NEWS 16 Feb 17

Bosnian Serb MPs Stage Boycott Over Serbia Genocide Case

MPs from Bosnia’s main two Serb parties boycotted a parliamentary session over a possible appeal against an International Court of Justice ruling that cleared Serbia of complicity in the Srebrenica genocide.

Eleanor Rose
Thursday's session of parliament went ahead without 13 representatives from Republika Srpska. Photo: Anadolu.

Lawmakers from Bosnia’s two largest Serb-led parties boycotted Thursday’s session in the state parliament because of what they described as a constitutional crisis over a proposed appeal against the 2007 judgment in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s case against Serbia at the International Court of Justice.

Representatives of the Serb Democratic Party, SDS, and the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, SNSD, have criticised the Bosniak member of the country’s tripartite presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, who said last week he was consulting with experts about whether an appeal could be launched.

Aleksandra Pandurevic, the head of the SDS caucus in parliament, said on Wednesday that Izetbegovic was trying to “circumvent” state institutions in order to launch the appeal.

“The problem is the behaviour – that someone is trying to be the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bakir Izetbegovic is not the presidency, nor the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Pandurevic said.

The Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, Mladen Ivanic, has warned that the appeal would be disastrous for ethnic relations.

“This would mean that we are entering a very serious crisis and I warn everyone to reconsider their actions,” Ivanic told media on Tuesday.

The Serb parties asked for Thursday’s parliamentary meetings to be postponed, but their request was rejected.

Milorad Dodik, president of Bosnia’s Serb-led entity and leader of the SNSD, told Banja Luka-based media RTRS on Wednesday that the boycott was “the only thing left for them [to do to show their protest]”.

Thirteen of the 14 lawmakers from the bloc in parliament that represents Bosnian Serb entity Republika Srpska did not attend Thursday morning's session, which was eventually cancelled for other reasons.

Bosnia has until February 26 to lodge an appeal with the ICJ over the judgment passed in 2007 that cleared Serbia of direct responsibility for the 1995 massacres of more than 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys from the east Bosnian town, which the court classed as genocide.

The judgment did however find that Serbia had failed in its duty to prevent genocide.

NOTE: This article was amended on February 16 to update the fact that the parliamentary session was cancelled.

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