Independence Day celebration sparks new disagreements in Bosnia

NEWS 28.02.2020 13:42
Source: Fena

And while the Bosniak and Croat members of Bosnia's State Presidency were hosting a reception on Independence Day of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Thursday evening at the Presidency building, the Serb Presidency member was writing a letter to foreign ambassadors, telling them that March 1 is not a state holiday and that there is no such date as the Independence Day.

“I accept the fact it is a democratic right of each of three constituent people in Bosnia and Herzegovina to mark their own national holidays, but attempts to display those national holidays as ‘the state holidays of Bosnia and Herzegovina’ and to use institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, such as the Presidency, the Parliament or the Council of Ministers for their celebrations, pose the most serious abuse of those institutions,” Dodik wrote in the letter.

The Serb leader said there is no consensus in Bosnia on the state holidays nor a law regulating this matter.

“Marking this non-existent holiday contributes to further confusion in Bosnia and Herzegovina and leads to even further divisions in the already divided country that Bosnia and Herzegovina is,” he stressed, arguing that with their presence in those celebrations, the ambassadors are “taking a side” and “get politically abused.”

But, one of the foreign envoys who attended the reception, thinks the opposite.

Valentin Inzko, the international administrator overseeing the implementation of the peace process in the country and final interpreter of the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA), which contains the State Constitution, said March 1 is a state holiday.

He recalled that 99 per cent of 66 per cent of Bosnia's population voted Bosnia's independence on March 1, 1992, and that the Constitutional Court later resolved all disputes regarding this holiday.

“The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina ruled that this date is legal, and until this changes the holiday can be celebrated,” said Inzko.

Addressing the reception, Presidency Chairman Zeljko Komsic pointed out that this date marks the day when Bosnia gained its independence, which citizens voted using a democratic mechanism of a referendum.

“Today, we must confront in a mature way all attempts of divisions that are being imposed, be it political, partisan or ideological. We are and should extend a hand to those who did not vote the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, or who are objecting the independence and sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina today. My message to all those fellow citizens is honest, brief and clear: This is also your country, Nobody wants to, will not and cannot seize it from you. It is ours, let's make it better than it is today, of not for you then at least for the children that are coming,” he said.