High representative warns of unprecedented attack on Bosnia's constitutional order by Bosnian Serb politicians

High representative warns of unprecedented attack on Bosnia's constitutional order by Bosnian Serb politicians
The UN Security Council unanimously adopts a resolution renewing the authorisation on the multinational stabilisation force (EUFOR ALTHEA) in Bosnia. / UN Photo/Loey Felipe
By Denitsa Koseva in Sofia November 3, 2023

The international community’s high representative Christian Schmidt warned that top politicians from Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska are carrying out "unprecedented attacks" on the Dayton peace agreement and the country’s constitutional and legal order.

In his latest report to the UN’s secretary-general Antonio Guterres, Schmidt said that the responsibility for the attacks rests with the authorities of Republika Srpska and its President Milorad Dodik, who is subject to international sanctions for threatening the Dayton peace agreement.

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

Dodik, who has been threatening that Republika Srpska will secede from Bosnia for years, and his ruling SNSD party have taken several steps towards actual secession over the past months, including rejecting Schmidt’s authority and that of the state-level constitutional court.

Moreover, in the past days Dodik has once again repeated that all Serbs in the region should re-unite in one big state.

Schmidt noted that Dodik and SNSD continued with pursing a dangerous policy of unilaterally imposing a misleading interpretation of the general framework of peace agreement (GFAP) and the constitutional framework of Bosnia with claims they stick to the hypothetical concept of “original Dayton”.

“This concept negates the continuity between the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and BiH as contained in Article I.1. of the BiH Constitution and presents the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a union of states or confederation of two “state-forming” entities which delegated only limited powers to the BiH State,” Schmidt said.

“The State of Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a union of states or a confederation. There is only one state on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina and that is Bosnia and Herzegovina itself. The RS is not a state, but an entity which is part of the sovereign state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Under the Constitution of BiH as set forth in Annex 4 to the GFAP, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina continued its legal existence as a state with its internal structure modified,” he also noted in the report.

Schmidt added that the international community has tools to counter the threats to the Dayton peace accord that has ended the 1992-1995 bloody Bosnian war and that these tools must be maintained and strengthened.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council extended the mission of the European Union military deployment in Bosnia, the EUFOR Althea Mission, in the country.