The National Assembly of the Serb Republic (RS) has suspended a referendum on the work of the Court and the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH).
The referendum was to be held on November 19.
Members of the Assembly from the ruling coalition and those from the Free Democratic Serb Club voted in favor, while the opposition was against.
The Assembly also adopted seven conclusions, stating that the decision to call the referendum should be returned to the agenda of the Assembly and implemented as soon as consensus has been achieved between all Serb political parties in the RS Assembly, and in the Parliament of BiH, i.e. between the current ruling coalition and the opposition Alliance for Change, Beta reported on Tuesday.
It was also stated that the RS Assembly, by suspending the decision to call the referendum, “concludes that the reasons for discussing and assessing the way in which these institutions were created through the imposition of the Law on the Court of BiH did not disappear.”
The conclusions support an initiative to organize the signing of a petition with a question identical to the planned referendum one, that reads: “Do you support the unconstitutional and unauthorized imposition of laws by the high representative of the international community in BiH, specifically the imposed laws on the Court of BiH and the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH and the implementation of their decisions in the the Serb Republic?”
The parliament also adopted a conclusion stating that with the Dayton Peace Agreement, the RS received confirmation of the statehood that it brought into the peace talks, giving it the right to be a party to agreeing on changing each of the 11 annexes of the Dayton Agreement, together with the Federation of BiH (Muslim-Croat entity).
“This implies that the RS has the right and obligation to declare itself on all the issues of interest to the legal position, status, and even issues of jurisdiction in accordance with Annex 4 (Constitution of BiH),” one of the conclusions stated.
During the debate, RS President Milorad Dodik repeatedly urged the opposition to adopt a new decision to hold the referendum together with the ruling majority, believing that the support of the opposition Alliance for Change, which participates in the authorities at the level of BiH, was necessary in order to hold the plebiscite.
On the other hand, deputies from SDS, PDP and NDP parties accused Dodik of hiding behind the opposition, and said that since the decision to hold the referendum already existed, Dodik did not need their support.
Deputies from the ruling majority submitted the request to withdraw the referendum decision, while the opposition assessed that the suspension of the referendum showed Dodik feared for his personal position, but also that the government had devalued referendums as a mechanism for citizens to declare themselves.
Representatives of the international community in BiH vehemently opposed the holding of the referendum. The decision hold the referendum was made in the summer of 2015, but was only published in the RS Official Gazette on September 20 this year.