NEWS 17 Jan 17

US Sanctions Dodik for Obstructing Dayton Agreement

The US Treasury confirmed sanctions against Republika Srpska president Milorad Dodik on Tuesday after he defied rulings handed down by Bosnia's Constitutional Court.

Eleanor Rose
BIRN
Sarajevo
President of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik. Photo: Anadolu.

The US Treasury has sanctioned President of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, for obstructing the peace agreement that ended the war of 1992 to 1995 by defying the orders of Bosnia’s Constitutional Court.

The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, OFAC, confirmed it had added Dodik to its list of sanctioned individuals on Tuesday “for his role in defying the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina in violation of the rule of law, thereby actively obstructing the Dayton Accords”.

“By obstructing the Dayton Accords, Milorad Dodik poses a significant threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said John E. Smith, Acting OFAC Director.

“Today’s action underscores the US commitment to the Dayton Accords and supports international efforts for the country’s continued European integration,” he added.

The sanction means that any of Dodik’s property or interest in property in possession of a US individual or within US jurisdiction is blocked.

US individuals are also prohibited from engaging in transactions with him.

Advisor to Dodik, Aleksander Vranjes, responded to the news by telling media: “This is a desperate move from the [US] administration that is on the leave. Considering that the new administration showed good will, we can expect that he will be removed from the list.”

The designation was made in accordance with an executive order signed by President George W. Bush in 2003, authorising sanctions against “persons determined to have actively obstructed, or pose a significant risk of actively obstructing, the Dayton Accords”, said US ambassador to Bosnia, Maureen Cormack, in a video statement shared by the embassy on Twitter.

“Milorad Dodik has defied the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, violated the rule of law, and poses a significant risk of obstructing the implementation of the Dayton Accords,” she added.

On January 9, Dodik led celebrations for a public holiday called the Day of Republika Srpska, which had been banned by the country’s Constitutional Court.

He had also held a referendum in September to garner public support for the celebration, which had also been banned by the Constitutional Court on the basis that the holiday was linked to an event in the Serbian Orthodox Church calendar and therefore was discriminatory against non-Serbs living in the entity.

Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia’s prime minister, said it was unlikely that Belgrade would follow the US moves against Dodik.

"The government is the one that makes the decision, but I just don't know how to answer you. That we say that Serbia has seized the assets of Republika Srpska's president and that we are not allowing him to come to Belgrade - it is not realistic and it will not happen," Vucic told Serbian public broadcaster RTS.

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