forth in the European
the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its Protocols shall apply
directly in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These shall have priority over all other law.
- Enumeration of Rights. All persons within the territory of Bosnia and
Herzegovina shall enjoy
the human rights and fundamental freedoms referred to in paragraph 2 above; these include:
- The right to life.
- The right not to be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
- The right not to be held in slavery or servitude or to perform forced or compulsory labor.
- The rights to liberty and security of person.
- The right to a fair hearing in civil and criminal matters, and other rights relating to criminal
- The right to private and family life, home, and correspondence.
- Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.
- Freedom of expression.
- Freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association with others.
- The right to marry and to found a family.
- The right to property.
- The right to education.
- The right to liberty of movement and residence.
- Non-Discrimination. The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms provided for in
this Article or
in the international agreements listed in Annex I to this Constitution shall be
secured to all
persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race,
color, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a
national minority, property, birth or other status.
- Refugees and Displaced Persons. All refugees and displaced persons have the
right freely to
return to their homes of origin. They have the right, in accordance with Annex
7 to the General
Framework Agreement, to have restored to them property of which they were deprived in the
course of hostilities since 1991 and to be compensated for any such property that cannot be
restored to them. Any commitments or statements relating to such property made under duress
are null and void.
- Implementation. Bosnia and Herzegovina, and all courts, agencies, governmental
and instrumentalities operated by or within the Entities, shall apply and conform to the human
rights and fundamental freedoms referred to in paragraph 2 above.
- International Agreements. Bosnia and Herzegovina shall remain or become party to
international agreements listed in Annex I to this Constitution.
- Cooperation. All competent authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina shall cooperate
provide unrestricted access to: any international human rights monitoring mechanisms
established for Bosnia and Herzegovina; the supervisory bodies established by any of the
international agreements listed in Annex I to this Constitution; the International Tribunal for
the Former Yugoslavia (and in particular shall comply with orders issued pursuant to Article 29
of the Statute of the Tribunal); and any other organization authorized by the United Nations
Security Council with a mandate concerning human rights or humanitarian law.
Article IV: Parliamentary Assembly
The Parliamentary Assembly shall have two chambers: the House of Peoples and the House of
- House of Peoples. The House of Peoples shall comprise 15 Delegates, two-thirds
Federation (including five Croats and five Bosniacs) and one-third from the Republika Srpska
- The designated Croat and Bosniac Delegates from the Federation shall be selected,
respectively, by the Croat and Bosniac Delegates to the House of Peoples of the Federation.
Delegates from the Republika Srpska shall be selected by the National Assembly of the
- Nine members of the House of Peoples shall comprise a quorum, provided that at least three
Bosniac, three Croat, and three Serb Delegates are present.
- House of Representatives. The House of Representatives shall comprise 42
thirds elected from the territory of the Federation, one-third from the territory of the Republika
- Members of the House of Representatives shall be directly elected from their Entity in
accordance with an election law to be adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly. The first election,
however, shall take place in accordance with Annex 3 to the General
- A majority of all members elected to the House of Representatives shall comprise a quorum.
- Each chamber shall be convened in Sarajevo not more than 30 days after its selection or
- Each chamber shall by majority vote adopt its internal rules and select from its members one
Serb, one Bosniac, and one Croat to serve as its Chair and Deputy Chairs, with the position of
Chair rotating among the three persons selected.
- All legislation shall require the approval of both chambers.
- All decisions in both chambers shall be by majority of those present and voting. The Delegates
and Members shall make their best efforts to see that the majority includes at least one-third of
the votes of Delegates or Members from the territory of each Entity. If a majority vote does not
include one-third of the votes of Delegates or Members from the territory of each Entity, the
Chair and Deputy Chairs shall meet as a commission and attempt to obtain approval within
three days of the vote. If those efforts fail, decisions shall be taken by a majority of those
and voting, provided that the dissenting votes do not include two-thirds or more of the
Delegates or Members elected from either Entity.
- A proposed decision of the Parliamentary Assembly may be declared to be destructive of a
vital interest of the Bosniac, Croat, or Serb people by a majority of, as appropriate, the Bosniac,
Croat, or Serb Delegates selected in accordance with paragraph l(a) above. Such a proposed
decision shall require for approval in the House of Peoples a majority of the Bosniac, of the
Croat, and of the Serb Delegates present and voting.
- When a majority of the Bosniac, of the Croat, or of the Serb Delegates objects to the
invocation of paragraph (e), the Chair of the House of Peoples shall immediately convene a
Joint Commission comprising three Delegates, one each selected by the Bosniac, by the Croat,
and by the Serb Delegates, to resolve the issue. If the Commission fails to do so within five days,
the matter will be referred to the Constitutional Court, which shall in an expedited process
review it for procedural regularity.
- The House of Peoples may be dissolved by the Presidency or by the House itself, provided that
the House's decision to dissolve is approved by a majority that includes the
majority of Delegates from at least two of the Bosniac, Croat, or Serb peoples. The House of
Peoples elected in the first elections after the entry into force of this Constitution may not,
however, be dissolved.
- Decisions of the Parliamentary Assembly shall not take effect before publication.
- Both chambers shall publish a complete record of their deliberations and shall, save in
exceptional circumstances in accordance with their rules, deliberate publicly.
- Delegates and Members shall not be held criminally or civilly liable for any acts carried out
within the scope of their duties in the Parliamentary Assembly.
- Powers. The Parliamentary Assembly shall have responsibility for:
- Enacting legislation as necessary to implement decisions of the Presidency or to carry out the
responsibilities of the Assembly under this Constitution.
- Deciding upon the sources and amounts of revenues for the operations of the institutions of
Bosnia and Herzegovina and international obligations of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Approving a budget for the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Deciding whether to consent to the ratification of treaties.
- Such other matters as are necessary to carry out its duties or as are assigned to it by mutual
agreement of the Entities.
Article V: Presidency
The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall consist of three Members: one Bosniac and one
Croat, each directly elected from the territory of the Federation, and one Serb directly elected
from the territory of the Republika Srpska.
- Election and Term.
- Members of the Presidency shall be directly elected in each Entity (with each voter voting to
fill one seat on the Presidency) in accordance with an election law adopted by the Parliamentary
Assembly. The first election, however,
shall take place in accordance with Annex 3 to the General Framework
Agreement. Any vacancy
in the Presidency shall be filled from the relevant Entity in accordance with a law to be adopted
by the Parliamentary Assembly.
- The term of the Members of the Presidency elected in the first election shall be two years; the
term of Members subsequently elected shall be four years. Members shall be eligible to succeed
themselves once and shall thereafter be ineligible for four years.
- The Presidency shall determine its own rules of procedure, which shall provide for adequate
notice of all meetings of the Presidency.
- The Members of the Presidency shall appoint from their Members a Chair. For the first term
of the Presidency, the Chair shall be the Member who received the highest number of votes.
Thereafter, the method of selecting the Chair, by rotation or otherwise, shall be determined by
the Parliamentary Assembly, subject to Article IV(3).
- The Presidency shall endeavor to adopt all Presidency Decisions (i.e., those concerning
matters arising under Article III(l)(a) - (e)) by consensus. Such decisions may,
paragraph (d) below, nevertheless be adopted by two Members when all efforts to reach
consensus have failed.
- A dissenting Member of the Presidency may declare a Presidency Decision to be destructive of
a vital interest of the Entity from the territory from which he was elected, provided that he does
so within three days of its adoption. Such a Decision shall be referred immediately to the
National Assembly of the Republika Srpska, if the declaration was made by the Member from
that territory; to the Bosniac Delegates of the House of Peoples of the Federation, if the
declaration was made by the Bosniac Member; or to the Croat Delegates of that body, if the
declaration was made by the Croat Member. If the declaration is confirmed by a two-thirds vote
of those persons within ten days of the referral, the challenged Presidency Decision shall not
- Powers. The Presidency shall have responsibility for:
- Conducting the foreign policy of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Appointing ambassadors and other international representatives of Bosnia and
Herzegovina, no more than two-thirds of whom may be selected from the territory of the
- Representing Bosnia and Herzegovina in international and European organizations and
institutions and seeking membership in such organizations and institutions of which Bosnia and
Herzegovina is not a member.
- Negotiating, denouncing, and, with the consent of the Parliamentary Assembly, ratifying
treaties of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Executing decisions of the Parliamentary Assembly.
- Proposing, upon the recommendation of the Council of Ministers, an annual budget to the
- Reporting as requested, but not less than annually, to the Parliamentary Assembly on
expenditures by the Presidency.
- Coordinating as necessary with international and nongovernmental organizations in Bosnia
- Performing such other functions as may be necessary to carry out its duties, as may be
assigned to it by the Parliamentary Assembly, or as may be agreed by the Entities.
- Council of Ministers. The Presidency shall nominate the Chair of the Council of
who shall take office upon the approval of the House of Representatives. The Chair shall
nominate a Foreign Minister, a Minister for Foreign Trade, and other Ministers as may be
appropriate, who shall take office upon the approval of the House of Representatives.
- Together the Chair and the Ministers shall constitute the Council of Ministers, with
responsibility for carrying out the policies and decisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the fields
referred to in Article III(1), (4), and (5)
and reporting to the
Parliamentary Assembly (including,
at least annually, on expenditures by Bosnia and Herzegovina).
- No more than two-thirds of all Ministers may be appointed from the territory of the
Federation. The Chair shall also nominate Deputy Ministers (who shall not be of the same
constituent people as their Ministers), who shall take office upon the approval of the House of
- The Council of Ministers shall resign if at any time there is a vote of no-confidence by the
- Standing Committee.
- Each member of the Presidency shall, by virtue of the office, have civilian command authority
over armed forces. Neither Entity shall threaten or use force against the other Entity, and under
no circumstances shall any armed forces of either Entity enter into or stay within the territory of
the other Entity without the consent of the government of the latter and of the Presidency of
Bosnia and Herzegovina. All armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina shall operate consistently
with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- The members of the Presidency shall select a Standing Committee on Military Matters to
coordinate the activities of armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Members of the
Presidency shall be members of the Standing Committee.
Article VII: Central Bank
There shall be a Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which shall be the sole authority for
issuing currency and for monetary policy throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- The Central Bank's responsibilities will be determined by the Parliamentary Assembly. For the
first six years after the entry into force of this Constitution, however, it may not extend credit by
creating money, operating in this respect as a currency board; thereafter, the Parliamentary
Assembly may give it that authority.
- The first Governing Board of the Central Bank shall consist of a Governor appointed by the
International Monetary Fund, after consultation with the Presidency, and three members
appointed by the Presidency, two from the Federation (one Bosniac, one Croat, who shall share
one vote) and one from the Republika Srpska, all of whom shall serve a six-year term. The
Governor, who shall not be a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina or any neighboring state, may
cast tie-breaking votes on the Governing Board.
- Thereafter, the Governing Board of the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall
consist of five persons appointed by the Presidency for a term of six years. The Board shall
appoint, from among its members, a Governor for a term of six years.
Article VIII: Finances
- The Parliamentary Assembly shall each year, on the proposal of the Presidency, adopt a
budget covering the expenditures required to carry out the responsibilities of institutions of
Bosnia and Herzegovina and the international obligations of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- If no such budget is adopted in due time, the budget for the previous year shall be used on a
- The Federation shall provide two-thirds, and the Republika Srpska one-third, of the revenues
required by the budget, except insofar as revenues are raised as specified by the Parliamentary
Article IX: General Provisions
- No person who is serving a sentence imposed by the International Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia, and no person who is under indictment by the Tribunal and who has failed to
comply with an order to appear before the Tribunal, may stand as a candidate or hold any
appointive, elective, or other public office in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Compensation for persons holding office in the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina may
not be diminished during an officeholder's tenure.
- Officials appointed to positions in the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be
generally representative of the peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina.