News 17 Dec 15

Euro Parliament Condemns Bosnian Serb Referendum Plan

In a resolution marking the 20th anniversary of Dayton peace agreement, European MPs urged Bosnia’s Serb-led entity Republika Srpska not to hold a referendum challenging the authority of the state judiciary.

Denis Dzidic
The European parliament in Strasbourg.

The resolution adopted by MPs in Strasbourg on Thursday expressed concern about the plan to hold the referendum and about Republika Srpska’s decision to stop cooperation with the state-level police after raids on official buildings in the entity last week in search of evidence of war crimes committed by Serbs.

“The planned referendum is a challenge to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said the resolution backed by 525 out of a total of 754 European lawmakers.

The European MPs said that all objections to the functioning of the state judiciary should be solved within the EU-backed ‘structured dialogue’ on justice sector reforms.

The initiative to hold the referendum was launched by the president of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, in July this year, because of alleged bias in war crimes cases against Serb victims.

Voters will be asked whether they support the “anti-constitutional and unauthorised laws imposed by the High Representative of the international community, especially the laws imposed relating to the [state] court and the prosecutor’s office of Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

The European Parliament resolution also emphasised the significance of the Dayton peace agreement in stopping the 1992-95 conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina which killed more than 100,000 people and displaced another 2.2 million.

It urged the Bosnian authorities to work on creating a new constitutional structure which will guarantee the needs of all communities in the country and ensure a functioning state.

“The authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina are called on to continue working on reconciliation, democratic development and stabilisation,” it said.

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