Published On: Pet, velj 14th, 2020

Dodik Unveils Fresh Threat of Bosnian Serb Secession

After Bosnian Serb representatives walked out of state-level institutions in the country on Wednesday, Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik warned on Thursday that they were now on a path towards “leaving Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“We will do this, and will not be stopped by the US or anyone else, because we believe that the [1995] Dayton Agreement [ending the 1992-5 war in Bosnia] has been broken, primarily by the intervention of an international factor, Dodik, the Serbian member of the Bosnian presidency, said.

He added that unless an agreement was reached soon, there would be no Bosnian state by the spring. “I want everyone in the RS to know – we hit a wall.

“We now have to decide if we will accept that these false platitudes, from the US and Western embassies …[that] essentially undermine our rights, or the RS does what it has to do,” Dodik continued.

The decision to pull out of state institutions followed a ruling by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This declared a law passed by the mainly Serb entity in Bosnia, Republika Srpska, on agricultural land formerly owned by the Yugoslav state, unconstitutional.

The Court ruled that the state of Bosnia, not the RS, was the owner of such land. It acted upon the motion filed by seven Bosniak delegates to the RS Council of Peoples, the chamber that represents the interests of the three constituent peoples of Bosnia, Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats.

Adding to the sensitivity of the matter, the judging panel of the court is made up of three foreign judges as well as two Bosniak, two Croat and two Serbian judges. Bosnian Serbs have long objected to the court – and especially to its foreign judges. They want the adoption of a new law on the state Constitutional Court, excluding foreign judges.

In cautious reactions, the EU and the US called on the Republika Srpska to respect the rulings of the Constitutional Court.

Dodik has a history of clashing with the court, which he has called unconstitutional and anti-Serbian, and of talking about RS secession.

He has called on RS representatives in state institutions before to boycott their work until a new law on the Constitutional Court is passed. He made the same request in March 2019, when for a second time the Constitutional Court declared the RS holiday unconstitutional.

At the time, he did not get support from opposition parties in the RS, who were part of the ruling state-level coalition. Now, however, except for Dragan Mektic, a member of the state parliament who said that he did not trust Dodik, all the opposition parties have supported the decision to boycott the decision-making process.

“The decision of the Constitutional Court is aggravating the situation, and … we must defend the interests of the RS because if we give up now, the question is to what extent attacks on the and our identity will go,” Rado Savic, deputy president of the opposition Serbian Democratic Party, SDS, said on Wednesday.

The RS political leadership will travel to Belgrade on Saturday to meet Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. Dodik said that he would ask for the Serbian President’s “understanding” at the meeting.