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International Information Centre for Balkan Studies



O'Brien- State property belongs to the BiH, RS is subordinate to the state

February 2, 2024

US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia James O'Brien explained the parts of the Dayton Peace Agreement that politicians in BiH use for daily political purposes with their own "interpretation". O'Brien clearly explained that Bosnia is neither a union nor a confederation of two states but that it is one country without rights to secede or divide and that property belongs to the state.

“The Constitution affirms that BiH is one country, with no right of secession or division. Article I, paragraph 1 – kind of where things start – says that:

The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the official name of which shall henceforth be ‘Bosnian and Herzegovina’ …shall continue its legal existence … with its internal structure modified as provided herein….

The ‘internal structure’ appears in paragraph 3 referring to ‘two Entities,’ the Federation and the Republika Srpska, as within BiH. BiH was not and is not a union or confederation of two states. The entities are subordinate to the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to be crystal clear, the Republika Srpska is not a state and does not enjoy the attributes of statehood,” O’Brien stressed.

By continuing the legal existence of its predecessor, BiH maintained its role in international organizations and agreements, he said.

“In 2001, BiH signed the Agreement on Succession Issues of the Former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), which was ratified by the BiH Parliamentary Assembly and assigned state property to BiH, not to the Entities. There’s a way to discuss ownership of property by bringing it up in the relevant institutions. Still, it’s clear that the starting point is: that property belongs to the state,” the Assistant Secretary noted.

He then interpreted the part of the Constitution dealing with the unrestricted movement of people, goods, services, and capital inside the country.

“Article 1, paragraph 4 says:

Neither Entity shall establish controls at the boundary between the Entities.

Some are now talking about RS independence or the “independence of the RS within BiH,” and about imagining controls at the IEBL. This invents an “Original Dayton” that promises to bring back the roadblocks, harassment, and barricades featured in the war in place of the words of the actual Dayton, which removed them. This is laughably bad law but dangerous in reality,” he concluded.

Source:  https://n1info.ba/english/news/obrien-state-property-belongs-to-the-bih-rs-is-subordinate-to-the-state/

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