Bosnian Serb MPs Vote to Form Parallel Legal Authority

Lawmakers in the Republika Srpska National Assembly voted on Thursday to adopt a draft law to set up the entity's own High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council - intensifying the political crisis in the country as Bosnian Serb political leaders continue to challenge state-level authority.

The draft law proposes "to annul the unconstitutional establishment of the [state-level] High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina" and allow the new Republika Srpska body to appoint its own judges and prosecutors.

The draft law will now be put out for public discussion for 60 days before it is reconsidered for final adoption by Republika Srpska lawmakers.

Thursday's vote to approve the draft legislation follows a previous decision by Republika Srpska lawmakers in December to support moves to withdraw the entity from Bosnia and Herzegovina's armed forces, judiciary and tax system.

The challenges to the state's powers have been criticised as steps towards secession led by the most powerful Bosnian Serb politician, Milorad Dodik, who is the Serb member of the country's tripartite presidency.

High Representative Christian Schmidt, the international official who oversees the continued implementation of the 1995 peace deal that ended the Bosnian war, criticised the Republika Srpska MPs' decision to set up their own judicial body.

"It threatens the influence of judiciary and the primacy of the rule of law," Schmidt said.

Transparency International Bosnia and Herzegovina warned that the move would lead to complete legal uncertainty and the 'capture' of the judiciary by Bosnian Serb politicians.

"The creation of parallel institutions would violate legal security and hinder citizens from enjoying basic human...

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