by Edith M. Lederer | The Associated Press
UNITED NATIONS – The top international official in Bosnia called the escalating political crisis in the country the most serious since the 1992-1995 war, which killed 100,000 people, and warned in a report that aired Tuesday that “it has the potential to become a security crisis”. The potential is very real”.
High Representative Christian Schmidt, who oversaw the implementation of the 1995 peace accord that ended the devastating war, said leaders of the country’s Bosnian Serb-dominated entity systematically challenged its provisions and the powers granted to the federal government. has intensified its activities with the aim of grabbing
The US-brokered Dayton peace deal established two separate entities in Bosnia – one governed by Bosnian Serbs and the other dominated by the country’s Bosniaks, who are mostly Muslim, and Croats. The two institutions are bound together by joint central institutions, and all important decisions must be supported by both.
Schmidt said in the UN Security Council report that the actions of the Bosnian Serb entity, known as Republika Srpska, not only destroy the core principles of the agreement, but also destroy more than 25 years of progress in the creation of Bosnia. Directly threatens to undo. Herzegovina as a state is firmly moving towards the integration of the European Union.
The report was released on Wednesday ahead of a council meeting in Bosnia in which Schmidt is expected to present the report. Last July, the council rejected a resolution put forward by Russia, which has close ties to Bosnian Serbs and Moscow’s ally China, that would have immediately stripped the international high representative’s powers and fully status in a year. would have ended.
The High Representative’s powers have been criticized by Bosnian Serbs as not offering them the possibility to appeal their decisions, which have immediate effect. The Office of the High Representative has dismissed dozens of officials, including judges, civil servants and members of parliament, and reversed other functions since its inception.
Schmidt said that the government of Republika Srpska and the National Assembly sought to do away with state institutions by creating parallel bodies in the Bosnian Serb entity. At the same time, he said, the representatives of Republika Srpska elected or appointed to the National Assembly and state institutions either do not participate in decision-making or prevent decisions not in the interest of Bosnian Serbs.
“The effect is to impede the state’s ability to function and fulfill its constitutional responsibilities,” Schmidt said.
They pointed to “non-existent” legislative output, stalled reforms needed to move toward EU membership, stalled international agreements, and a failure to adopt a state-level budget for the second year in a row.
On 16 April, Schmidt suspended a law adopted by Republika Srpska that would have enabled Bosnian Serbs to take over state-owned property on their territory, calling it unconstitutional. Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodi said in an interview that Schmidt’s action could not stop the law from taking effect.
Another contentious issue has been the lack of agreement between Bosniaks and Croats in the federation on electoral reforms, which Schmidt said “has led Croat parties to doubt the conduct of the 2022 general elections, including funding for the elections.” Including stopping.”
Bosnian Croats have claimed discrimination and called for the voting system to be changed to ensure that Bosnian Croats choose the only Croat representatives. Bosniak officials have denied the claims, and talks on electoral reform are stalled.
Schmidt said the absence of an agreement “in no way calls into question the 2022 general elections that will be held in the first week of October under the same rules as in 2018.”
On May 4, after the report was drafted, state election officials scheduled a vote for October 2.
Some 3.3 million voters will choose three members of Bosnia’s multi-ethnic presidency, the central Bosnian parliament, the two institutions’ parliaments, and the president and vice president of Republika Srpska.
“The ever-increasing political crisis, most severe in the post-war period, has undoubtedly increased tensions in the country and poisoned the atmosphere, as evidenced by the many interracial incidents that occurred around the Orthodox holidays observed in January,” Schmidt said. ,
The High Representative said he spoke to protesters in January, who were calling on the international community to react “to the continued destructive behavior of the officials of Republika Srpska”.
“They know from history that in the current dynamics the potential for a political crisis to become a security crisis is very real and that the international community must respond appropriately,” Schmidt said.