Argument: Republika Srpska has right to secede to protect right to exist


“Bosnia Serbs in Independence Vote Warning”. Balkan Insight. 9 Oct. 2008 – In his speech before the United Nations General Assembly on September 24, Silajdzic condemned Republika Srpska for genocide committed during the war. Although he appeared before the UN in his official capacity as a representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina, he gave a personal speech since the three members of the presidency were previously unable to agree on a joint statement.

Silajdzic gave a similar speech a few days later in Strasbourg on September 30, before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Both speeches were believed to be timed, if not motivated, by the October 5 local elections.

Republika Srpska officials reacted angrily, criticising Silajdzic for “a speech from the past” and called for an extraordinary session of the Republika Srpska Asembly, which should take up an official position regarding Silajdzic and his statement.

Silajdzic and all other presidency members, as well as all other top politicians, were also invited to the session. Silajdzic has already said he will not be able to attend because of a pre-scheduled visit by the Slovenian President to Sarajevo in that period.

“The National Assembly of Republika Srpska expresses its readiness to use all legal and political measures, including a right to a referendum of the citizens of Republika Srpska, to defend its legitimate interests and protect the identity confirmed by the Dayton peace accord,” local media quoted the note prepared by the Republika Srpska assembly.

The note also expressed “extreme concern” over the “radicalisation” of political and inter-ethnic relations in the country, and called upon Republika Srpska citizens to remain calm and refrain from any incidents.

Bosnian Serb leaders, especially Republika Srpska premier Milorad Dodik, on several occasions in the past has threatened a referendum on independence

“Who Will Accept The Dayton Agreement?”. Washington Post. 1 May 2008 – In his April 23 op-ed, “Lessons From Dayton for Iraq,” Richard Holbrooke asserted that I have “turned away from reform” in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Yet he notes I have no Bosniak partner who accepts even the existence of Republika Srpska.

This is the key question: Will everyone in Bosnia and Herzegovina accept the Dayton Peace Agreement on a permanent basis? Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried recently told Congress: “Reforms may upgrade but cannot supplant Dayton.” Bosniak leaders, not just Haris Silajdzic, practice the opposite policy, advocating expressly (and implicitly in their proposed reforms) for a departure from Dayton and the abolition of Republika Srpska.

The political leaders of Republika Srpska accept the Dayton compromise and the existence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, when many in Republika Srpska prefer an alternative course. In return, we expect the same from Bosniak leaders: to clearly and unequivocally accept Republika Srpska.

Through consensus reforms, a decentralized Bosnia and Herzegovina can move forward on the basis of the Dayton Peace Agreement. Forcing a unitary state policy, favored by Bosniaks, would cause its breakup.

“Response It is wrong to sound alarms about a ‘Bosnian powder keg'”. The Guardian. 31 Oct. 2008 – The duty of the Republika Srpska government, particularly at a time when politicians elsewhere in Bosnia-Herzegovina continually question its very legitimacy, is to represent its citizens and protect the powers granted by the Dayton agreement. Protecting and defending our existence is not an extreme nationalist position and should not be construed as such.

Dodik consistently and publicly supports the entry of Bosnia-Herzegovina, with Republika Srpska as an integral part, into the EU. His policy is not, as Ashdown and Holbrooke claim, “to place his Serb entity, Republika Srpska, in a position to secede”. A position on independence is not an action aimed at destroying Bosnia-Herzegovina, but a predictable and logical reaction to attempts to unilaterally abolish the republic, or change the status granted to it by Dayton.

“President says attempts to organize Bosnia without Serb entity ‘doomed to fail'”. BBC. 9 Jan 2008. – Banja Luka, 8 January: The president of the Bosnian Serb entity, Rajko Kuzmanovic, said in Banja Luka on Tuesday that any attempt to administratively organize Bosnia-Hercegovina without Republika Srpska [Bosnian Serb Republic] was doomed to fail.

“We accept only such status that will enable Republika Srpska to exercise its legislative, executive, administrative and judicial powers independently,” Kuzmanovic said at a ceremony marking the entity’s day, which is observed on January 9.

Republika Srpska has a duty to protect its status as defined by the Dayton peace agreement, its territorial indivisibility and equality within Bosnia-Hercegovina, Kuzmanovic said, dismissing “all forms of negation and undervaluing of Republika Srpska and requests to abolish its powers and institutions”.