The National Assembly of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity adopted the Draft Law on Immovable Property used for the Functioning of Public Authority, in an urgent procedure on Wednesday evening.
It regulates the property used by the semi-autonomous entity exercising that authority since the signing of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, but not property that was registered as property of the former Socialist Republic of BiH (SRBiH) until December 31, 1991.
Pro-Bosnian parties strongly opposed the adoption of the law.
In its seven articles, the new law does not decisively define the right of ownership, but the possibility was left that the final issue of ownership of the property would be regulated by a separate law. Until then, Republika Srpska, or other entities designated by the Government, manage the property of the former SRBiH.
“As in Article 6, by which it was changed that entries related to SRBiH entries cannot be changed, there is also a novelty in Article 1, which stipulates that the distribution is made over those assets that have already been registered as property of the public authorities of the RS. All immovable property on the territory of the RS from the former social, state property, from 1995 until today, has been registered as the property of the public ownership of the RS”, said Dragan Stankovic, director of the RS Administration for Geodetic and Property-Legal Affairs.
“This is not a law that should serve to separate those in power and the opposition. There is nothing more state-building at this time than protecting registered property and the people who do it. As far as high representatives are concerned, the RS has outlasted everything, even Paddy Ashdown and Schwarz Schilling and all, even if we have to pass this law every 15 days”, said Nenad Stevandic, president of the RS Assembly, referring to decisions by international community officials who suspended similar laws in the past.
Pro-Bosnian parties strongly dispute the competencies of the RS when it comes to regulating property issues, arguing, as the Constitutional Court ruled before, that the state alone has the competencies to regulate such property.
“We fully support resolving this issue. That natural resources, that all other resources, be made available to entities and cantons and cities and municipalities to a significant extent for the benefit of citizens in BiH, but there is a way to get there, this is certainly not the way to reach a solution. I ask you to withdraw this law from the procedure to solve this issue at the BiH level”, said Ramiz Salkic, from the Pary of Democratic Action (SDA).