The meeting of officials from Republika Srpska, Bosnia's Serb-majority region, where they reiterated the intention to block the decision-making process in the state-level institutions, is unacceptable, international administrator overseeing the peace process in Bosnia said on Tuesday, adding that state-level officials from the entity are not Republika Srpska's but Bosnia and Herzegovina's representatives.
“The attendance at the meeting is unacceptable as it de facto signals preparedness to take part in blocking the decision-making in the state-level institutions. Also, it seriously undermines the professional, ethic and personal integrity of attendees and the perception of independence of the institution they represent,” a statement issued by the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in Sarajevo said, quoting High Representative Valentin Inzko.
Republika Srpska National Assembly (RSNA) adopted a decision last week, instructing the state-level officials from that entity to halt any decision-making process until adoption and implementation of a law that would remove foreign judges from the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The instruction came days after the Constitutional Court ruled that an RS law which defines all farmland in Republika Srpska the entity property – is unconstitutional.
The court decision sparked strong reactions among the Serb leadership, which further led them to block the decision-making process at the state level until their demand is met.
They met again last Thursday to reiterate their stance, which the High Representative condemned.
“The gathering was de facto related to the implementation of the Republika Srpska (RS) policy of blocking the decision-making process in the state-level institutions,” said the international community's envoy, appointed to oversee the implementation of the civilian aspect of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the 1992-95 Bosnian war.
“The attendance at the meeting is unacceptable as it de facto signals preparedness to take part in blocking the decision-making in the state-level institutions. Also, it seriously undermines the professional, ethic and personal integrity of attendees and the perception of independence of the institution they represent. Heads of independent institutions are legally obliged to ensure the independence of the institution from political interference, and to refrain from any action that may undermine the institution they represent or the institution’s independence,” said Inzko.
The foreign envoy, who is the final interpreter of the State Constitution, also reminded that the state-level officials from Republika Srpska are wrongly called the entity representatives. They are the representatives of the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“Under Annex 4 to the General Framework Agreement for Peace in BiH (the BiH Constitution), state-level institutions and state-level officials carry out their duties in accordance with the Constitution of BiH and decisions of the BiH institutions and not entities,” said Inzko, adding:
“I would like to reiterate that the state-level officials who attended the gathering of 20 February 2020 in East Sarajevo (Istocno Sarajevo), as all other state-level officials, have the responsibility to strictly abide by the BiH Constitution and the law and they are obliged to ensure full unimpeded functioning of the state institutions, including swift decision-making process.”