The unity that Serb parties members in RS National Assembly showed at the beginning of the special session on Monday, had broken apart by the end of session, later same evening.
The special session was scheduled at the demand of Serb member and actual Chairman of the BiH Presidency, Mladen Ivanic, in order to reach a unified solution agreed by all Serb parties in RSNA about the review of International Court of Justice judgement in case BiH against Serbia and Montenegro for genocide. At the beginning of the session all parties condemned this “unilateral and harmful act” of Bosniak member of BiH Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic. The discussions were full of phrases such as “illegal act”, “unilateral move which is not in the service of citizens”, “Izetbegovic privatization of joint institutions”etc. It was a rare chance to see the SNSD led coalition, which is ruling coalition in RS level, and coalition led by SDS, which is part of ruling coalition on BiH level but is the opposition in RS level, working together and express similar opinion.
At the end of the discussion, all parties agreed that it is necessary to adopt conclusions about this issue and officially, with one voice, condemn the initiative for review of ICJ judgement. But during the pause which was used by working group to define conclusions, it was obvious that something was not quite well. Later in the evening, when the session continued, opposition parties had a bunch of remarks on some of these conclusions. On the end of session, ruling parties with majority of voices voted in favor of conclusions as they are, but opposition parties MPs were restrained. Since Bosniak MPS had left the session earlier, nobody voted against.
They agreed about the part of conclusions which declared that RSNA rejected and strongly condemned the decision of the Bosniak leadership to initiate a review of the International Court of Justice judgment, which was made against the will of the other constituent nations in BiH. RSNA believes that such a method of decision-making, supposedly on behalf of BiH, used by representatives of the Bosniak people without respecting the procedures defined by the Dayton Peace Agreement and participation of other constituent peoples in decision-making, requires immediate and clear response of the international community, i.e. countries that are guarantors of the Dayton Peace Agreement.
Hidden in the conclusions however, was the call to RS representatives in joint BiH level to block the work of all state government institutions. In conclusions, RSNA called on RS representatives in the BiH institutions to use “all possible instruments to prevent any decision-making until the issues vital to RS are solved” and that RSNA is of the opinion that this Bosniak leadership decision represents the most direct violation of the Constitution of BiH and General Framework Peace Agreement for Peace in BiH.
From the opposition parties this was understand as a call for withdrawal from all state institutions, something which they are against. As opposition representatives explained to the media after the session, there was also a problem with the conclusion that mentions the obligation of Serb representatives in joint institutions to work on the reform of the judiciary system in order to expel foreign judges from judicial institutions on state level.
“We have not agreed on a conclusion that says that Serbs in BiH joint institutions should block the state because of BiH Court and Prosecutor’s Office of BiH. We are not ready to do that because of Dodik and many others who are being investigated by the court and the prosecutor’s office”, said the leader of the SDS, Vukota Govedarica, after the session.
Ruling parties representatives had different a opinion saying that it is “obvious that opposition parties in RS Parliament are under the influence of Bosniaks and just want to keep their position in BiH state level, regardless of the consequences for RS”. Also, they think that this situation is an opportunity to clear all open issues in BiH, but the opposition doesn’t agree with that. They want to clear them, but not in one go, but rather one at a time.
At the end of day, it was obvious that Izetbegovic can count on Serb disunity on any issue and that it is the biggest weakness of parties from RS. As such, he will be able to do whatever he wants, including challenging the name of “Republic of Srpska” on the BiH Constitutional Court, since it doesn’t cover all constituent nations in BiH. On Monday night it became evident to him that he might in fact get his way even with that fundamental issue./IBNA