Based on still unofficial information, it is said that several EU countries wish to put the Republika Srpska’s president, Milorad Dodik, under sanctions, following what the U.S. administration did over a year ago. The U.S. Department of the Treasury had then said that “any property or interest in property of Dodik within U.S. jurisdiction is blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with him. Additionally, persons who provide material support to persons designated under this Executive Order, including Dodik, may also be subject to designation.”
Officially, sanctions are lifted due to his role in defying the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina in violation of the rule of law, thereby actively obstructing the Dayton Accords.
“The Dayton Accords provide for a democratic republic with a bicameral parliament, but assign many governmental functions to RS and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” the U.S. Administration had noted at the time. But, although it was expected that EU countries will follow the States’ decision, it did not happen.
At present, the situation is similar to that of a year ago. It means that Dodik is still refusing to implement the decision of the BiH Constitutional Court, holding the speeches about Republika Srpska independence and denying the competences of the state on entity territory. Dodik took further wrong steps with the military-like parade, that was considered part of the RS Day, on the January 9 celebration, when he allowed the participation of the presidents of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and, above all with the participation of the members of the Russian Motorcyclists club “Night wolves”. Additionally, RS decided to purchase several thousand pieces of automatic rifles. This decision did not ease the situation in BiH and did not convince the international community of Dodik’s pacifistic character.
Dodik’s announcement of candidacy for the Serb member of the BiH Presidency, caused additional unrest to the international community because his separatist ideas would enter a higher level of politics. EU sanctions, as it is considered, can shake Dodik’s political aspirations. As a result, the door for the present Serb member of the BiH Presidency, Mladen Ivanić, who belongs to the opposition, will be opened for a second mandate.
Many politicians in Federation BiH, but also in the RS, wish that EU stopped Dodik from reaching the Presidency. The Vice President of the Social Democrats Party BiH, Draško Aćimović, recently said that there was no similar example in the country’s history.
“It is possible that sanctions will create an opportunity for certain pressure on Dodik to choose the path. If he would recognise RS as a part of BiH, respected the BiH path towards EU integration, worked on cooling the tension, and decided to bring the country onto the same path with Serbia, Montenegro and fYROMacedonia, sanctions would be soon abolished. However, if he continues in that vein, sanctions would be used in order to prevent his candidacy. On top of that, sanctions would worsen RS’s economic blockade, something that would hurt the citizens,” Aćimović said.
On the other side, some analysts said that sanctions would show the weakness of the international community to stop Dodik’s separatist ideas in a peaceful manner, within the frame of dialogue and co-operation. Moreover, the sanctions would be directly interfering with BiH’s elections and would victimise Dodik.
Thus, the decision regarding the sanctions must be considered very carefully…. / ΙΒΝΑ