Following last years’ tradition and only a few days before the speech of the International Community High Representative to BiH, Valentin Inzko, at the session of the UN Security Council (UNSC), the authorities of the Republic of Srpska sent their report to the UNSC to state their view on the present situation in BiH.
Seeminlgy, the difference in this report is that RS is trying to justify the political moves of the past several months. The greatest part of the report is about the judiciary system in BiH, since several cases triggered a dispute on the independent work of BiH’s Court and the Prosecutor’s Office.
The report said that the local Constitutional Court must be reformed if BiH is to become a fully sovereign country and move forward with EU integration. Three of the nine members of the Court are foreigners, said the report, and stressed that they are selected by the President of the European Court of Human Rights without domestic consent.
“No other sovereign state in the world has seats on its constitutional court reserved for foreign judges, let alone judges appointed by a foreign individual judge without a requirement of domestic consent. The foreign judges were a transitional measure that was never intended to be in place for the long term. The terms of the BiH Constitution indicate that the parties’ intent was for the foreign judges to be a temporary feature of the court and for legislation to be passed after five years replacing them. Unfortunately, the SDA and other Bosniak parties have blocked all legislation to replace the foreign judges with BiH citizens. They want the foreign judges to remain because they reliably vote to centralize BiH, regardless of a case’s constitutional merits,” stated the RS authorities in their report to the UNSC.
Further explaining why foreign judges must be replaced by local staff, the RS report underlined that the most precious asset of any court that exercises judicial review is public legitimacy. Without such legitimacy, the public will not accept court decisions, especially those that nullify legislation approved by democratic institutions.
“The Constitutional Court’s legitimacy is badly undermined by the presence of foreign judges, the court’s lack of independence, and the foreign judges’ political alliance with Bosniak judges to serve the agenda of the High Representative and the SDA,” read the report.
Moreover, it was emphasized that “the Constitutional Court’s legitimacy suffers badly from the court’s subservience to the High Representative” quoting a foreign former judge, Austrian professor Joseph Marko, who admitted the following after leaving the Constitutional Court: “The entire system was based upon the tacit consensus between the Court and the High Representative that the Court in exercising its power to review all legislative acts whomever they will emanate from will always confirm the merits of his legislation as can be seen from those judgments.”
RS complains also about the decisions regarding the military properties in BiH, which are on state records. Something that is, as RS authorities consider, an “unlawful act in contrary to BiH Court’s previous decisions.” As well, the report reads that “the effort to transfer state property to BiH ownership is part of the SDA’s effort to undermine Republika Srpska.”.
“The political history of BiH since the Dayton Accords has revolved largely around the SDA’s drive to unconstitutionally centralize power in Sarajevo at the expense of Republika Srpska and its people. For years, the SDA relied on the Office of the High Representative to carry out this agenda through lawless decrees and coercion. More recently, as international support for the High Representative’s claimed dictatorial powers has eroded, the SDA has relied on its domination of BiH judicial institutions. These include the BiH Court and Prosecutor’s Office illegally created by the High Representative and the BiH Constitutional Court. The recent Han Pijesak decisions attempting to transfer RS property to the BiH Ministry of Defense are part of the SDA’s continuing agenda to undermine and weaken Republika Srpska”, said the report.
As regards to Srebrenica warlord Naser Oric, RS wrote that in 1995, Orić bragged to Western reporters about atrocities in the area, showing them videos of Serbs’ bodies and slaughtered heads. According to the report the Toronto Star reporter recounted, “Orić grinned throughout, admiring his handiwork. . . When footage of a bullet-marked ghost town appeared without any visible bodies, Orić hastened to announce: ‘We killed 114 Serbs there.”
Similarly, a Washington Post reporter wrote that “Orić’s war trophies don’t line the wall of his comfortable apartment,” but instead are “on a videocassette tape: burned Serb houses and headless Serb men, their bodies crumpled in a pathetic heap.”
RS recalls that authorities from this BiH entity submitted to the BiH Prosecutor’s Office a 110-page report, supported by more than 600 evidential attachments, of alleged war crimes by Orić and his subordinates.
“The report includes 50 separate counts, each detailing specific events during which war crimes were committed. One count, for example, describes murders of civilians and other war crimes committed during a 16 January 1993 attack, commanded by Orić and his lieutenants, on 12 villages in the Skelani area. The count, which is supported by 37 evidentiary attachments, identifies 65 killed in the attacks, many of them women or children; six of the women were over the age of 70 when they were killed. According to another count—supported by 48 evidentiary attachments—Orić commanded a Christmas Day attack on Serb villages in the Kravica area in which civilians were massacred. The count identifies 36 persons—including women and the elderly—who were killed during the attack.”
Among other complaints, RS stressed the necessity of a judiciary system reform in BiH and harmonization between local and EU standards. Also, they accused BiH level institutions for EU route obstruction.
Interestingly, and as mentioned in the very beginning, RS sent the report almost ten days before Inzko’s speech -expected on November 7. According to unofficial information, in his address to the UNSC members, Inzko will severely criticise the country’s authorities and political leaders for lack of political will to solve the big problems, and for lack of will to adopt important laws and fight corruption…/IBNA