Bosnian Serb leader threatens secession if Republika Srpska’s state property law is scrapped

Bosnian Serb leader threatens secession if Republika Srpska’s state property law is scrapped
Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik says Republika Srpska will enforce the new law despite ban by Bosnia's state-level constitutional court.
By Denitsa Koseva in Sofia March 9, 2023

Milorad Dodik, the president of Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska, said his entity will secede if a state property law, temporarily banned by the state-level constitutional court, is not applied. 

Bosnia consists of two autonomous entities – the Muslim-Croat Federation and Republika Srpska, each having their own parliament, government and president. There are also state-level institutions.

At the end of December, Republika Srpska’s parliament adopted the draft bill on immovable property used for the functioning of public authorities, which was strongly objected to by the Bosniaks as it ruled that all immovable property on the territory of Republika Srpska belongs to the entity.

This was in violation of an earlier ruling by the state-level constitutional court invalidating an earlier law passed by Republika Srpska lawmakers, that put immovable property under the control of the entity’s authorities.

Earlier in March, the state-level constitutional court temporarily banned the law’s implementation, after the international community’s high representative Christian Schmidt suspended the law’s application.

“If you steal our property, you have broken Bosnia & Herzegovina. We will not be in that BiH. This team of people will not discuss this issue in the Parliamentary Assembly or the Council of Ministers because the issue has been resolved,” Dodik told reporters in Banja Luka as quoted by N1.

Dodik said the entity will apply the law despite Schmidt’s ban. He insists that state property belongs to the two entities and that Republika Srpska will restore its jurisdiction over all property, including that which was previously transferred to the state.

"[T]he issue has been resolved because, according to the Dayton Agreement, the property belongs to the entities,” Dodik said on March 9.

Dodik also said that, following the constitutional court’s ruling, Republika Srpska will draft another law to take over the state property.

“We shall break away Republika Srpska if you try to steal our property. If it is a question of take it or leave it, we shall take it, so they leave it,” Dodik said.

He also put under question Bosnia’s EU path, saying this was not the only path. Dodik has for years been openly pro-Russian and pro-Serbian, and argues that the entity should secede from Bosnia and become part of Serbia.

Dodik also said that the fate of the EU is questionable, as “it will disintegrate after the withdrawal of the US from Europe”.