Bosnian Serbs to block work of state-level institutions following genocide case appeal

Bosnian Serbs to block work of state-level institutions following genocide case appeal
By bne IntelliNews February 28, 2017

The parliament of Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Serb-dominated entity, Republika Srpska, voted on February 27 to reject and condemn the decision of Bakir Izetbegovic – the Bosniak member of the country’s tripartite presidency – to launch an appeal against the International Court of Justice’s 2007 judgment in a genocide case against Serbia. MPs called on all Serb officials to block the work of the state-level institutions.

Four days earlier, Sakib Softic, a legal advisor appointed by Bosnia's tripartite presidency to represent the country with the ICJ back in 2002, filed the appeal on the request of Izetbegovic, but this was not approved by the other two presidents. The dispute over the appeal has provoked yet another political crisis in the already unstable country.

“The National Assembly of Republika Srpska is calling on all representatives of Republika Srpska in the common institutions of BiH to use all legal and political means to prevent any decision-making on the level of BiH,” reads the declaration adopted by Republika Srpska’s parliament.

The appeal concerns the ICJ’s 2007 ruling that the 1995 massacre of more than 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys from Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces was genocide, and that Serbia breached the Geneva Convention by failing to prevent it. However, the court decided that there was not enough proof to show that Bosnian Serb forces committing the genocide acted under the “direction” or “effective control” of Serbia.

Whether the Serb representatives will actually block the work of the state-level institutions is not known yet, but a few days earlier Savez za Promjene (SZP) threatened to withdraw from the ruling coalition because of Izetbegovic’s decision.

The SZP comprises a group of Serb parties that joined the state-level ruling coalition after the general election in 2014. The group is the largest in the state-level parliament, and it is part of the ruling coalition at both state-level and in the Muslim-Croat Federation. 

Also making up the ruling coalition are Izetbegovic's Party of Democratic Action (SDA), the centre-right Alliance for a Better Future (SBB) and the hardline Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZ BiH).

Republika Srpska’s parliament also is seeking the launch of a investigation into Izetbegovic and all those involved in the decision to lodge the appeal.

“The National Assembly of Republika Srpska believes that the member of the presidency Bakir Izetbegovic has breached the constitution of BiH and is demanding the launch of an investigation against all who have participated in the launch of the revision of the legitimacy of the judgement of the International Court of Justice,” the declaration reads.

The parliament also called on all international institutions and the countries that guarantee the Dayton peace accord that ended the bloody 1992-1995 Bosnian war to respond urgently to the situation.

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