Inzko Raises Bosnian Serb Residence Checks

Prior to presenting his latest report in the US, the High Representative to Bosnia, Valentin Inzko, raised the issue of new rules on checking residence in Republika Srpska, one Bosnia's two entities.

In a meeting in Washington on May 13, Inzko presented his concerns about the situation in Bosnia to Hoyt Yee, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and to Senator Ben Cardin, Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The High Representative said he welcomed the fact that the Chairman of Bosnia's tripartite Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, had sent an appeal to the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina regarding the recent decision on residency in Bosnia's mainly Serbian entity.

New residency rules in Republika Srpska introduced in April mean that more documents proving ownership of a home are now needed than in the rest of Bosnia.

The decision was made after Bosnia's state-level Parliament failed to agree on a new residency law. Republika Srpska said it took a unilateral decision in the light of security concerns. However, critics said the decision violated the constitution and harmed the rights of returnees.

Zeljko Komsic, Croat member of the Bosnian Presidency, said in a Tuesday interview with the newspaper Oslobodjenje that the decision meant any Bosniak or Croat could lose his or her residence rights if the police did not find them at the address they reported.

He referred to several hundred cases of Bosniak returnees whose residence and identity cards were annulled last year because of earlier checks by police who did not find them in their registered homes.

These cases were described as discrimination against returnees...

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