Bosnia’s Serb Entity Passes Law Rejecting Constitutional Court’s Authority

On the request of the President of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, the National Assembly of Bosnia's Serb-dominated entity on Tuesday passed a law declaring rulings of Bosnia's Constitutional Court non-applicable in the entity.

Entity MPs stressed that the new law is only temporary, "until a new law on a state-level Constitutional Court, without foreign judges, is created by the state parliament".

Dodik pushed the new law on June 23, after the court changed its quorum regulations. Under the new rules, it can now make decisions even if judges from Republika Srpska are not present, which Dodik characterised as  "unconstitutional".

The same can be done if some Bosniak or Croat judges are not present. The change in regulations came after Republika Srpska authorities urged the only remaining Serb judge on the court to leave his post at the end of April.

"The National Assembly requests that … the issue of reforming the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, specifically the departure of foreign judges, be addressed as a priority," said one of the conclusions of the assembly.

Three judges on the court are appointed by the European Court for Human Rights. Out of the remaining six, four are appointed by Bosnia's Federation entity and two by Republika Srpska. 

The assembly also told the government of Republika Srpska to submit a proposal which will make actions contrary to the the new "Law on Non-Application of Decisions of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina" a crime.

The US embassy in Sarajevo condemned the move. It said the assembly had "launched a reckless attack on the [1995] Dayton Peace Agreement [ending the 1992-5 war in Bosnia] and the Constitution of Bosnia and...

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