International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Political war of words starts over pro-Dodik rally on inter-entity boundary line

August 31, 2023

Announcement by the police minister of Bosnia's Federation (FBiH) entity Ramo Isak that he would not allow any gathering around the inter-entity boundary line sparked reactions among the Bosnian Serb officials, who said he is not competent to make decisions concerning the territory of Republika Srpska (RS) entity.

“It is obviously a populist statement and I'm calling on colleague Isak to be careful about what he's saying and to concentrate on having his statements aligned with his competencies,” said Nenad Nesic, Bosnia's Security Minister.

The war of words comes after the Committee for the Protection of Serb Rights in Federation (FBiH) entity invited citizens of Republika Srpska (RS) entity to gather on Friday around the inter-entity boundary line, which divides the Serb-majority from the Bosniak-Croat entity, and to express support to RS entity president Milorad Dodik who has been indicted by the State Prosecutor's Office.

The rally ‘RS before the Court’ was initially planned in front of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, but the Sarajevo Canton’s Interior Ministry rejected their request for security reasons.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, FBiH Interior Minister Isak said the entity police would provide support to the cantonal police and ask the RS police to do the work from the scope of their competencies, he added.

“No one can stage protests on the inter-entity boundary line, it is not in accordance with law, this state does not allow that. We will ask for support of all agencies in charge as well as the international institutions in charge of taking care of the safety of citizens,” said Isak.

He also said that the protests are illegal because, according to the information that he has, nobody gave a consent for that.

Isak's statement sparked reaction among the Serb representatives at the state level, including that of security minister Nesic, who said that, as entity minister, Isak has no authority to ban the gathering on the inter-entity boundary line and assessed that his statement was aimed at gaining “cheap political points.”

Nesic also condemned the ban on gathering in front of the Court of BiH, adding that he sees no logic in that and that everyone should be allowed to express their opinion freely.

He called on the organisers to obey all regulations.

Zeljka Cvijanovic, the Serb member of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency, also commented on Isak's statement.

“There is an inter-entity boundary line between the two entities, which is a border for operation of two entity police units, that is also a border of their competencies, which means he cannot order something or to ban something on the territory of Republika Srpska,” said Cvijanovic.

Responding to N1's question, the EU military deployment in Bosnia and Herzegovina briefly said they have not received any request from the local authorities.

RS President Milorad Dodik and acting director of RS Official Gazette Milos Lukic were indicted over their refusal to implement decisions of the international community's High Representative in BiH on the RS entity territory.

Source:  https://n1info.ba/english/news/political-war-of-words-starts-over-pro-dodik-rally-on-inter-entity-boundary-line/

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