Annex 6 to the
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  Annual Report 2001


The mandate of the Human Rights Chamber is set out in Article II of Annex 6 to the Dayton Peace Agreement. The Chamber has the mandate to consider alleged or apparent violations of human rights as provided in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Protocols thereto, and alleged or apparent discrimination arising in the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms provided for in the Convention and 15 other international agreements listed in the Appendix to Annex 6. The Chamber may only receive applications concerning matters which are within the responsibility of one of the Parties to Annex 6 (the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska), and which occurred or continued after entry into force of the Dayton Peace Agreement (14 December 1995). Particular priority is given to allegations of especially severe or systematic violations, as well as those founded on alleged discrimination on prohibited grounds.

The Chamber may receive applications concerning such human rights violations directly from any Party to Annex 6 to the Dayton Peace Agreement or from any person, non-governmental organisation or group of individuals claiming to be the victim of a violation by any Party or acting on behalf of alleged victims who are deceased or missing.

Under the terms of Annex 6, when the Chamber receives an application it must decide whether to accept or reject it, taking into account a number of criteria listed in Article VIII. These criteria include: (a) whether effective remedies exist, and the applicant has demonstrated that they have been exhausted and that the application has been filed with the Commission (the Chamber or the BiH Ombudsman) within six months from such date on which the final decision was taken; (b) whether the application is substantially the same as a matter that the Chamber has already examined; c) whether the application is incompatible with the Human Rights Agreement, manifestly ill-founded, or an abuse of the right of petition; and d) whether the application concerns a matter currently pending before another international human rights body or another Commission established by the Dayton Peace Agreement.

The Chamber's procedures are modeled on those of the European Court of Human Rights. Unless the Chamber decides at the outset that an application is inadmissible or should be struck out, written observations are requested from the applicant and respondent Party, after which the Chamber deliberates and decides on a case. In addition to the written procedure, the Chamber may decide to schedule a public hearing for oral argument by the parties and submission of evidence by witnesses and experts. The Chamber may also invite written or oral amicus curiae submissions. If the Chamber finds a violation, it may, in its written decision on the merits, issue an order indicating the steps that the respondent Party must take to remedy the breach, including orders to cease and desist or grant monetary relief. At any stage of the proceedings, it may also order provisional measures or attempt to facilitate an amicable resolution based on respect for human rights. The decisions of the Chamber are final and binding and the respondent Parties are obligated to implement them fully. Chamber decisions on the merits are forwarded to the Office of the High Representative (OHR) and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for monitoring of compliance.