Serbs say they will remove their region from Bosnian army, justice and tax system

Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency member Milorad Dodik speaks at the Budapest Demographic Summit in Budapest, Hungary, September 23, 2021. REUTERS / Bernadett Szabo / File Photo

SARAJEVO, October 8 (Reuters) – Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, who advocates secession from the Bosnian Serb-dominated region, said on Friday that the Serbian Republic would withdraw from the armed forces, the highest judicial body and the tax administration of the Balkan country. .

The three institutions represent key pillars of the common security, rule of law and economic system in Bosnia, which was divided into two autonomous regions – the Serbian Republic and the Federation dominated by Croats and Bosnians – after its 1992-1995 war in which 100,000 dead and nearly 2 million left their homes.

Dodik, who is currently a Serbian member of Bosnia’s tripartite interethnic presidency, spearheaded measures to hamper the central government after a former peace envoy imposed a law criminalizing denial of genocide and crimes of war at the end of July.

“The agreement we have given for the law on defense, the Superior Council of Magistrates and Prosecutors and the Authority of Indirect Taxes will be withdrawn,” Dodik said after a meeting of his SNSD party. in the main Bosnian Serb town, Banja Luka.

“These decisions will be overturned. The National Assembly of Republika Srpska will adopt regulations and conclusions on how to regulate this,” Dodik said. The SNSD with its coalition partners holds the majority in the region’s parliament.

He said that several groups of experts were working on drafting the new constitution of the Serbian Republic and laws on the region’s defense, justice system and finances.

Dodik was blacklisted by the United States for violating the provisions of the Dayton Peace Accords which ended the war in Bosnia. He said the measures announced on Friday would not violate the constitution, which is part of the Dayton accord, as the three institutions were formed on the basis of decisions of international envoys for peace and not enshrined in the constitution.

He also said that the territorial integrity of Bosnia would be preserved.

Critics say the regional parliament cannot overrule decisions that have been approved by the state parliament.

Measures such as Friday’s announcement worsen the political crisis in Bosnia, where decision-making has been blocked for the most part in recent years by the conflicting interests of its rival ethnic leaders.

Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic in Sarajevo Editing by Matthew Lewis

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