Bosnia And Herzegovina

CrisisWatch Bosnia And Herzegovina

Deteriorated Situation

Lawmakers in Republika Srpska adopted Election Law, escalating confrontation with High Representative and threatening constitutional order; draft UN resolution commemorating Srebrenica fuelled tensions. 

Lawmakers in Republika Srpska (RS) voted to adopt entity-level Election Law. National Assembly of self-governing entity RS 19 April adopted Election Law transferring state-level competencies for elections and referendums to entity; move came amid escalating tensions between Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik and High Representative Christian Schmidt over latter’s 26 March decision to impose changes to state-level Election Law using his executive powers. Ahead of RS vote, EU 18 April warned of “serious consequences” if any action is taken to undermine Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) territorial integrity, while U.S. Embassy in capital Sarajevo 12 April vowed to respond as Dodik “pursues his secessionist agenda and pushes BiH toward conflict”. Bosniak delegates in RS People’s Council 29 April claimed law violates their vital interests and appealed to RS constitutional court.

Upcoming UN vote on commemorating Srebrenica ignited tensions. Draft UN resolution to declare 11 July as “International Day of Reflection and Remembrance of the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide” fuelled tensions. Dodik 18 April organised rally in RS city Banja Luka — with 50,000 people and top Serbian officials in attendance — against draft, which UN General Assembly will vote on in May. During rally, Dodik acknowledged “crime” at Srebrenica but denied it was genocide; he also vowed RS would become one country with Serbia “as soon as the first opportunity arises”. 

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