Towns across Bosnia’s Serb-majority region are on Thursday observing an unconstitutional holiday, the Day of Republika Srpska (RS).
On January 9, 1992, the assembly of Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted the Declaration on the Proclamation of the Republic of the Serb People – today Republika Srpska – as a federal unit within the Republic of Yugoslavia.
Since then, the RS has been celebrating on that date.
But others in Bosnia, mostly Bosniaks, see January 9 as the beginning of the massacres in the country which led to the war and the 1995 Srebrenica genocide.
The Constitutional Court ruled several times that the holiday is unconstitutional. The last such ruling was in March. The reason stated was that the celebration falls on the same date as an Orthodox religious holiday, and celebrating it is, therefore, discriminating against the mostly Muslim Bosniaks and the mostly Catholic Croats.
RS leadership, however, had organised a referendum in the entity in 2016 at which the predominantly Serb citizens voted in favour of January 9 staying the date for the holiday.
The semi-autonomous entity then adopted a Law on the holiday which says it will take place on that date.