In a statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry issued on 04.03.2020, is outlined that the people of Bosnia must solve their problems on their own without any foreign interference. The proposed changes to the Constitutional Court are “fully in line with the Dayton Agreement”, the ministry spokesman said. “We rely on all leading political parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina to contribute to this legislative initiative which seeks to strengthen the integrity and democratic potential of Bosnia and Herzegovina”, the statement said.
According to Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, the adoption of a law to remove foreign judges from the Constitutional Court is a condition for ending the latest political crisis that has arisen in Bosnia.
Last month, the parliament of Republika Srpska (RS), instructed RS representatives in state institutions of BiH to stop participating in any decision-making processes until the aforementioned law is adopted which led to the state institutions being effectively blocked.
The move came after the Constitutional Court declared that public agricultural property in Republika Srpska should be owned by the state BiH and not by the RS.
According to the Constitution, which is part of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, the Constitutional Court is composed of nine judges – two Bosniaks, two Croats, two Serbs and three foreign judges which are appointed by the President of the European Court of Human Rights.
Dodik has been accusing the foreign judges that they are aligning with the Bosniaks and are working against Republika Srpska and the Serbian people.
According to the new bill submitted to BiH parliament, drafted by the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) and backed by the Bosnian Croat coalition around the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) of Dragan Covic, instead of the three foreign judges in the Constitutional Court, the tripartite Presidency must appoint three Bosnian citizens, two from the Federation of BiH and one from the RS to be members of different ethnic groups. The House of Peoples will have to confirm their appointment, with more than half of the MPs in each of the three constituent people’s groups voting in favor.
Following the statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry in support of the proposal to remove foreign judges from the Constitutional Court in Bosnia, the most influential Bosnian Muslim party, the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) said that “although Russia used to support constructive efforts in the Balkans, now it has the goal to destabilize the region and use it strategically as a bargaining chip in international relations”.
SDA criticized Russia for, “on one hand, declaring that they are opposed to foreign interference in Bosnia’s internal issues, while at the same time they took a stance on ongoing issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina, continuously supporting the campaign against Dayton Agreement and the ultimatums coming from the RS.”
Such a stance represents an obstacle to finding a compromise in Bosnia as it encourages Milorad Dodik to continue his activities, the party said. “The Russian Federation has for decades constructively contributed through the Security Council and the Peace Implementation Council, supporting the establishment and the work of the Hague tribunal and the use of the Bonn powers, but that policy has obviously changed and now its goal is to destabilize Bosnia and the region in order to make trades in geopolitical relations”, the statement of SDA also said.
“Considering that Russia’s interference is open and direct, this represents a clear message to our partners, most of all to Washington but also to Brussels, that they must not allow Moscow to damage the strategic interests of the region – stability and progress toward NATO and the EU, through local anti-European and anti-NATO political parties”, the Bosnian Muslim Party concluded.