In Bosnia, Laws Which Threaten the Disintegration of the State, Have Been Revoked
International peace observer in Bosnia, High Representative Christian Schmidt annulled two laws that were passed by the parliament of Bosnian Serbs, in defiance of the terms of the Dayton Peace Agreement that brought an end to the war in the 1990s.
Reuters reports that Schmidt, who holds the authority as the international High Representative in Bosnia to enact laws and dismiss officials who obstruct, also made amendments to a law that allows for criminal prosecution of those who attack state institutions.
"The recent decisions of the People's Assembly of the Republic of Serbian directly violate the constitutional order of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Dayton Peace Agreement," stated Schmidt at a press conference in Sarajevo.
Schmidt was referring to the legislation passed by the Autonomous Republic of Bosnia's Serbs to suspend the rulings of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and halt the publication of directives and decisions made by the High Representative in the official gazette.
The Dayton Peace Agreement brought an end to the nearly four-year-long war, which claimed the lives of approximately 100,000 people, and divided Bosnia into two autonomous regions - the Serbian Republic, predominantly inhabited by Serbs, and the Federation, where Bosniaks and Croats reside, connected by a weak central government.
Milorad Dodik, the pro-Russian separatist president of the Serbian Republic, who has long criticized the presence of foreign judges in the court, initiated the vote after the court decided last week to change the rules to be able to convene sessions and make decisions without Serbian judges.
The Serbs claim that they do not recognize Schmidt, appointed in 2021, as the High Representative, as his appointment was not approved by the UN Security Council.
"The Republic of Serbian will not accept any decision from a fake high representative," stated Dodik, against whom the United States and the United Kingdom imposed sanctions for corruption and obstructing peace.
Schmidt, in turn, declared that his decisions take effect immediately.
The US Embassy welcomed Schmidt's decision, concurring that he was upholding the Dayton Peace Agreement and the Constitution, which uphold the rule of law in Bosnia.
"The United States supports the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and multi-ethnic character of Bosnia and Herzegovina and will continue to hold accountable those who violate the Dayton Agreement for their actions," the embassy statement read.
Earlier, it was reported that the Serbian Republic (a separate region within Bosnia and Herzegovina) began enacting laws that would effectively lead to its secession from the unified country.
A significant step in this direction was the recent decision of the parliament of the Serbian Republic to suspend the rulings of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
"We are seriously considering the possibility of declaring independence and separating from the Serbian Republic," stated the president of the Serbian Republic, Milorad Dodik.