Bosnia and Herzegovina: IRZ supports protection of rights in labour law

Participants in the seminarParticipants in the seminar

The seminar on the "Protection of rights for mobbing and discrimination in labour law", organised by the IRZ alongside the organisation "Vasa Prava" (Your Rights), took place in Sarajevo on 8 June 2016. Vasa Prava is an organisation that is active nationwide and advises and represents people or group members who are particularly threatened by discrimination.

This is a very important subject in Bosnia and Herzegovina due to the country’s ethnically diverse population. The event was held as a direct response to recent changes to the labour law in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Participants from the business and academic worlds discussed problems with the application of new legal provisions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The relevant German case law, which can serve as orientation and supporting argumentation for controversial cases, was also introduced.

As well as procedural topics, e.g. onus of proof and reverse onus, questions brought about by unclear legal regulations were also raised. One example of this is that the provisions of the new labour law, which is the more recent as well as the more specific law, are less favourable to protection against discrimination as the provisions of the general anti-discrimination law, which has existed for a long time already.

Practical groups of cases also came up, such as preferences shown by employers through nepotism to people belonging to a certain political party.

The IRZ has been working with Vasa Prava for almost a decade now.

Regional constitutional court conference held in Bosnia and Herzegovina

From 7 to 9 April 2016, the first regional conference to be held in cooperation with the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the relationship between the European Court of Human Rights and national constitutional courts took place in Sarajevo. The Presidents of the Constitutional Courts of Montenegro and Serbia, as well as other judges from their courts and from the Constitutional Court of Croatia also took part in the event. Speakers at the conference included judges from the participating regional constitutional courts, as well as the former judge at the German Federal Constitutional Court, Professor Dr. Udo Steiner, and the Bosnian-Herzegovinian judge at the ECHR, Faris Vehabovic. Another of the speakers was Professor Dr. Constance Grewe, who is an international judge from the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The wide range of subjects covered by the speakers meant that the event presented a broad variety of information. This and the involvement of Faris Vehabovic as a judge at the Strasbourg Court led to lively discussions and a comprehensive exchange of points of view.

The IRZ has been working intensively with constitutional courts in South-East Europe for many years. Following on from various regional conferences with the Constitutional Courts of Serbia and Montenegro, this conference was the first bilateral event organised between the IRZ and the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In order to ensure the sustainability of this activity and expand its circle of addressees, contributions to the conference will in future feature in the new "Constitutional Law Yearbook" published by the IRZ. Once again, this IRZ event received a lot of media attention. The public TV corporation in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and various private broadcasters in Bosnia and Herzegovina and even in neighbouring Serbia reported on the conference. 

Seminar on German labour law in the local language

Speakers: Nevenka Mitrić, Regional Court (Okružni sud) judge and lawyer Dr. Karolina Mihaljević Schultze (on the right).Speakers: Nevenka Mitrić, Regional Court (Okružni sud) judge and lawyer Dr. Karolina Mihaljević Schultze (on the right)

On 18 February 2016, the IRZ held a seminar on "Labour law with a special focus on mobbing" at the Judicial Training Centre in Banja Luka in the Republika Srpska. The event was based on the fact that labour law, which in practice is particularly significant, has to deal with the conflict between the conventions left over from the socialist era and the Manchester capitalistic conduct of some employers in the transition states of South-East Europe. At the same time, EU law also has a considerable influence here. The latter has led to the fact that in these states, judicial practice for new legislation often has to be developed first. Orientation towards German case law is a great help here, as it is with regards to legal certainty and the standardisation of case law.

The speakers at the seminar were Nevenka Mitrić, Regional Court (Okružni sud) judge in Banja Luka, and Berlin lawyer Dr. Karolina Mihaljević Schultze. The latter originally comes from Bosnia and wrote a thesis on the law of the region at Freie Universität Berlin. She gave her lecture in the local language. This meant that subsequent discussions could also take place without any language barriers and these were direct and particularly intense.

This seminar in Banja Luka is a good example of the meaningful use of bilingual speakers, who understand German law and that of the partner countries in equal measure. This allows the speaker's experience of German law and German legal practice, which can be directly applied thanks to comparable legal provisions, to be conveyed in a way that is targeted towards the audience.

Like those in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Judicial Training Centre in the Republika Srpska is a long-term project partner of the IRZ.