Secession from Bosnia is the red line for use of Bonn powers, Inzko told N1

NEWS 17.02.2020 19:46
Source: N1

Secession would mean that the red line has been crossed, but I am sure that such a referendum would not be held because of what happened in the past, Bosnia's international administrator Valentin Inzko told N1 on Monday, adding that even if such a referendum was held, it would be legally void.

“We'll insist on respect for the Dayton Peace Agreement. The Dayton guarantees Bosnia's sovereignty and integrity, it contains the country’ Constitution and according to the Dayton Agreement, the entities don't have the right to secede,” Inzko told N1's Adisa Imamovic.

Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of two semi-autonomous entities – the Bosniak-Croat shared Federation (FBiH) and the Serb dominated RS. Both entities have their institutions and competencies. The international community had set up the Office of the High Representative (OHR) as the international administrator's office in charge of overseeing the civilian implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement which ended the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia.

After the Constitutional Court decided that Article 53 of the Republika Srpska (RS) Law on Agricultural Land, as well as Articles 3 and 4 of the RS Law on Inland Navigation, unconstitutional – RS leaders decided to boycott the decision-making process in State institutions by attending the sessions and meetings, but not taking part in the voting process, thus blocking the process completely.

Further discussing their decision, some – most notably the Bosnian Serb leader and leader of the strongest party in the RS, the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) Milorad Dodik, even went so far as to, once again, repeat his statements and threats of RS’ secession, saying that Serbs do not feel welcome in Bosnia nor its institutions.

This was not the first time Dodik called for the RS secession and the implementation of the referendum on the territory of that entity, which would ask if the RS residents would support the entities secession.

“Secession would cross the red line. Entity borders are no more than the lines between counties in Croatia and provinces in Germany. All that is part of Bosnia which continued its territorial sovereignty and we mustn't forget that Bosnia was accepted into the UN as a united country in 1992, together with Slovenia and Croatia. They were all accepted on the same day and that the backbone and foundation of Bosnia. Only the internal borders were changed by the Dayton Accords,” Inzko told N1.

He said he was aware that some citizens are disappointed by the fact that he no longer takes a firm stand.

“I know some citizens are disappointed that I am not taking a firm stand, they remember Ashdown. There was a different atmosphere back then, the international community was much more present. When domestic solutions are good, they are the best and most durable. I get a lot of letters, especially from Una-Sana Canton (USK) when one a lady asked me if she should move with her son to Tyrol. I told her that the situation is politically unstable but the security situation is stable and that she should not move with her son,” the international community's High Representative said.

Speaking about the RS officials’ request to remove foreign judges from Bosnia's Constitutional Court, who serve the balancing role within the Court by preventing any of the three constituent peoples from being out-voted by other two peoples, Inzko recalled that they are part of the “original Dayton” which was signed by all the parties.

The notion of the “original Dayton” was first introduced by Dodik himself, who claims that reforms which were implemented after the signing of the Agreement and whose goal was to make Bosnia into a more functional state, were enforced onto the RS entity with the aim of making it weaker.

Inzko asked why anyone would have anything against some foreigner if they all want to join the EU.

If the foreign judges ever were removed, it would change the balance of powers in the Court and that would require a change of the Dayton Peace Agreement. It would lead to the ‘Dayton 2’,” Inzko added, hinting at another notion Dodik is against.

Asked about the use of his Bonn powers which allow him to impose laws and even punish Bosnian politicians if he deems them acting against Bosnia's interests, Inzko said he would love to use them for some of his ideas.

“My great wish was to use them and impose the law of at least 40 percent of women in politics. Local politicians took to that law but they never implemented is. Women would change things, they are not as big nationalists and they would change things,” he concluded.