In brief

Dodik says Republic of Srpska to launch procedure to rebuild own army in Bosnia

Bosnian Serb leader frames initiative in move to “retake powers” ceded to the central state

Milorad Dodik.
Milorad Dodik. Author: Medija centar Beograd
Serb member of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tripartite presidency Milorad Dodik said that the Republic of Srpska’s main governing party, the SNSD, has passed a resolution to rebuild a Bosnian Serb army, 15 years after the its dissolution.

According to Dodik, the Srpska National Assembly will begin proceedings in November to “retake powers” that the Bosnian Serb entity has ceded to the Bosnian state during the last 20 years.

The Army of the Republic of Srpska merged with the Army of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2004 to form the current Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Serbian-majority Republic of Srpska is one of two federated entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The other is the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, made up of 10 autonomous cantons, some of which are Bosniak-majority and others Croatian-majority.

The Bosnian Serb leader says there is nothing unconstitutional about reconstituting the Srpska’s army. Dodik also argues the army can coexist under the Dayton Accords, which shaped the current Bosnian state in 1995.

Bosniak member of the tripartite presidency Sefik Dzaferovic has warned that the reorganisation of the Army of the Republic of Srpska will “never” be accepted. Dodik “therefore can only try to unilaterally break the Dayton Peace Agreement,” said Dzaferovic, who predicted that in that case the Republic of Srpska would cease to exist but the Bosnian state would survive.

The issue of the Bosnian Serb army is extremely sensitive in Bosnia. During the 1992-1995 war, its commander-in-chief was Ratko Mladic, later convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Critics of the reorganisation of a Bosnian Serb army say it would destabilise the country and endanger the precarious peace of the past 25 years.