EPAHigh Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 19:38
The High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Christian Schmidt is withdrawing a controversial Bosnian Serb law that annuls all decisions of the country’s highest court. He says the law violates the peace treaty that ended the civil war that raged in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995, which killed more than 100,000 people.
Schmidt said that the parliaments of the population groups “have no authority to deviate from decisions made by institutions formed in the peace negotiations, such as the constitutional court”. “It’s that simple,” he added. Bosnian Serb President Molorad Dodik has already said that he will not accept the High Representative’s decision.
Dodik and other Bosnian Serb politicians argue that all of Schmidt’s decisions are illegal because his nomination has not been confirmed by the UN Security Council. Although most UN countries support the nomination, Russia, an ally of Dodik and a permanent member of the Security Council, vetoed it. Schmidt’s nomination is, however, recognized by other UN bodies.
The High Representative is a position established in the peace agreement. The job is filled by diplomats from EU countries. As a representative, the German Schmidt has the power to amend laws and enforce decrees if they contribute to preserving peace in the country.
Bosniaks, Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats live in Bosnia. The Bosnian Serbs, who have their own autonomous republic within the country, do not want to recognize Bosnia’s multi-ethnic constitutional court. They demand more autonomy for their Republika Srpska, but according to most Western countries that would pose too many risks to peace.
The separatist policy of the pro-Moscow Dodik has led, among others, to sanctions against him by the United States. The US Embassy in Bosnia has unequivocally expressed support for Schmidt.