Argument: Republika Srpska does not fit criteria for statehood like Kosovo


Edin Šarcevic. “Ethnic Segregation as a Desirable Constitutional Position?”. Bosnian Institute. 9 Dec. 2008 – There is talk in RS of a referendum on independence. What about the validity of the demand for self-determination and secession?

The right to self-determination includes the right to form one’s own state. The bearer of this right is every people that exists as a community characterised by a sense of its own individuality, as well as objective elements such as language, purported collective descent, religion, etc. There is no doubt that the Serbs form such a community, and that they may appear as the bearers of the right to self-determination in both its defensive and offensive forms. But, I wish to stress, only the Serbs as a people, not Republika Srpska as a constitutional entity. It is necessary, after all, to meet certain conditions. Such a people must inhabit, as an autochthonous population, a compact territory on which they are a dominant majority. The other assumption is that the people is actually suffering from discrimination as an ethnic group. The nature of this discrimination must be so severe that no other form of protection is possible other than establishment of their own state. These criteria are elementary assumptions and represent the material content of the right to self-determination as guaranteed in the first article of both the Pacts on Human Rights from 1966-7.

It is necessary to stress that the right to self-determination is built into Bosnian constitutional law, since the above-mentioned pacts were adopted with an additional agreement on human rights that would apply to Bosnia as a supra-constitutional right. This makes clear the difference between the Bosnian peoples and, for example, the Albanian people in Kosovo; or between ethnic communities, national minorities and state peoples such as the constituent peoples in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I myself will be the first to fight for the Serb people’s right to self-determination, as soon as an objective evaluation establishes that these criteria have been met. As things are, I can say only that there is no rational argument for such being the case.