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Bosnia & Herzegovina

BiH: Citizens demand OHR to act against those who “endanger constitutional order”

A group of citizens, mostly from Sarajevo, called on the International Community’s High Representative in BiH, Christian Schmidt, to take action against those politicians who “endanger the constitutional order”.

During a peaceful protest in front of the Office of the High Representative on Monday, they demanded acts that would “prevent another conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. Translated, it means that they demanded that HR Schmidt use the “Bonn powers” to sanction the leader of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) and the Serb member of the BiH Presidency, Milorad Dodik, for his intention to withdraw Republika Srpska’s consent to the establishment of the BiH Armed Forces and other institutions that were previously transferred from the unit level to the state level. The BiH Constitution, as part of the Dayton Peace Accords, sets out the minimum state responsibilities and provides for other powers to be transferred to the state level only with the consent of the three constituent nations in BiH – Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats.

But, there is nothing about returning competencies from the state to the level of subjects. Bosnian politicians read this as a fact, saying that consent cannot be withdrawn, while the Serbian side says it is not prohibited by the Constitution.

Some protesters said that “the three national leaders in BiH – Milorad Dodik, Bakir Izetbegović and Dragan Čović – should leave their offices”.

Protesters in Sarajevo, gathered by the RestartBiH organization, see this as a major threat and even the possibility of a new war in which Republika Srpska would fight for independence and the Federation of BiH for territorial integrity.

Suad Gjozic, of RestartBiH, said BiH is a society ruled by three “ethno-oligarchies”.

“They say that there are 150 political parties in the country. Where are they? I do not see them here. “This moment is more than critical and they must express their position and be here where ordinary citizens have come to express their dissatisfaction due to inaction to disrupt the constitutional and legal order,” said Gjozic.

“We will hold the High Representative and the institutions of the international community accountable if they conduct and sponsor political negotiations that would represent a trade-off between the rule of law, namely the BiH Constitution, decisions of the BiH Constitutional Court and international trials, and “Political agreements that would grant amnesty to politicians who openly violate the Dayton Accords and block the work of BiH institutions,” Gjozic said.

At the time the citizens protested, HR Schmidt was not in the OHR building. In fact, he was not in BiH at all, but that did not stop the group of protesters from entering the building to hold the meeting with officials that Schmidt appointed for his representatives.

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