According to his office, Bosnia’s Serb leader Milorad Dodik signed a controversial piece of legislation into law on Friday, setting up a potential confrontation with the country’s foreign ambassador.
Dodik, who has been advocating for independence from Bosnia for a significant amount of time, was the mastermind behind a string of incendiary political maneuvers, the most recent of which was the signing of the first of two contentious laws.
The US has imposed sanctions on the Kremlin supporter who serves as president of Bosnia’s Serb state, which is known as the Republika Srpska (RS).
The bill that Dodik signed on Friday effectively gives the Republic of Srpska the ability to circumvent or disregard judgments made by Bosnia’s international envoy.
The international envoy has the authority to dismiss elected officials and impose legislation, in addition to overseeing the civilian parts of the peace treaty that put an end to the conflict that raged in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995.
After the bill was signed into law, Dodik sent off a letter of criticism at Christian Schmidt, who is serving as the current ambassador, and submitted it to Schmidt’s office.
“The high representative in Bosnia does not exist, and it is disgusting and illegal to misrepresent yourself,” Dodik stated in his letter. “The high representative in Bosnia does not exist.”
After the RS parliament adopted the proposal one month ago, Dodik still has not put his signature on a new piece of legislation that would put a hold on the recognition of judgements handed down by the constitutional court of Bosnia by the Republika Srpska.
‘Ready to sacrifice’ — The rules have been extensively criticised in the West, with the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union all stating that the steps undermine a historic peace accord that ended the civil conflict in Bosnia in 1995.
The signing of the first measure into law by Dodik comes just a few days after Schmidt blocked the implementation of the controversial moves by enacting an executive order that deemed them illegal and prevented them from being put into effect.
The decision was announced by Schmidt over the weekend, at the same time that he also passed a new policy that would allow Bosnia’s court to prosecute lawmakers who oppose his orders and those of the Constitutional Court — with punishments ranging from up to five years of imprisonment. Schmidt made the ruling and passed the new measure simultaneously.
Dodik, however, has promised to oppose Schmidt.
In a statement made earlier this week, Dodik said, “I am ready to sacrifice and I am ready to go to the end because I have no choice.”
The Dayton Agreement, which was successful in putting an end to the war in the 1990s but was mostly unsuccessful in establishing a framework for the country’s political growth, was responsible for the creation of a dysfunctional administrative structure that has been in place in Bosnia ever since.
According to the terms of the agreement, Bosnia has been partitioned into two separate entities: a Muslim-Croat federation and the Republic of Srpska. A feeble central government serves as the connecting factor between the two entities.
Dodik has consistently fanned ethnic tensions and threatened to break away from Bosnia’s Serb entity over the years that he has maintained considerable control over that entity.