Bosnia Election Commission to Sue Dodik for Inciting National Hatred

Bosnia's Election Commission, the CIK, has filed a lawsuit against Bosnian Serb strongman and Serbian member of the state presidency Milorad Dodik, accusing him of inciting national hatred. The crime carries a statutory sentence of three months to ten years in prison if the accused is found guilty.

After the CIK on January 21 annulled the election results in the towns of Srebrenica and Doboj, both in the Serb-led entity of Bosnia, Republika Srpska, citing various irregularities, Dodik insulted CIK members at a press conference, calling them thieves and criminals. In both towns, candidates of Dodik's party, the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, SNSD, had won.

Dodik especially insulted Vanja Bjelica-Prutina, who represents the Serbian community on the Election Commission.

"The lady who represents the Serbian people is married or was married to a Bosniak in Sarajevo, a Muslim. Someone will say what has that to do with it. It does. It shows how well everything is set up," Dodik said at a press conference in Doboj on January 21.

The offensive statement was condemned, among others, by various representatives of the international community and embassies in Bosnia.

In a press release, the CIK said it had no option but to take action after prosecutors had failed to do so.

"After learning that the Bosnian Prosecutor's Office, after at least two public addresses by Milorad Dodik at press conferences in which he verbally attacked Vanja Bjelica-Prutina and the CIK, did not initiate proceedings … the Central Election Commission has taken concrete steps," it said.

After the CIK annulled the results of the vote in most polling stations in Srebrenica, in eastern Bosnia, and in Doboj, in northern Bosnia, elections in both...

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