In brief

First step in Srpska’s unilateral plan to “retake powers”

Bosnian Serb Assembly passes bill to rebuild own judicial system

Milorad Dodik.
Milorad Dodik. Author: Medija centar Beograd
The Republic of Srpska Assembly has passed a bill to rebuild its own judicial system and to make it independent from that of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The proposal must be re-voted within 60 days for it to become law.

This is the first step in what Bosnian Serb President Milorad Dodik has described as a plan to “retake powers” by the Republic of Srpska, one of two constituent federal units in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Under the plan, Dodik also seeks to rebuild the Bosnian Serb army, which was disbanded within the central Bosnian armed forces between 2003 and 2006, and to remove Srpska from the central authority that collects VAT.

The Bosnian Serb opposition, the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the European Union oppose the plan, which they call unconstitutional. The Bosnian government sees it as a first step towards secession.

Dodik says the only goal is for Srpska to regain certain powers that were agreed in Dayton and that the entity exercised until the early years of the 21st century, when the competencies were transferred to the central government.

If passed, the law on the judicial system will not enter into force until one year later. This postponement is interpreted by some analysts as a sign that Dodik is not entirely determined to clash with the Bosnian and European authorities, at least in the short term. Others say the move reflects Dodik’s strategy to position himself in the run-up to the October Bosnian election.