Text of the General
in Paris, France.
Agreement on Human Rights
The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Republika Srpska (the "Parties") have agreed as follows:
Chapter One: Respect for Human Rights
Article I: Fundamental Rights and Freedoms
The Parties shall secure to all persons within their jurisdiction the highest
internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the
freedoms provided in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights
Fundamental Freedoms and its Protocols and the other international agreements
listed in the
Appendix to this Annex. 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
- 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.
- The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms provided for in this Article or in
agreements listed in the Annex to this Constitution secured 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.
Chapter Two: The Commission on Human Rights
Part A: General
Article II: Establishment of the Commission
- To assist in honoring their obligations under this Agreement, the Parties
hereby establish a
Commission on Human Rights (the "Commission"). The Commission shall consist of
the Office of the Ombudsman and the Human Rights Chamber.
- The Office of the Ombudsman and the Human Rights
Chamber shall consider, as
- alleged or apparent violations of human rights as provided in the European
the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Protocols
- alleged or apparent discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, color,
political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a
property, birth or other status arising in the enjoyment of any of the rights
provided for in the international agreements listed in the Appendix to this
where such violation is alleged or appears to have been committed by the
Parties, including by
any official or organ of the Parties, Cantons, Municipalities, or any individual
acting under the
authority of such official or organ.
- The Parties recognize the right of all persons to submit to the Commission
and to other human
rights bodies applications concerning alleged violations of human rights, in
accordance with the
procedures of this Annex and such bodies. The Parties shall not undertake any
directed against persons who intend to submit, or have submitted, such
Article III: Facilities, Staff and Expenses
- The Commission shall have appropriate facilities and a professionally
competent staff. There
shall be an Executive Officer, appointed jointly by the Ombudsman and the
President of the
Chamber, who shall be responsible for all necessary administrative arrangements
to facilities and staff. The Executive Officer shall be subject to the direction
of the Ombudsman
and the President of the Chamber insofar as concerns their respective
professional office staff.
Article IV: Human Rights Ombudsman
- The Parties hereby establish the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman (the
- The Ombudsman shall be appointed for a non-renewable term of five years by
in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE),
consultation with the Parties. He or she shall be independently responsible for
choosing his or
her own staff. Until the transfer described in Article XIV
below, the Ombudsman
may not be a
citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina or of any neighboring state. The Ombudsman
after that transfer shall be appointed by the Presidency of Bosnia and
- Members of the Office of the Ombudsman must be of recognized high moral
have competence in the field of international human rights.
- The Office of the Ombudsman shall be an independent agency. In carrying out
its mandate, no
person or organ of the Parties may interfere with its functions.
Article V: Jurisdiction of the Ombudsman
- Allegations of violations of human rights received by the Commission shall
directed to the Office of the Ombudsman, except where an applicant specifies the
- The Ombudsman may investigate, either on his or her own initiative or in
response to an
allegation by any Party or person, non-governmental organization, or group of
claiming to be the victim of a violation by any Party or acting on behalf of
alleged victims who
are deceased or missing, alleged or apparent violations of human rights within
the scope of
paragraph 2 of Article II. The Parties undertake not to
hinder in any way the
effective exercise of
- The Ombudsman shall determine which allegations warrant investigation and in
priority, giving particular priority to allegations of especially severe or
systematic violations and
those founded on alleged discrimination on prohibited grounds.
- The Ombudsman shall issue findings and conclusions promptly after concluding
investigation. A Party identified as violating human rights shall, within a
explain in writing how it will comply with the conclusions.
- Where an allegation is received which is within the jurisdiction of the
Chamber, the Ombudsman may refer the allegation to the Chamber at any stage.
- The Ombudsman may also present special reports at any time to any competent
organ or official. Those receiving such reports shall reply within a time limit
specified by the
Ombudsman, including specific responses to any conclusions offered by the
- The Ombudsman shall publish a report, which, in the event that a person or
entity does not
comply with his or her conclusions and recommendations, will be forwarded to the
Representative described in Annex 10 to the General
while such office
exists, as well as referred for further action to the Presidency of the
appropriate Party. The
Ombudsman may also initiate proceedings before the Human Rights Chamber based on
Report. The Ombudsman may also intervene in any proceedings before the Chamber.
Article VI: Powers
- The Ombudsman shall have access to and may examine all official documents,
classified ones, as well as judicial and administrative files, and can require
any person, including
a government official, to cooperate by providing relevant information, documents
and files. The
Ombudsman may attend administrative hearings and meetings of other organs and
and inspect any place where persons deprived of their liberty are confined or
- The Ombudsman and staff are required to maintain the confidentiality of all
information obtained, except where required by order of the Chamber, and shall
documents and files in accordance with applicable rules.
Part C: Human Rights Chamber
Article VII: Human Rights Chamber
- The Human Rights Chamber shall be composed of fourteen members.
- Within 90 days after this Agreement enters into force, the Federation of
Herzegovina shall appoint four members and the Republika Srpska shall appoint
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, pursuant to its resolution
consultation with the Parties, shall appoint the remaining members, who shall
not be citizens of
Bosnia and Herzegovina or any neighboring state, and shall designate one such
member as the
President of the Chamber.
- All members of the Chamber shall possess the qualifications required for
appointment to high
judicial office or be jurists of recognized competence. The members of the
Chamber shall be
appointed for a term of five years and may be reappointed.
- Members appointed after the transfer described in Article
XIV below shall be
appointed by the
Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Article VIII: Jurisdiction of the Chamber
- The Chamber shall receive by referral from the Ombudsman on behalf of an
directly from any Party or person, non-governmental organization, or group of
claiming to be the victim of a violation by any Party or acting on behalf of
alleged victims who
are deceased or missing, for resolution or decision applications concerning
alleged or apparent
violations of human rights within the scope of paragraph 2 of
- The Chamber shall decide which applications to accept and in what priority
to address them.
In so doing, the Chamber shall take into account the following criteria:
- Whether effective remedies exist, and the applicant has demonstrated that
they have been
exhausted and that the application has been filed with the Commission within six
such date on which the final decision was taken.
- The Chamber shall not address any application which is substantially the
same as a matter
which has already been examined by the Chamber or has already been submitted to
procedure or international investigation or settlement.
- The Chamber shall also dismiss any application which it considers
incompatible with this
Agreement, manifestly ill-founded, or an abuse of the right of petition.
- The Chamber may reject or defer further consideration if the application
concerns a matter
currently pending before any other international human rights body responsible
adjudication of applications or the decision of cases, or any other Commission
established by the
Annexes to the General Framework Agreement.
- In principle, the Chamber shall endeavor to accept and to give particular
allegations of especially severe or systematic violations and those founded on
discrimination on prohibited grounds.
- Applications which entail requests for provisional measures shall be
reviewed as a matter of
priority in order to determine (1) whether they should be accepted and, if so
(2) whether high
priority for the scheduling of proceedings on the provisional measures request
- The Chamber may decide at any point in its proceedings to suspend
consideration of, reject or
strike out, an application on the ground that (a) the applicant does not intend
to pursue his
application; (b) the matter has been resolved; or (c) for any other reason
established by the
Chamber, it is no longer justified to continue the examination of the
application; provided that
such result is consistent with the objective of respect for human rights.
Article IX: Friendly Settlement
- At the outset of a case or at any stage during the proceedings, the Chamber
may attempt to
facilitate an amicable resolution of the matter on the basis of respect for the
rights and freedoms
referred to in this Agreement.
- If the Chamber succeeds in effecting such a resolution it shall publish a
Report and forward it
the High Representative described in Annex 10 to the
Agreement while such
exists, the OSCE and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. Such a
Report shall include a
statement of the facts and the resolution reached. The report of a resolution in
a given case may,
however, be confidential in whole or in part where necessary for the protection
of human rights or
the agreement of the Chamber and the parties concerned.
Article X: Proceedings before the Chamber
- The Chamber shall develop fair and effective procedures for the adjudication
Such procedures shall provide for appropriate written pleadings and, on the
decision of the Chamber,
a hearing for oral argument or the presentation of evidence. The Chamber shall
have the power to
order provisional measures, to appoint experts, and to compel the production of
The Chamber shall normally sit in panels of seven,
composed of two members
Federation, one from the Republika Srpska, and four who are not citizens of
Bosnia and Herzegovina or
any neighboring state. When an application is decided by a panel, the full
Chamber may decide,
upon motion of a party to the case or the Ombudsman, to review the decision;
such review may include
the taking of additional evidence where the Chamber so decides. References in
this Annex to the
Chamber shall include, as appropriate, the Panel, except that the power to
develop general rules,
regulations and procedures is vested in the Chamber as a whole.
- Except in exceptional circumstances in accordance with rules, hearings of
the Chamber shall
be held in public.
- Applicants may be represented in proceedings by attorneys or other
representatives of their
choice, but shall also be personally present unless excused by the Chamber on
hardship, impossibility, or other good cause.
- The Parties undertake to provide all relevant information to, and to
cooperate fully with, the
Article XI: Decisions
- Following the conclusion of the proceedings, the chamber shall promptly
issue a decision, which
- whether the facts found indicate a breach by the Party concerned of its
obligations under this
Agreement; and if so
- what steps shall be taken by the Party to remedy such breach, including
orders to cease and
desist, monetary relief (including pecuniary and non-pecuniary injuries), and
- The Chamber shall make its decision by a majority of members. In the event a
decision by the
full Chamber results in a tie, the President of the Chamber shall cast the
- Subject to review as provided in paragraph 2 of Article
X, the decisions
of the Chamber shall
be final and binding.
- Any member shall be entitled to issue a separate opinion on any case.
- The Chamber shall issue reasons for its decisions. Its decisions shall be
forwarded to the parties concerned, the High Representative described in Annex
10 to the
General Framework Agreement while such office exists, the Secretary General of
the Council of
Europe and the OSCE.
- The Parties shall implement fully decisions of the Chamber.
Article XII: Rules and Regulations
The Chamber shall promulgate such rules and regulations, consistent with this
may be necessary to carry out its functions, including provisions for
expedited decisions on provisional measures, decisions by panels of the Chamber,
and review of
decisions made by any such panels.
Chapter Three: General Provisions
Article XIII: Organizations Concerned with Human
- The Parties shall promote and encourage the activities of non-governmental
international organizations for the protection and promotion of human rights.
- The Parties join in inviting the United Nations Commission on Human Rights,
the OSCE, the
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and other intergovernmental
regional human rights missions or organizations to monitor closely the human
in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including through the establishment of local offices
assignment of observers, rapporteurs, or other relevant persons on a permanent
mission basis and to provide them with full and effective facilitation,
assistance and access.
- The Parties shall allow full and effective access to non-governmental
purposes of investigating and monitoring human rights conditions in Bosnia and
and shall refrain from hindering or impeding them in the exercise of these
- All competent authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina shall cooperate with and
unrestricted access to the organizations established in this Agreement; any
rights monitoring mechanisms established for Bosnia and Herzegovina; the
established by any of the international agreements listed in the Appendix to
this Annex; the
International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia; and any other organization
authorized by the
U.N. Security Council with a mandate concerning human rights or humanitarian
Article XIV: Transfer
Five years after this Agreement enters into force, the responsibility for the
of the Commission shall transfer from the Parties to the institutions of Bosnia
unless the Parties otherwise agree. In the latter case, the Commission shall
continue to operate
as provided above.
Article XV: Notice
The Parties shall give effective notice of the terms of this Agreement
throughout Bosnia and
Article XVI: Entry into Force
This Agreement shall enter into force upon signature.
For the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
For the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
For the Republika Srpska
Appendix: Human Rights Agreements
- 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
- 1949 Geneva Conventions I-IV on the Protection of the
Victims of War, and the 1977 Geneva Protocols I-II
- 1950 European Convention for the Protection of Human
Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and the Protocols
- 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and
the 1966 Protocol thereto
- 1957 Convention on the Nationality of Married Women
- 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness
- 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Racial Discrimination
- 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights and the 1966 and 1989 Optional Protocols thereto
- 1966 Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women
- 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
- 1987 European Convention on the Prevention of Torture
and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child
- 1990 Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and
- 1992 European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
- 1994 Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities