News 13 Mar 12

Bosnian Serb Veterans Hit by Pension Reforms

As Bosnian Serb war veterans protest over a new law on pensions, opposition parties in Republika Srpska have called for it to be scrapped.

Elvira Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo, Banja Luka

Bosnian Serb opposition parties have called for the withdrawal of a new law on war veteran pensions, saying it has caused dissatisfaction in the Republika Srpska.

The new law prescribes a new way of calculating pensions for around 36,000 Serb ex-soldiers, lowering the total amount paid.

“Any responsible government that wants to work in the interest of its citizens should withdraw this law,” Ognjen Tadic of the Serbian Democratic Party, SDS, said in Banja Luka on March 12.

Hundreds of former soldiers from several towns in Republika Srpska protested over the weekend, saying their pensions had been lowered significantly by the new law.

Apart from the SDS, another opposition party from the Bosnian Serb entity has also said  it wants to see the new law abolished.

Borislav Borenovic, of the Party of Democratic Progress, PDP, told reporters on Friday in Banja Luka that the law was unfair to the people who had created and defended the Republika Srpska during the 1992-5 war.

“When you take 75 euro away from someone who is only getting 230 euro, that is really humiliating,” Borenovic said.

The PDP said it will ask the entity Constitutional court to annul the new law if the government does not restore war veterans their full pensions.

Nenad Savanovic said his pension has been lowered from 240 to 160 euro as a result of the changes.

Stojan Sesic, whose son Zeljko died in the war, agreed. The pension that his family receives had been lowered from some 170 to only around 90 euro, he complained.

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