BiH Foreign Minister warns: Serbian investment could cause legal issues

NEWS 17.05.2021 14:42
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Source: MVP

Bosnia's Deputy prime minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Bisera Turkovic warned Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic that they could come across possible legal and economic issues if they continue with the construction of Buk Bijela Hydroelectric power plant (HPP) on the Drina river because the BiH Constitutional Court is yet to decide on the issue arising from its construction.

“Bosnia and Herzegovina supports international and regional projects which were prepared in accordance with local laws and international law. However, the authorities of the Republic of Serbia must know that by entering the construction project of the HPP Buk Bijela, which does not have the approval of the State of BiH and which is contrary to the BiH Constitutional Court decisions, they are risking not only economic damages but also harming the good neighbourly relations. BiH is ready to accept all investments and joint projects that are in the interests of citizens of both countries, but only with the respect of the Constitution, the law and the institutions of BiH,” Turkovic said.

She called on Serbian authorities to return the cooperation into the international framework and the framework of their declared position of respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of BiH.

“The authorities of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity have been refusing to implement the verdicts of the BiH Constitutional Court for a long time and they are continuing to dispose of state property, ie the potentials of the Drina River. I want to believe that Serbia does not support such illegal activities and that it will not invest the money of its taxpayers in projects that violate the laws and decisions of Bosnia’s Constitutional Court,” Turkovic concluded.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and the Prime Minister of the RS entity Radovan Viskovic will lay the foundation stone for the HPP Buk Bijela on the river Drina this Monday, the construction of which will be financed by the power companies of Serbia and the RS in the amount of 220 million euros.

All this is happening while waiting for the decision of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the request of 24 members of the House of Representatives of Bosnia’s Parliamentary Assembly to comment on resolving the dispute with the RS entity caused by the decision for construction and use of HPP Buk Bijela, HPP Foča and HPP Paunci on the river Drina.

“As a foreign investor investing in BiH, in this case the RS, we have done an analysis of all the rules, laws, the Constitution, all the relevant documents. When we invest we invest in the best of intentions so that our investment is legally protected. According to all the analyses we have done, in the last 20 years, around 280 different concessions have been issued on the territory of BiH. All these different concessions were issued by either the entities or the cantons. No one else. There was no problem with any of these concessions. If our investment turns out to be problematic, it would mean that all of these previous, at least 280 investments, are also problematic. This would lead to complete legal uncertainty at the BiH level,” said Brnabic.

The applicants believe that the RS authorities violated the BiH Constitution and the right of the state of BiH to dispose of state property through these activities.

The appellants claim that the mentioned activities violated the final and binding decisions of the Constitutional Court of BiH, which established that river water and riverbeds represent a “public good” that is part of state property (property of the state of BiH).

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