Veterans in the Federation (FBiH), one of the two semi-autonomous regions in the country, announced on Saturday that should both houses of the FBiH Parliament not hold an urgent session to discuss their amendments to a Veteran’s Law, they will stage a mass protest a month ahead of the general election in October.
The veterans made the announcement after a meeting in front of the FBiH Government building, where they have been camping out for more than a year in protest.
They are trying to pressure MPs to adopt a set of laws that would, among other things, increase their monthly benefits and end the government funding of hundreds of veterans’ associations which protesters say were doing nothing for them while siphoning funds from the budget that could have gone to the veterans directly.
They also want a register of veterans to be published so it is available for everyone to see since they assume that many of those currently receiving government benefits never really fought during the 1992-95 war.
The FBiH House of Peoples had adopted a draft law meeting the veterans’ requirements but its text was different than the one adopted by the House of Representatives. A commission was tasked with harmonizing the two versions of the law and the two chambers were expected to meet to approve the final version.
This still did not happen, although FBiH House of Peoples lawmaker and member of the commission that was to harmonise the drafts, Jasenko Tufekcic, said it would be done by September 1.
“We were cheated on,” the veterans said.
If the amendments to the law that the veterans want are not adopted, they will stage a mass protest on September 5.