Banjaluka, September 30 – Republika Srpska requests UN Secretary General, the UN Security Council and members of the international community to reject the Special Report of the High Representative addressed to the UN in which the High Representative stated that the Srpska authorities violate the Dayton Accords with activities related to the referendum on the BiH judiciary and the powers of the High Representative.
Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik points out in a letter to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that Republika Srpska strongly opposes the Special Report in which the High Representative to BiH, Valentin Inzko, “concludes” that Srpska violates the Dayton Peace Agreement.
The Republika Srpska president remarks in the letter, which an integral part is the Government’s Response Letter to the Special Report of the High Representative that was sent to UN Secretary General, that the High Representative has not provided Srpska with a copy of this report, which was revealed on September 17.
“For a reason we explained in detail in the Response Letter drafted by Republika Srpska, the High Representative has no legal authority to acclaim such a conclusion (that Srpska breaches the Dayton Peace Agreement) while his legal reasoning and facts that he mentioned in order to support his conclusion are fully unfounded,” Dodik noted in the letter to UN Secretary General.
Dodik said that the report of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a continuation of long-standing pattern of suppressing disagreements with the self-proclaimed authority of the High Representative in order to unilaterally impose laws, amend the constitutions and punish those who disagree with his actions through his decisions.
“In the Response Letter to the report of the High Representative, Srpska argues why the UN Security Council and other members of the international community should join Srpska in rejection of the ‘conclusion’ of the High Representative and serious mistakes in regard to the law and the facts mentioned in his report,” explained Dodik.
Srpska proves in its Response Letter that the High Representative, despite his claims, is not the “final authority” to interpret the Dayton Peace Agreement.
“Annex 10 of the Dayton Peace Agreement as the only source of authority of the High Representative, gives him the right to interpret only Annex 10. Moreover, his claim that the High Representative is the final authority to interpret the BiH Constitution and decisions of the Constitutional Court is legally unfounded,” says the letter to UN Secretary General.
Srpska also underlines that High Representative has no authority to declare that Republika Srpska “violates” the Dayton Peace Agreement, because such right only counterparties have.
It is added that the UN Security Council has never had the intention to expand the limited authority of the High Representative under Annex 10.
“In particular, the High Representative has never been given permission to impose regulations via his decisions, out-of-court settlement, leave the Constitutional Court out or rule in any other way as if he is completely over BiH and the international law. Srpska has never accepted the misappropriation of authority of the High Representative,” says the letter.
It is also stated that the planned referendum of Republika Srpska is protected by the Constitution of BiH, the Dayton Peace Agreement and international law and that the BiH Constitution explicitly prioritizes the protection of human, civil and political rights and fundamental freedoms over any other law, giving Srpska an explicit right and obligation to respect this principle.
“Republika Srpska has a constitutional duty to protect the rights of its citizens, which are undermined by imposed laws and procedures, and institutions created by the High Representative,” says the memo.
Republika Srpska warns that any attempt to suppress the referendum would violate the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
It is also emphasised that the referendum guarantees the protection, especially because the high representative prevented any challenges to his actions and settle out-of-court the citizens who opposed him.
“The planned Republika Srpska referendum is an important element of its efforts to implement key reforms in BiH justice. The reforms are necessary, for example, to end the discrimination against Serb victims of war crimes, stop unlawful extension of the jurisdiction of the BiH Court, to improve the transparency of BiH judiciary and implement important decision of the European Court of Human Rights,” reads the letter.
In addition it says that the referendum is necessary partly because the high representative prevented any judicial audit of his decisions and other proceedings either before the BiH Constitutional Court, the European Court of Human Rights or any other institutions.
“Along with the preparations for the referendum, Republika Srpska vigorously follows the judiciary reform as part of a structured dialogue on justice with the EU, an initiative that has recently showed the first hints of progress.
The planned Republika Srpska referendum is an essential and legitimate mechanism to support the efforts of Republika Srpska to reform institutions that have direct and negative impact on its citizens,” says the document.
Also, Republika Srpska warns that the report of the High Representative wrongly assumes that Republika Srpska will respond to the referendum outcomes with illegal methods and procedures.
“No decisions will be made by the referendum, but the Srpska citizens will express their opinion, which is guaranteed as a citizens right in every democratic country. Therefore, it cannot be said that holding a referendum is a violation of the Dayton Peace Agreement,” is the Republika Srpska’s position.
Also, according to the Law on Referendum and Civic Initiative of Republika Srpska, the Republika Srpska National Assembly makes adequate decisions within six months after the referendum.
“This decision making process will be the subject of debate in the institutions of Republika Srpska and BiH. Whatever Republika Srpska decides to undertake in response to the referendum results will be in accordance with the Constitutions of BiH and Srpska. The High Representative wrongly accused Srpska of the post-referendum procedures and actions, which he did not specify and which Republika Srpska did not undertake,” says the letter.