US imposes new sanctions on Bosnian Serb leader Dodik

US imposes new sanctions on Bosnian Serb leader Dodik
Milorad Dodik, leader of Bosnian Sebr / Presidency of BIH
By Eldar Dizdarevic in Sarajevo January 6, 2022

The US imposed new sanctions on Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik and the Banja Luka television station Alternative Television (ATV) for corruption and threats to the stability and territorial integrity of Bosnia & Herzegovina on January 5.

In a statement, the US Treasury Department accused Dodik, who is already under US sanctions, of corruption and a threat to the stability and territorial integrity of Bosnia.

The finance ministry also imposed sanctions on Banja Luka's ATV, accusing Dodik of buying it to boost his own agenda and exercising personal control over it. This decision freezes any property of Dodik and ATV in the US and forbids US citizens to do business with them.

“If they think they will discipline me in this way, they are very wrong. I have now only got a motive to fight for the rights that have been taken away from us for 26 years,” Dodik, the Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, said in response to the move. 

The US State Department also barred current and former Bosnian officials from entering the United States, targeting Milan Tegeltija, a former president of the high judicial council, and Mirsad Kukic, a lawmaker and president of the Movement for Democratic Action.

“These designations render Tegeltija and Kukic ineligible for entry into the United States. Their actions undermined the rule of law, the public’s faith in their government’s democratic institutions and public processes, and peace and prosperity for BiH’s citizens,” the statement said. 

The decision comes weeks after the National Assembly of Republika Srpska adopted a non-binding decision to withdraw from the armed forces, the judiciary and the state's tax system on December 9.

This followed repeated threats from Dodik, the former president of the entity, that it would quit the institutions, seen by observers as a step towards the breakup of Bosnia, and potentially leading to another war in the country. 

He said after the vote that the parliamentary proposals would be concretised in the coming period. “After that, we will form institutions at the entity level. These will be concrete steps after today’s [December 9] debate in the RS National Assembly,” Dodik said in December.