To execute verdicts and terminate the discrimination of the Vrhbosna Archdiocese in Travnik

Statement by the Vrhbosna Archdiocese


After the European Court of Human Rights issued a judgment on June 5th in the case Vrhbosna Archdiocese vs. BiH, concerning the failure of the authorities of the Central Bosnia authorities and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities regarding property in Travnik, the Vrhbosna Archdiocese sent a statement that we bring here.

Due to the general interest of society, fairness and established facts, and questions of the media, the clarity and truthfulness of information, and for twenty years of practically proven negligence and insufficient engagement of the relevant authorities to enforce the Human Rights Chamber CH/02/92628 from May 9th in 2003, with the intent to overrule the court-based discrimination against the Vrhbosna archdiocese regarding the property in Travnik, and all in light of the new pressures of the executive authorities on judicial institutions, we state:

With founding the Archdiocese High School in Travnik in 1882, the Vrhbosna Archdiocese contributed to the development of modern education and struck the first foundation for higher education in our country. Institute in Travnik has remained a matrix for today's Catholic education in BiH.

The Vrhbosna Archdiocese, in conjunction with the ruling of the Human Rights Chamber of 2003, the Constitutional Court's decision of 2012, the final verdict of the Municipal Court in Travnik from 2017, and the most recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, and other judgments, respect the rule of law, the separation of judicial, executive and legislative authorities, protect private property and respect the Freedom of Religion and Legal Status of the Church and Religious Communities in BiH.

It has been proven by law that the competent authorities in Travnik dealt unequally with religious communities when it comes to the return to use of the abducted properties and thus discriminated the Catholic Church (Vrhbosna Archdiocese). The execution of the final judgment and judgment of the European Court of Human Rights is the only way to end this discrimination, which has been already established 15 years ago.

The social Community in Travnik does not deserve to be marked in public with this kind of treatment, because of the failure to enforce court verdicts and insufficient engagement of all levels of government in that city. Most of the well-intentioned and believing people in Travnik want the private building and property of the Vrhbosna Archdiocese to return to use, in the same way as it was done to the Islamic Community and the Serbian Orthodox Church, and to build bridges of coexistence and prosperity after a disastrous war.

Because of the many years of non-execution of the verdict the Vrhbosna archdiocese is being wrongfully and manipulatively accused for segregation, intolerance and the project "two schools under one roof". Due to such treatment, the European Court has also granted nonmaterial compensation for the damage to the benefit of the Vrhbosna Archdiocese. The voice of reasoning clearly states that a public institution can not be and remain in a private facility, without any agreement and compensation. It is the duty of public institutions (founders) to provide public institutions with space and humane conditions for action.

The renewal Project of the Seminary and the School in Travnik, founded in 1882, and reconstruction work in 1997, is one of the fundamental projects that the Catholic Church opposes with to the most brutal consequences of war and is a major contributor to the return of its centuries-old homeland. That is why our school is multiethnic, and with its program it has become recognised even across the borders of our homeland. We believe that our model of Catholic schools is acceptable for new education in BiH.

Every attempt, public or hidden, to use and politicize students, and schools, is inadequate and backward. The formal pressure on the judiciary in Travnik, and the reaction of the other party, does not belong to the legal eligibility and aims to maintain a discriminatory state, that is, it obstructs verdicts and decisions. Everywhere in the world separation of executive and judiciary law is necessary, especially in our post war area, and that relationship must be deprived of party and personal interests and positions.

Therefore, we ask the BiH Prosecutor's Office to extend the investigation that is already underway on this case and to include in the file the latest, directly and inappropriately interference of individuals from executive bodies in to judicial processes, and all those who try to revoke final judgments through political pressures. The Vrhbosna Archdiocese believes that the Supreme Court of the Federation of BiH should conduct the review process in a transparent and legitimate way, with no pressure or urgency, not only of the parties in this process, but also all those officials who, in an inappropriate and unlawful manner, made themselves a party in the process, and that they can’t be formally justified.

We expect - and on several occasions and in time we have informed the founder of MSŠ Travnik - that during the summer season, the County Assembly, in cooperation with the Government of the County of Central Bosnia, is to ensure adequate accommodation and smooth start of the new school year. Concerning the consequences of the verdict, we have repeatedly informed in writing and during the official meetings, directly, the Prime Minister and Parliament of the County and the Mayor of the Municipality and the Municipal Council, the authorized persons of MSŠ Travnik, and through the Office of the High Representative the OSCE.

The Vrhbosna Archdiocese is not responsible for the fact that the authorities in two decades did not build a new school for which, which should be noted - the Archdiocese of Vrhbosna gave up land. By analyzing the budgets of the Government of Central Bosnia County and Travnik Municipality over the last ten years, and with the evidence of raised loans, it is the responsibility of the above-mentioned authorities to answer Travnik's citizens why no funds have been planned for the further construction of schools even though certain law members asked for it explicitly!

Finally, we call on all the good intentioned people, all religions and nationalities to be in their day-to-day life, by their decisions and act, on the side of justice, to respect the law and construction of the necessary reconciliation and coexistence for the well-being of all residents of our country.

Vrhbosna Archdiocese ordinary