Bosnia’s Serb Entity Passes Law Rejecting Constitutional Court’s Authority

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On the request of the President of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, the National Assembly of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity on Tuesday passed a law declaring rulings of Bosnia’s Constitutional Court non-applicable in the entity.

Entity MPs stressed that the new law is only temporary, “until a new law on a state-level Constitutional Court, without foreign judges, is created by the state parliament”.

Dodik pushed the new law on June 23, after the court changed its quorum regulations. Under the new rules, it can now make decisions even if judges from Republika Srpska are not present, which Dodik characterised as  “unconstitutional”.

The same can be done if some Bosniak or Croat judges are not present. The change in regulations came after Republika Srpska authorities urged the only remaining Serb judge on the court to leave his post at the end of April.

“The National Assembly requests that … the issue of reforming the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, specifically the departure of foreign judges, be addressed as a priority,” said one of the conclusions of the assembly.

Three judges on the court are appointed by the European Court for Human Rights. Out of the remaining six, four are appointed by Bosnia’s Federation entity and two by Republika Srpska. 

The assembly also told the government of Republika Srpska to submit a proposal which will make actions contrary to the the new “Law on Non-Application of Decisions of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina” a crime.

The US embassy in Sarajevo condemned the move. It said the assembly had “launched a reckless attack on the [1995] Dayton Peace Agreement [ending the 1992-5 war in Bosnia] and the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina established by it.”

It said the constitution malde clear that “Republika Srpska must fully respect the decisions of the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the final and binding rulings of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

The Chairman of the House of Representatives of Bosnia’s state-level parliament, Denis Zvizdic, also condemned the new law as a “direct attack on the constitutional order of Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

He called on the international community’s High Representative in Bosnia and the state Prosecutor’s Office “to utilise their authorities and protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is the official beginning of the secession of the RS entity”.

Bosnian Serb leaders have been bickering over the court for years. The quarrel accelerated after a push by Republika Srpska to take over state property was declared unconstitutional by the court. It is like that the latest law will also be suspended by the court.

Source : Balkan Insight