Round table "The specificities and challenges of proving discrimination in civil proceedings"


Hotel Europe, Conference Hall 3, Vladislava Skarića 5, Sarajevo


Once the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination (LPD) was adopted, the position of victims of discrimination in Bosnia and Herzegovina, at least in theory, improved. The key improvement was the provision according to which the burden of proof (that discrimination did not occur) transfers to the defendant if the plaintiff manages to demonstrate the existence of assumption or likelihood of discrimination in a concrete case. However, available reports on anti-discrimination court proceedings in Bosnia and Herzegovina indicate that domestic courts introduce very high threshold that plaintiffs must reach in order to shift the burden of proof on the defendant, or even completely ignore this important principle by applying general rules of civil procedure in cases related to discrimination, despite the more favorable provision of the LPD.


Abovementioned was the motive for Analitika to, in cooperation with the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, organize a round table discussion entitled "The specificities and challenges of proving discrimination in civil proceedings" with the aim to additionally familiarize representatives of the judicial community with the specifics of proving discrimination in anti-discrimination court proceedings, to offer an overview of perceived problems in proving discrimination in court practice in BiH and the region, and help determine the priorities and the key factors in improving the situation in this area, especially from the judges' perspective.

Representatives from the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Civil Society Coalition Against Discrimination (Vera Bjelogrlic, Edin Hodzic and Ines Bamburac) welcomed participants and briefly introduced them with the purpose of organizing the event and familiarized them with further activities planned within the project.


In the opening presentation, Prof. Zlatan Meškić, from the Faculty of Law (University of Zenica), presented the concept and specificities of proving discrimination in court proceedings and offered a useful interpretation of key provisions within the LPD through the prism of European and comparative anti-discrimination standards.


In the second presentation, Adnan Kadribašić, National Legal Officer from the OSCE Mission to BiH, offered an overview of the case law in BiH and the region using the decisions of domestic courts in anti-discrimination proceeding to show successes and failures in applying anti-discrimination standards in the practice of courts in BiH.


In the third and fourth presentation, judges Goran Nezirović, from the Supreme Court of Federation of BiH, and Staka Gojković, from the Supreme Court of Republika Srpska, shared experiences in proving discrimination in their practice and expressed their view of certain provisions of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination, pointing out a number of shortcomings thatneed to be addressed in the forthcoming reform of the anti-dicrimination framework in BiH.


This event is organized in cooperation with the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina within the project “Equality for All: Civil Society Coalition against Discrimination“, and is implemented in cooperation with Mediacentar Sarajevo, Analitika – Center for Social Research, Rights for All and Vaša prava BiH. The project is financed by USAID and Open Society Fund Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Themes: Pravosuđe i pristup pravdiLjudska prava
Programmes: Javno pravo