Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik's decision to block all negotiations and the work of Bosnia's state institutions, questioning the territorial integrity of the country is detrimental to the country and its development as well as its EU accession process, German Foreign Ministry told Deutsche Welle on behalf of the countries of the Quint (US, UK, Germany, Italy and France).
“Secessionist rhetoric, as well as blockades or ultimatums, pulls the country back. Bosnia and Herzegovina needs functional institutions to move forward on its reform path towards the European Union and to catch up with economically. In this respect, the rule of law is a key element, and the Constitutional Court is the central institution in all of this,” German Foreign Ministry said.
“Considering the challenges Bosnia faces, international judges in the Constitutional Court who were appointed by the head of the European Court of Human rights in line with the Bosnian Constitution, still play a crucial role,” the Ministry noted.
The authorities of the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska (RS) entity announced they would not take part in the decision-making process at the state level. The reason for this was the Court's decision regarding the appeal of several Bosniak MPs in the RS who appealed against the RS Law on Agricultural Land and the RS Law on Inland Navigation, stating that the RS is usurping state competencies and taking the land which belongs to the state.
The Court ruled in favour of the Bosniak MPs' motion, declaring several articles from those laws unconstitutional.
Following the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement which ended the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia, the country was subdivided into two semi-autonomous entities – the Bosniak-Croat shared Federation and the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska. Each entity has its own competencies and parliaments and each entity makes its own laws which must be in line with the state Constitution.
The RS authorities' demand is for the foreign judges which are now an integral part of the Court to be excluded from it, only leaving the local judges, only then will they start participating in the government's decision-making process.
“The Constitutional Court's decisions re final and binding as stated in the country's Constitution,” the Quint's joint statement said. “In this regard, we believe that Milorad Dodik's decision to block intra-country negotiations and the work of state institutions and to question the territorial integrity of the country is very detrimental to Bosnia and Herzegovina's development and to its accession to the European Union. Necessary reforms, especially those concerning the rule of law and socio-economic issues, as well as the need to resolve the issue of holding local elections in Mostar, are deliberately postponed indefinitely."
They added that the position of the German government supports Bosnia as a stable and functional country where the rule of law and its territorial integrity are respected. According to them, the central stabilizing factor is the compliance with provisions of the Dayton Peace Agreement in all its aspects.