News 07 Nov 17

Republika Srpska Postpones State Judiciary Referendum

After a marathon session, the Bosnian Serb parliament suspended a decision to hold a controversial referendum challenging the powers of the country's state-level judiciary.

Danijel Kovacevic
Banja Luka
Photo: National Assembly of Republika Srpska.

After 18 hours of debate, the National Assembly of Republika Srpska – Bosnia and Herzegovina's Serb-dominated entity – adopted a proposal by the ruling coalition to halt a recent decision to hold a referendum on the powers of the state court and prosecution.

A special parliamentary session convened to deal with the issue saw fierce quarrels between opposition MPs and Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik.

The session, which began on Monday at 10am local time, ended early Tuesday morning at 4.30am, when 46 out of 83 deputies voted to suspend the referendum.

Parliament supported an initiative to organise the signing of a petition, which will pose a question identical to the referendum question.

The ruling majority in National Assembly of Republika Srpska pushed through the decision to call a referendum on the state judiciary in July 2015.

Republika Srpska politicians see the state judiciary as biased against Serbs, especially in war crimes cases.


However, it was not published in the National Assembly’s official gazette until September 20 this year, drawing criticism from opposition parties which said that Dodik had manipulated the issue to gain support in elections.

NOTE: This article was amended on November 8, 2017 to clarify that the proposed referendum was about the powers of the Bosnian state court and prosecution.

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