Bosnia’s Republika Srpska quietly drops plans for “foreign agents” law

Bosnia’s Republika Srpska quietly drops plans for “foreign agents” law
The legislation was initiated by Republika Srpska's pro-Russian President Milorad Dodik.
By bne IntelliNews May 28, 2024

The government of Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska has decided to shelve a draft law on “foreign agents” similar to those in Russia and Georgia without explanation.

The news broke shortly before the Georgian parliament voted to overturn a presidential veto on its own law that will label Western-backed civil society and media outlets as "foreign agents".

The law was adopted by the government in September last year upon the request of Republika Srpska’s President Milorad Dodik, despite fierce criticism.

The law, initiated by pro-Russian Dodik, envisages the establishment of a special register of non-profit organisations that receive funding from abroad.

The government claimed at the time that the existing law on associations and foundations funded from abroad regulates the founding, registration, inner organisation and cessation of their work, but not their transparency.

It also claimed that the political activity of NGOs, the publication of their financial reports and the supervision of the legality of their work and other provisions should be regulated.

However, critics of the law say it will limit freedom of speech and violate basic human rights.

Prior to the vote, the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) urged the parliament to reject the bill, saying it goes against the very notion of democracy.

Georgia is facing Western approbation for adopting its own law. Western countries are now expected to impose sanctions on Georgia and its negotiations to join the European Union will in effect be suspended before having been even begun.

High Representative of the European Commission Joseph Borrell expressed the EU's deep regret over the veto override. He said that the law "goes against EU core principles and values" and "will negatively impact Georgia's EU path".