The Bosnian Serb Chairman of the country’s tripartite Presidency left a Wednesday meeting with the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), an international body tasked with implementing the agreement that ended the Bosnian war, because of the absence of the flag of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated part in the room.
PIC was established in 1995 to implement the Dayton Peace Agreement and it is the international community body governing the country until it is deemed stable enough to govern itself. Bosnia’s top international official, the High Representative, who is tasked with monitoring the civilian implementation of the agreement, reports to PIC.
The hardline nationalist Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, who has been elected to the Serb seat of the Presidency, has been at odds with High Representatives for years, accusing them of breaching international law and imposing laws on the country.
Dodik, who has been advocating for the secession of the Serb-dominated semi-autonomous Republika Srpska (RS) entity from Bosnia for years, has a few weeks ago ordered an RS flag to be put up in front of his office in the Presidency.
The other two Presidency members, Bosniak Sefik Dzaferovic and Croat Zeljko Komsic, objected, saying that displaying the flag there violates the law.
It was subsequently removed.
A top official from Dodik’s Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), Stasa Kosarac, said at the time that the law governing the display of flags was, was imposed by a former High Representative and that the SNSD will not respect such laws.
The Bosnian Serb leader on Wednesday insisted that the flag should have been put up in the meeting between the Presidency members and PIC.
He apologised to the PIC members as he left the meeting, saying that according to article three of Bosnia’s Constitution, which is part of the Dayton Agreement, Bosnia is composed of Republika Srpska and the other semi-autonomous entity, the Federation (FBiH), and that this is why the RS flag should be displayed.
The move surprised the PIC members, as well as the other two members of the Presidency.