The largest Bosniak party, the Party of Democratic Action, SDA, will start legal proceedings before the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, challenging the name of the Bosnia’s mainly Serbian entity, Republika Srpska, the SDA announced on Wednesday.
It claimed that the long-standing practice of the RS authorities had shown that the name of that entity had been used to discriminate against and exclude Bosnia’s two other constituent peoples, Bosniaks and Croats.
“Binding the name of a just one nation in the multiethnic community, such as Bosnian, according to the principle of ethnic privilege, is contrary to the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Convention on Human Rights, which is superior to the Bosnian constitution”, the SDA said in the statement.
Bosnian Serb leaders accused the SDA of fomenting yet another crisis in the deeply divided country.
Serb member of Bosnian presidency Milorad Dodik said that if the initiative to abolish the name of Republika Srpska is launched, he will stop working at the presidency but will not resign.
“Republika Srpska is unquestionable, its name is unquestionable, as is its territorial and political organisation,” Dodik said at a press conference.
“Their goal is to provoke an artificial crisis that can cause dangerous political instability in Bosnia,” Vukota Govedarica, leader of the largest Bosnian Serb opposition party, the Serbian Democratic Party, SDS, said.
“The RS will exist regardless of whether someone likes it or not. You know that the name of the RS is in line with the international factor, so there is no need for anyone to be concerned that anything can be done against the RS,” Marko Pavic, leader of the Democratic Peoples Alliance, said.
“We totally condemn such political malicious games of the SDA and it shows that there should no longer be any political or any other business with that party. With people who hate the RS, there are no talks or agreements or anything,” Branislav Borenovic, leader of the Party of Democratic Progress, PDP, said on Wednesday.
Under the Bosnian constitution, all three constituent peoples are equal in the entire territory of the state, including both entities and the Brcko District.
The SDA said a ruling of the Constitutional Court on the constitution of the people, U5/98, had confirmed this, and obliged both entities to ensure the full equality of all constitutional peoples in their constitutional legal systems.
“The Bosnian entity of Republika Srpska exists under the state constitution as a multi-ethnic entity, in which all nations must have equal rights, which means that not only one nation can be represented in the name and the others excluded,” it said.
“The Party of Democratic Action will initiate a procedure for harmonizing the RS entity’s name with the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, based on the valid decision of the Constitutional Court,” it concluded.