Coronavirus movement ban for seniors, youth illegal - Bosnia'S top court

SARAJEVO, April 22 (Reuters) - Bosnia’s top court ruled on Wednesday that a measure curtailing freedom of movement for people older than 65 and younger than 18 to try and halt the spread of the coronavirus is not in line with the constitution.

In response to an appeal by a group of citizens, the Constitutional Court concluded that there had been a violation of the appellant’s right to freedom of movement also under the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

It ordered the government of Bosnia’s autonomous Bosniak-Croat Federation and its Civil Protection Service, which enacted the measure in late March, to comply with the court’s ruling within five-days. But new measure should maintain rules aimed at reducing direct social contact, as well as other protective measures, it said.

The Civil Protection Service chief Fahrudin Solak said the body will respect the decision of the court, whose rulings are final and binding.

Both of Bosnia’s autonomous regions, the Federation and the Serb Republic, have barred people older than 65 and younger than 18 from leaving their homes in an effort to curb the spread of the new coronavirus and have introduced a night-time curfew.

The measure has been extended until the end of April but the appeal for its review came only from the Federation.

There have been 1,368 confirmed coronavirus cases in Bosnia so far and 53 deaths. Like elsewhere, stay-at-home orders to halt the spread of the disease have hit businesses and jobs.

Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise