The Speaker of the National Assembly of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity said that the institution acted in line with the constitution when it adopted a draft law that, if passed, would establish a parallel High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) in the entity which would work separately than the state-level one.
Cubrilovic spoke about the issue after the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), the international institution overseeing Bosnbia’s peace process, condemned the move by the RS National Assembly.
The development is part of an initiative to withdraw the RS entity from BiH state institutions, which many analysts said brought the country into the biggest crisis since the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement was signed.
RS political leadership, however, argues that the institutions it wants to withdraw from and establish on the entity level were the result of reforms that were made under pressure from the international community, most notably the Office of the High Representative, the official overseeing the civilian implementation of the Dayton Agreement.
Among those institutions are the BiH army, tax authority and judicial institutions. The HJPC is Bosnia’s top judicial institution which appoints judicial officials in the country.
“The National Assembly of the Republika Srpska adopted this law in the form of a draft and sent it for public debate, lasting 60 days. After that, the law is sent to the parliamentary procedure in the form of a proposal, and only then is it adopted and published in the Official Gazette,” Cubrilovic explained.
He argued that the RS National Assembly “acted in accordance with law and justice.”
“The High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of the Republika Srpska existed before until it was abolished in 2002 by the High Representative in BiH and the Law on the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council at the level of BiH was imposed,” he said.
“In that way, the High Representative took over the powers of the parliament and passed laws for which he had no legitimate and legal right,” he added.
Cubrilovic also criticised the response of international actors such as the PIC and the EU, arguing that their comments are without basis and that the RS National Assembly is “still the most functional and efficient parliament in BiH.”
“According to the BiH Constitution, the judiciary is under the jurisdiction of the entities, so the Republika Srpska is not trying to take over anything that does not belong to it,” Cubrilovic said.