Bosnia’s Republika Srpska pulls out of state-level constitutional court

Bosnia’s Republika Srpska pulls out of state-level constitutional court
Controversial decision backed by 47 MPs in Republika Srpska's parliament, while two opposed it and 11 abstained. / NSRS
By bne IntelliNews April 27, 2023

The parliament of Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska (NSRS) ordered its four judges to quit the state-level constitutional court, claiming the institution is acting against the constitution.

This step will bring the entity closer to secession if implemented and could lead to a new spike of political tensions in the already highly unstable country.

Bosnia consists of two autonomous entities – the Muslim-Croat Federation and Republika Srpska. Each of them has its own institutions and there are also state-level bodies.

The decision was backed by 47 MPs, while two opposed it and 11 abstained.

The parliament adopted a conclusion first drafted on February 17, 2020, that the state-level constitutional court acts against the constitution.

“NSRS urges the judjes of the BiH constitutional court from Republika Srpska to resign until the NSRS decides otherwise,” the parliament resolution reads.

Republika Srpska’s parliament also adopted a decision that the entity’s MPs in the state-level parliament must draft a bill on the state-level constitutional court that would exclude the participation of foreign judges. That idea is not new and was initially presented in 2020.

The NSRS also re-approved a decision from December 2021 that the entity will withdraw its consent for the joint Bosnian armed forces, the judiciary and the tax system when the conditions are met. If the entity proceeds with that plan, it means secession from Bosnia.

Meanwhile, the European Union's military mission to Bosnia-Herzegovina said it is closely monitoring the situation in the country and has not perceived any danger to the security situation despite secessionist threats of Republika Srpska’s President Milorad Dodik.

Earlier in April, Dodik said he would pursue a union with neighboring Serbia if the issue with state property is not settled in favour of the entity and warned that the entity's police would patrol the boundary with Bosnia's other entity, the Bosniak-Croat Federation.

"EUFOR's Althea has an agile presence throughout the whole country and is conducting routine patrols all over Bosnia-Herzegovina in order to reassure all communities of our presence and enhance our situational awareness," Emer Kelly, spokesperson of the EUFOR’s Althea mission to Bosnia, told RFE/RL.

She added that the mission continues supporting Bosnian partner institutions in their efforts to ensure a secure environment in the country, and that they continue to cooperate and maintain contacts with local authorities through a network of liaison and observation teams.

EUFOR has been deployed in Bosnia since 2004. It comprises a total of approximately 3,500 personnel of whom 600 are currently deployed in country.