The trial of Milorad Dodik, president of Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska, began on October 16 with the secessionist leader saying he does not understand the indictment and refusing to stand up at the entry of the presiding judge.
Dodik is charged along with Milos Lukic, acting director of the entity’s state gazette, with putting into force legislative changes that do not respect the acts of the international community's high representative Christian Schmidt.
Dodik also said he does not trust the state-level court because it had displayed the flag of the country’s other entity – the Muslim-Croat Federation – but not of Republika Srpska.
During the hearing, judge Jasmina Cosovic Dedovic said that Dodik showed disrespect for the court and that what he said he interprets as a plea of not guilty.
“This is purely a political process, it has no legal ground and I came here to say that,” Dodik told reporters after the hearing, N1 reported.
He added that his verdict has already been issued and that the state-level court was a “joint criminal enterprise” led by Schmidt, whose authority and legitimacy Republika Srpska rejects, and the US ambassador to Bosnia, Michael Murphy.
“I think this is all illegal, a circus. This is a circus that will discredit the judiciary. Of course, I shall appear to upcoming sessions,” Dodik said.
Republika Srpska’s ruling SNSD party has repeatedly claimed that Schmidt was not appointed according to correct procedures as he was elected by the peace implementation council (PIC) and there was no resolution by the UN. This claim persists despite a response by the UN’s Secretary General Antoniuo Guterres to the Serb member of Bosnia’s state-level tripartite presidency, Zeljka Cvijanovic, that Schmidt’s appointment was legitimate.