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Bosnia’s Peace Envoy Takes Action Against Defiant Serbs, Abolishes Their Rule

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Bosnia’s international peace supervisor Christian Schmidt on Saturday overturned controversial rulings by the country’s Serb parliament that challenged the peace deal that ended the country’s civil war.

“The recent decisions taken by the Republika Srpska Assembly represent a direct violation of the constitutional order of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the Dayton Peace Agreement,” Schmidt told reporters in Sarajevo.

Schmidt’s role as the High Representative International is to ensure compliance with the Dayton Peace Agreement.

Bosnian Serb lawmakers voted on Tuesday to suspend rulings by the Constitutional Court, further inflaming ethnic tensions in the deeply divided country.

It was the latest in a series of inflammatory political moves engineered by Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, who has long campaigned for a break with central institutions.

On June 21, the Serbian parliament also adopted a law intended to override decisions made by Schmidt.

Schmidt, a German politician, used his special powers under the Dayton Agreement to overturn the last two decisions of the Serbian entity, provoking strong reactions, particularly from Bosnian Muslim leaders.

Some of these leaders considered them a direct threat to peace in Bosnia.

The Serbian entity’s initiatives were also criticized by Washington, Paris and Berlin. On Saturday, the British and US embassies in Sarajevo issued statements supporting Schmidt’s move.

stability challenge

The US embassy in Sarajevo said, “The United States supports Bosnia and Herzegovina’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and multi-ethnic character, and will continue to hold individuals engaged in anti-Dayton behavior accountable for their actions.”

“The actions taken by the Republika Srpska authorities are a clear and egregious attempt to challenge the framework and stability of this country,” said a statement from the UK’s ambassador to Sarajevo, Julian Reilly.

Dodik – who remains a Kremlin ally – has wielded significant influence over the Serb entity in Bosnia for years and has repeatedly stirred up ethnic tensions.

Even before Saturday’s ruling was announced, Dodik announced that no decision of the international top representative would be respected.

Dodik declared: “We are not ready to bow our heads. No decision of the lying High Representative will be accepted by Republika Srpska.”

Bosnia had a dysfunctional administrative system created by the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement which successfully ended the Balkan conflict.

Under the peace agreement, Bosnia was divided into two bodies – a Croatian Muslim Federation and a Serbian entity known as Republika Srpska. Both are linked to a weak central government.

Three foreign judges serve in Bosnia’s Constitutional Court, along with two Croats, two Muslims and two Serbs.

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