Bosnia's Presidency is the commander in chief of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and all members of the tripartite Presidency have a legal responsibility to ensure the functioning of the Armed Forces, and in no way call them into question, the international body overseeing Bosnia’s peace said Wednesday.
“The Peace Implementation Council's Steering Board (PIC SB) unequivocally affirms that Bosnia's Armed Forces represent a key element of stability, cohesion and security of Bosnia and Herzegovina and supports the role it has played in Bosnia as well as in a number of international peace-keeping missions,” the statement said, following the Presidency Chairman and Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik's speech on May 12, at the anniversary of the Third Infantry Regiment ‘Republika Srpska’ calling on Serb army members to wear wartime uniforms during next year's celebration.
After the 1992-95 armed conflict in Bosnia, the country conducted a defence reform in 2005 merging the Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity armies into one, with the command at the state level. The Bosnian Serb leader called on the Regiment's command to make half of the unit wear wartime uniforms on the next year's ceremony because “this is their day.”
“We support the full implementation of Bosnia's defence legislation, which clearly defines the chain of command, duties, responsibilities, and conduct of the members of the Bosnia's Armed Forces,” said the PIC SB whose members are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Presidency of the European Union, European Commission, and Organisation of the Islamic Conference, represented by Turkey.
The Russian Federation did not join the PIC's statement.
Earlier on Wednesday, Bosnia's Croat Presidency member Zeljko Komsic said he filed charges against Dodik and all major local and international officials and institutions like the OSCE, the Office of the High Representative, EUFOR, NATO and the US Embassy condemned his statements.