Only in BiH can a holiday be a reason for political quarrel

Only in BiH can a holiday be a reason for political quarrel

Banja Luka, April 15, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Mladen Dragojlovic

Delegates in Republic of Srpska National Assembly discussed Wednesday on the Declaration aimed at condemning the official initiative of Bosniak member of BiH Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, to BiH Constitutional court to determine if the RS Day of January 9 is in accordance with the Constitution. He submit the initiative because other nations in RS and BiH consider this day as a day when Serb people declared independence and triggered events which led to the war.

For Serb people, this day is one of the biggest holidays. In fact, it is the date when Republic of Srpska was established as the “Serb Republic in Bosnia and Herzegovina” and it was also confirmed in the Dayton Peace Agreement. RS NA President, Nedeljko Cubrilovic, said on the session on Wednesday, that RS will never stop celebrating this day.

“We resolutely warn authorities and institutions of BiH and all those who submit this and similar initiatives that they do not contribute to reconciliation and tolerance among peoples and citizens and our message to those persons is that we will never give up the RS Day and its marking”, Cubrilovic said in the RS NA.

Delegates from Bosniak and Croatian parties, gathered in coalition “Fatherland” in RS NA, declared that they will not support the Declaration because it is a clear example of political pressure on the Constitutional court and judiciary system in BiH. A similar position came from international organizations, Office of the High Representative (OHR) and Office of the EU Special Representative (EUSR).

High Representative, Valentin Inzko, urged that members of RS NA “show their commitment to the Dayton Peace Agreement by refraining from adopting a Declaration that denies the authority of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The draft Declaration, for OHR, is of particular concern because it expresses the intent not to implement the pending decision of the Constitutional Court in the case concerning the Law on Holidays of the RS, as well as to review past decisions of the BiH Constitutional Court. This would directly contravene the Constitution of BiH, as set forth in Annex 4 to the Dayton Peace Agreement, which states explicitly that decisions of the BiH Constitutional Court are ‘final and binding’”.

In addition, said OHR in its announcement, the draft Declaration represents a direct challenge to the independence of the BiH Constitutional Court, insofar as it amounts to an unacceptable attempt by the RS National Assembly to exert political pressure on a Court in its deliberations on a particular case.

“The Constitutional Court is the only BiH institution that has the capacity to resolve disputes between BiH institutions and the different levels of government and has contributed greatly to the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement and the advancement of the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, OHR emphasised.

EUSR, in its reaction, said that Constitutional Court plays a central role in entrenching the rule of law throughout BiH, in accordance with its responsibilities and composition as clearly set out in the Constitution of BiH and that Rule of Law is a core principle on which any democratic country should be built.

“Any change of the current regime governing the Constitutional Court, including its composition, would require observance of the constitutionally prescribed procedures, as stipulated in the relevant articles of the Constitution. The political establishment should refrain from interferences and any action undermining the credibility, constitutional position and stability of the Court, as an institution that guarantees full adherence to the rule of law, and legal certainty in line with the Copenhagen Criteria for EU accession”, EUSR warned.

Discussion on the issue of the Declaration finished Wednesday late afternoon and MPs will vote for or against it on Friday afternoon.


photo: Mladen Dragojlovic