News 18 Jan 13

Bosnian Serbs’ Annual Celebration ‘Unconstitutional’

A Bosnian presidency member said the annual event marked by the country’s Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska was based on ethnic discrimination.

Denis Dzidic

The Bosniak member of the country’s tripartite presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, has appealed to the constitutional court to rule against the January 9 event in Republika Srpska.

“January 9, 1992 is the date when the assembly of the Serb people in Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted a declaration asking to be territorially divided from other peoples,” Izetbegovic said on Thursday.

“This document clearly shows that the intention was to create a state with a dominant Serb people, while the other groups would be excluded and discriminated against,” he said.

Izetbegovic said that during the Bosnian conflict, systematic ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks and Croats took place in Republika Srpska, as did war crimes which culminated at Srebrenica where more than 7,000 men and boys were killed after Bosnian Serb forces took control of the enclave in 1995.

He said that the fact that Serbian Orthodox Church events took place on January 9 – which is also the day of Republika Srpska’s patron saint, St. Stephen – showed that it was only for Serbs and not for the entity’s other ethnicities.

At the event this year, Republika Srpska’s President Milorad Dodik and Prime Minister Aleksandar Dzombic laid wreaths at a memorial to Bosnian Serb soldiers who died during the war. 

The 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the three-and-a-half-year war in Bosnia, created a system with two entities - Republika Srpska and the Bosniak-Croat Federation.

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