The German candidate for the international community's administrator in BiH, Christian Schmidt, will use the so-called Bonn powers which give the High Representative the power to amend the existing and impose new laws, former High Representative and minister in the German Government Christian Schwarz-Schilling told N1's Amir Zukic Wednesday, adding that he would only use the powers to amend laws.
When asked whether Schmidt would receive the Peace Implementation Council’s support for the office of the High Representative, Schwarz-Schilling said exclusively for N1 that not only will he receive the support, as expected, but he has already received it.
“The Chancellor's Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany held the talks. I can tell you that the talks have taken place. I learned from my friend Christian Schmidt this morning that this is a fact,” he said, adding that Germany and the United States are playing a joint role in BiH.
“You may be surprised, I talked to him this morning. We are good friends. He was in BiH on several occasions, by the order of the Chancellor. He was also involved in some negotiations immediately after my term as High Representative in BiH. I can say that just like me, he has feelings for BiH and the people there. We don't want to impose anything to anyone, but to help BiH, which needs help,” he stated.
When asked whether Christian Schmidt would use the so-called Bonn powers which give High Representatives in BiH the power to amend and impose laws and sanction politicians who threaten the peace and the Dayton Peace Agreement which ended the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia, Schwarz-Schilling said he would.
“He will certainly use the Bonn powers, but in amending the laws if they are bad. [He will use them] in terms of lifting the blockade. If one tries to legally regulate the situation with the Srebrenica genocide, so that it is not glorified, so that war criminals are not glorified, so that verdicts are not debated, such situations require the use of the Bonn powers,” the former High Representative told N1.
Speaking about the Biden administration and their announcements that they would take a more active role in Bosnia, the former minister in the German Government said that US President Joe Biden knows Bosnia, which he visited on several occasions
“If Bosnia needs to make progress, then it must have a positive response in the international community, as well. If these two nations get down to business – it will be the fulfilment of my long-standing demand. Without the United States and Germany, these things cannot be done,” Schwarz-Schilling pointed out.
When N1’s Amir Zukic asked whether this means that Schmidt’s deputy would also be an American, the former High Representative said could assume this.
Speaking about his time in Bosnia, Schwarz-Schilling said he sees it as his second homeland.
“It’s simply my second homeland. I was in BiH for a long time. I was in there during the war. I have been physically present there since 1993, I came to Sarajevo over the Igman mountain, I came through the blockade. I know BiH from the worst of times, I have my own image of BiH. The international community must help, the people themselves cannot oppose the aggression that has taken over BiH,” he recalled.
“When I became High Representative in 2006, I believed that responsibility should be given to local politicians, Bosniaks, Croats, Serbs and other peoples. That’s when, I admit, I was wrong, when I believed that people understood and matured enough to know what needed to be done,” Schwarz-Schilling said.
He said he then realised that it was too early to close the Office of the High Representative which oversees the civilian implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement. There were too many war criminals and those who continued to think the way they did during the war that representatives of other peoples in BiH were their enemies, he concluded.