The Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina proposed amendments to the Law on Civil Service in October 2015. The amendments, which were adopted using an urgent parliamentary procedure, changed the definition and categories of civil servants and expanded the categories of politically appointed employees in the state administration.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Public institutions
Description of the law
The Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina proposed amendments to the Law on Civil Service in October 2015. The amendments, which were adopted using an urgent parliamentary procedure, changed the definition and categories of civil servants and expanded the categories of politically appointed employees in the state administration. These amendments were designed to benefit those in the civil service who are affiliated with the ruling political parties.
High and middle management positions were no longer civil servants (Article 1). Instead, they became directly appointed. Ministry officials at this level were nominated by ministers and approved by the government. The tenure of managers in the civil service was directly tied to the government’s term and they were discharged when the government was no longer in office (Article 11a).
However, in December 2016, the Constitutional Court of FBiH declared the amendments unconstitutional (see here and here). The adopted amendments would have given the government more power over political appointments in FBiH.
Type of law
Act of Parliament
Scope of application
Substantive: redefinition of the meaning of civil servants and their appointment process
Personal: employees in the civil service and all citizens seeking to work in high or middle management in the FBiH administration
Temporal: until abrogated
Time of adoption and entering to force
Who drafted it
Government of FBiH
Who submitted it to Parliament or other collective body, such local council
Government of FBiH
Relevant developments in the process of adoption that show signs it is tailor-made
When the government drafted the amendments, it claimed that they were part of a broader reform of labour law and necessary in order to adjust the Law on Civil Service to the larger body of labour law. The government also claimed that the amendments would result in cost reductions and a more effective functioning of the government and administration (see here).
Before the parliamentary vote, the European Commission warned the prime minister of FBiH that the amendments could endanger the neutrality, integrity and confidentiality of the state administration and would result in expanding the list of political appointments. The EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Office of the High Representative also expressed concern over the amendments and their effect.
Civil society organisations, including Transparency International Bosnia and Herzegovina, expressed concern over the content of the amendments and the intent to create an even more politicised state administration.
Who adopted it
House of Representatives of the FBiH Parliament
The government of FBiH was responsible for enforcing the law. However, the law was later challenged and declared unconstitutional.
Initiatives to challenge it and their outcomes
The opposition proposed additional amendments in the parliamentary procedure, but they were rejected.
FBiH Vice-President Milan Dunović challenged the amendments before the Constitutional Court of FBiH, claiming that they conflicted with provisions of the constitution and resulted in the politicisation of the administration. Accordingly, he requested a constitutional review of the amendments after their adoption.
The Constitutional Court found that the amendments were unconstitutional because (1) they were adopted using the urgent parliamentary procedure without adequate legal justification and (2) they discriminated against those seeking to work in the civil service and disregarded the qualifications of candidates, leaving senior and middle management positions in the civil service open only to certain individuals (see here and here).
Direct beneficiaries and related networks
The direct beneficiaries of the law were civil servants with affiliations to the ruling political parties.
The direct victims were all citizens with qualifications to work in the civil service, but with no political affiliations.
In the end, the law was declared unconstitutional and it did not have any impact on society.
Impact on rule of Law
The amendments breached the provisions of the Constitution of FBiH that guarantee equal access to employment in the civil service for all FBiH citizens (see here).
Is there any corruption case that is linked to the tailor made law?