International peace envoy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, High Representative Christian Schmidt, and the Mothers of Srebrenica association have exchanged their standpoints on the issue of unconstitutional January 9 Republika Srpska Day in a series of tweets, after Schmidt spoke about the matter to N1.
Schmidt was the guest of N1's Pressing on Wednesday, when he said that this celebration was not in accordance with the Constitution.
“I am very convinced that next January 9 will look different. It doesn't matter if it's January 9, March 1 or some other day,” said Schmidt, mentioning March 1 which is marked as the Independence Day of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but is marked only in its Bosniak-Croat shared part, the Federation entity (FBiH).
Schmidt tells N1 things will change regarding unconstitutional January 9 event
This sparked the reaction of the Mothers of Srebrenica who tweeted on the same day there was a “huge difference between March 1 and January 9, “mostly civilisational one.”
“It is very important Mr Schmidt,” the association said.
The Office of the High Representative responded to the criticism, and reminded of another part of Schmidt's statement:
“The January 9 was practically created on the victims, the burden borne by the Srebrenica genocide victims.”
In their final response, the Mothers of Srebrenica urged the High Representative to “do his best so that January 9 stops being a burden to us, victims’ families. To stop being a bleeding wound.”
January 9, the Day of Republika Srpska, Bosnia's Serb-majority entity, was declared unconstitutional by Bosnia's Constitutional Court, as it falls on an Orthodox religious holiday and thus discriminates other groups living on the entity's territory.
However, despite the court ruling the holiday has been continuously marked with the central celebration this year taking place in Istocno Sarajevo, the capital's neighbouring city.
Asked if he would do anything about this matter, Schmidt, who has powers to impose laws and dismiss officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said:
“I'll leave that question open. Whoever works in accordance with the Constitution does not need to fear anything. But if not, then I have a flexible answer. We will see what has to be done. But such things are not announced, they are done”.