International community High Representative in BiH, Valentin Inzko, submitted on Tuesday the 52nd report to UN Security Council (UNSC) to explain his view on the current political, economic and social status in this country in the last six months.
Russian delegation in UNSC called the report the most biased and unfair report since the OHR’s existstence. They warned Inzko that he is the high representative for the whole country and not for just a part of it or for some individuals. Russian representative stressed that Inzko didn’t mention the fact that Oric’s case unsettled citizens’ trust the judiciary system.
Most of other UNSC members delegations supported the rule of OHR in BiH and the EUFOR ALTHEA operation. Also, they encourage leaders in BiH to continue the fight against corruption. The signing of the Transport treaty with EU was welcomed. Ukraine delegation called RS representatives to continue the cooperation with OHR and politicians in the whole country to continue reforms. Ukraine believes that the role of OHR will be very important in 2018 when general election are scheduled. As it was expected, the US Delegation supported OHR and Inzko in all aspects.
“US Sanctions to RS President Milorad Dodik should serve as a sign for all in BiH what it means if somebody violate the stability”, stressed the representative of US.
Inzko in his report stressed that the election campaign is more important for BiH politicians than is the economic situation.
“Although the 2018 General Elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) are a full year away, the country’s political leaders have already shifted their focus away from economic reforms towards divisive, nationalistic issues – which, in fact, have never been completely sidelined. The political parties, in pre-election campaign mode, have hardened already polarized positions on several contentious issues. In its 16 October conclusions, the European Union (EU) Foreign Affairs Council, ‘expressed regret that a divisive rhetoric rooted in the past and an early electoral agenda have slowed the pace of reform and affected the political climate’”, Inzko mentions in his report.
He adds that, on the positive side, BiH took some steps to implement the Reform Agenda and continued work on compiling answers to the European Commission’s Questionnaire. In addition, Inzko stresses, BiH signed a Transport Community Treaty with the EU and five other Western Balkans countries in September. The Treaty opens the door to infrastructure developments and improvements in the transport sector, and enables the signatories to harmonize their transport laws with the EU.
By Inzko’s opinion, disagreement continued during the reporting period about changes to the BiH electoral rules.
“In July, the BiH Constitutional Court struck down provisions of the election law regulating the indirect election of delegates to one of the chambers of the Federation parliament. The court had previously declared these provisions unconstitutional, agreeing in part with the appellant that the rules should be changed to ensure legitimate representation in the election of Serb, Bosniak and Croat members to the Federation House of Peoples. Political parties have opposing views as to whether the indirect elections to the Federation House of Peoples will be able to move forward after the 2018 General Elections if the gap in the law is not filled. If the Federation House of Peoples is not formed after the next elections, this would likely prevent the formation of a Federation government and the formation of one chamber of the state-level parliament, the BiH House of Peoples. There are precedents for such blockages due to delays in forming the Federation House of Peoples from 2001, 2007 and 2011, when the High Representative intervened to unblock its establishment.
Despite these risks, the parties in the state parliament have not yet begun a serious political dialogue to discuss potential amendments to the BiH Election Law addressing the issue. At its June meeting, the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board called on the relevant authorities to ‘ensure that all necessary conditions are met, including an appropriate legal framework, to enable the smooth conduct and implementation of the 2018 General Elections’”, Inzko told UNSC members.
He emphasizes that the RS President and other members of his Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) have reduced the frequency of calls for RS secession and the dissolution of BiH following the imposition of travel and financial sanctions against the RS President by the United States in January 2017. In September, Inzko stated, party representatives announced that the threat of holding a referendum on the status of the RS, which had been part of the SNSD’s official platform since 2015, would be taken off the table for the time being. However, he went on, RS President Milorad Dodik subsequently made numerous statements supporting eventual RS independence and union with Serbia. Similarly, some Croat politicians continued to advocate for the reorganization of the country along ethnic lines.
“In October, the RSNA adopted a Resolution on the Protection of the Constitutional Order and Assuring the Military Neutrality of the RS which asserted the entity’s neutrality vis-à-vis integration with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and sought to redefine the position and obligations of the entity under the GFAP, in particular under the Constitution as set forth in Annex 4. In response, I have been clear that the GFAP, including the Constitution, prevails over any act adopted by the RSNA and that foreign policy is an exclusive responsibility of the state institutions”, Inzko adds.
He states that, at the state and Federation levels, political disputes among the parties within the ruling coalition have reduced the chances for meaningful progress. The predominantly Bosniak Party for a Better Future (SBB), Inzko stresses, has openly sided with opposition parties in rejecting a report on the performance of the BiH Council of Ministers, leading to calls from the predominantly Bosniak Party for Democratic Action (SDA) for SBB to leave the coalition. Relations between the SDA and the Croat Democratic Union (HDZ BiH) have also soured over differing views on the need for changes to the BiH Election Law, the resolution of Mostar’s electoral system and the method of electing members to the BiH Presidency. A lack of political dialogue and cooperation between the SDA and the HDZ BiH has similarly stalled work in the Federation, where several key items of legislation remain unaddressed.
“In the Republika Srpska, opposition parties reacted strongly after the RS President and his ruling coalition successfully pressured the RS Supreme Auditor to resign over an unfavorable audit of entity finances. When the leadership of the RS National Assembly removed discussion of the issue from the parliamentary agenda on 12 September opposition delegates disrupted the session. RS Police, reportedly acting on the request of the RSNA leadership, physically separated the ruling majority and opposition delegates, while the majority continued the session in a separate smaller hall to which opposition delegates were denied access. Controversy was also generated by reports that police officers with weapons were present inside the parliament building”, Inzko says in his report to UNSC./IBNA