Sarajevo, November 10, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Mladen Dragojlovic
International community High representative in BiH, Valentin Inzko, will submit his fourteenth report to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, which covers a period from April to October this year. Inzko in this report emphasises several issues which influence the implementation of Dayton peace agreement but, also, mentions that he refrained “from using his executive powers, in line with the PIC Steering Board’s policy of emphasising “local ownership” over international decision-making”.
In the report, Inzko is emphasising that reporting period has been dominated by several notable developments. Among them are the decision of the RS authorities to hold a referendum that directly challenges the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP) and the threat of the RS-based Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) to hold an independence referendum in 2018, the entry into force of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), and other steps to advance the EU reform agenda such as the adoption of a new Federation Labor Law
“I regret that challenges to the GFAP have increased during the reporting period. Most seriously on 15 July 2015, the RS National Assembly (RSNA) adopted a decision to hold a referendum in the RS on the validity of the legislation on the Court and Prosecutor’s Office of BiH, and the applicability of these institutions’ decisions on the territory of that entity, as well as on the authorities and decisions of the High Representative. In other words, the referendum question proposes that the RS leaves the common judicial space of BiH. The RSNA took this step despite a clear prior warning on 14 July from the Steering Board Ambassadors of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) minus the Russian Federation, which did not join the PIC statement, Inzko mentions in his report.
He explains that, with the referendum at hand, the RS authorities are acting unilaterally in an area where the state of BiH, not the entity, has constitutional authority. They would, said Inzko, effectively ask citizens of the RS whether the entity should “opt out” of its requirement to comply with the laws establishing the state judicial authorities as well as the decisions taken by these authorities. By the opinion of the High representative, as such, the referendum constitutes an open challenge to the sovereignty of BiH and a violation of the RS’s commitments and obligations arising under the BiH Constitution as set forth in Annex 4 to the GFAP.
Inzko also noticed that the referendum also seeks to determine whether the authorities of the High Representative, in particular legislation enacted by the High Representative, should be recognized by the entity. As with the state judiciary, Inzko argues, the entity does not have the authority to make this determination, since the authorities of the High Representative arise under International law.
Inzko also warned that several other decisions of RSNA are questionable, such as the set of conclusions which, among other provisions, seek to oblige elected and appointed state-level officials from the territory of the RS in the BiH state institutions to request opinions from relevant committees of the RSNA prior to adopting decisions and legal acts at the state level.
“The conclusions also call on the government to propose amendments criminalizing participation in the “unauthorized transfer of competencies from the RS to the BiH level.” These conclusions represent a direct attempt to exert extreme pressure on State-level representatives from the RS to follow instructions from the RS and the current SNSD-led authorities, and more importantly, to subjugate the State-level institutions in violation of the BIH Constitution. Although not yet in force and subject to subsequent consideration by the RS Council of Peoples, these conclusions constitute a direct attack on the autonomy and independence of State-level officials and institutions”, Inzko says.