Peace Council: RS decisions violate constitution and legal order of BiH

Recent moves by the Republika Srpska (RS, Serb entity) authorities to introduce a Law creating a parallel High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) are a clear attempt by the entity to unilaterally assume the constitutional responsibilities of the State, which would represent a violation of the constitution and legal order of BiH, Peace Implementation Council (PIC) announced.

The statement was not supported by Russia, another member of the PIC.

The EU also condemned the RS decision. “The EU urges BiH leaders, in particular the RS leadership, to put an end to escalatory steps, and instead ensure serious dialogue is resumed within State institutions, to address all the issues of concerns.”

Despite a boycott by opposition parties, the ruling majority gathered around the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) headed by Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of the tripartite BiH Presidency, on Thursday adopted a law on state-owned property and supported a bill on the establishment of an RS HJPC.

With the first law, the National Assembly of RS practically revoked a 2005 decision by former High Representative Paddy Ashdown banning the use of state property until the BiH parliament adopts a law regulating that issue.

The HJPC bill, on the other hand, means that RS would take on the powers invested in the HJPC BiH in 2004 as the only body authorised to appoint judges and prosecutors in the entire country. The EU has said that the laws, particularly the bill on an entity HJPC, are blocking BiH’s journey towards the Union.

The establishment in 2004 of a single, State-level HJPC was a pivotal reform in modernising the BiH judiciary in accordance with European and international standards. The role of the State HJPC is to foster professionalism, transparency and efficiency in the judiciary while advancing impartial, independent, and effective administration of justice throughout the country, PIC concluded.

Željka Cvijanović, RS president, rejected the PIC statement as biased.

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