The Chairman of the BiH Presidency Milorad Dodik said on Sunday, during the celebration of the Republika Srpska Army Day, that the decision to abolish the Army was a mistake, but he is convinced that the army still lives in the hearts and souls of the Serbs and that members of the Third Infantry (Republika Srpska) Regiment will always be ready to defend the freedom of RS and its people.
He stressed that he will do anything to see one-third of the soldiers of this Regiment in “Republika Srpska Army uniforms next year”. In a later statement, Dodik clarified that he was referring to formal uniforms not military/wartime uniforms.
After the war of 1992-1995, the three sides of BiH kept their military units. Croatian and Bosnian units joined to establish the Army of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Federation, and Republika Srpska was the second military unit. During the reform in 2005, Bosnia and Herzegovina Armed Forces were established with three Regiments. The third Regiment was derived from the Republika Srpska Army and it did not consist just of Serb soldiers but of professional soldiers from all nations.
Now, Dodik set this multinational Regiment under scrutiny saying that they are unable to defend “the freedom of RS and its people”.
“All of us who work on behalf of the people, no matter at what level, need to feel like part of an overall security system for the Serb people and this security system must be integrated and visible everywhere, both in politics and military, in order to clearly give a message to everyone who believes that the freedom of the Serbian people is a cheap thing”, Dodik said.
Dodik went further saying that “regardless of the organizational structure, the Supreme Command on the Security Structure, as well as in the Armed Forces, is located in Republika Srpska”.
“Together with the President of the Republika Srpska, I am committed to the fact that the Supreme Command for the members of our Third Infantry (Republika Srpska) Regiment is here in Banja Luka, regardless of the fact that the Constitution of BiH assigned the Supreme Command to the Presidency instead of the Army. I want to say that personally we will respect that decision and the Constitution, but this is my opinion”, Dodik pointed out.
The statements about the “revival” of the Republika Srpska Army caused more than bitter reactions from two other BiH Presidency Members. Croat member Željko Komšić, said that he would file a complaint to the Court against Dodik because of his statements which are in collision with the BiH Constitution.
“In any case, that’s a very dangerous statement. Dodik should take care of what he is saying because he will harm mostly the entity he represents but will also harm himself. What he said is a severe act of crime,” said Bosniak member of the BiH Presidency, Šefik Džaferović.
“The BiH Armed Forces will survive, only Dodik may end up in prison,” said Džaferović.
NATO HQ in Sarajevo stressed that BiH Law on Defence was enacted unanimously in the country’s Parliament by the ruling parties, said the NATO spokesman, in a press statement.
“Ever since its establishment, the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina have worked hard on the complex tasks of building a single military force, developing the capabilities to operate with NATO forces and providing assistance to civil authorities in case of natural disasters,” he said.
“The Alliance remains committed to supporting defence and security reforms in the country and advising authorities on tasks within the BiH-NATO Partnership for the Peace Program,” he added.
Other international organizations and mostly Bosnian politicians also condemned the statement./ibna