Independent and free Republika Srpska (RS) is a historic goal, Serb member of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Milorad Dodik said Saturday marking the RS Day, for which Bosnia’s Constitutional Court said cannot be observed on January 9.
“Our historic goal is independent and free Republika Srpska and we must learn the lesson that my generation inherited from our predecessors. Having no state is something that Serbs learned in the worst possible way in various rebellions and unfortunately in the latest civil war,” Dodik said addressing a ceremony in Banja Luka, the administrative centre of Republika Srpska, Bosnia’s Serb-majority region.
Despite the decision of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina from March 2019, which said that the holiday cannot be marked on January 9, the RS authorities have organised another celebration.
The court decision came after a motion filed by Bosniak and Croat MPs, who argued that marking the RS Day on January 9, which is also a Serb Orthodox religious holiday, violates the rights of non-Serbs living there.
Bosnian Serbs celebrate January 9 because on that day in 1992 they declared the breakaway Serb state as founded. The so-called Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina covered about half of Bosnia's full territory.
It was later renamed Republika Srpska, which is under current Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina an integral part of the country.
Being a member of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dodik is elected by voters in the country’s Serb-majority part. Other two members, Bosniak and Croat, are elected in the Federation (FBiH) entity.
Republika Srpska was not given, it was fought for, Dodik said on Saturday, and it is everyone’s duty to preserve it.
“The battle on political arena against all those obstructing Republika Srpska will continue, and it will not be easy at all in the next year, but what differentiates the coming year from all previous years, as far as Republika Srpska is concerned, is the fact we celebrate 30th anniversary and we must prepare. We must be stronger and we must do it in the best way,” he added.