The divisive rhetoric coming from the leadership in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity should be taken seriously and the international community should not appease secessionist goals in the country but rather take “decisive action” to respond to threats to peace, professor of philosophy and Holocaust and genocide studies at Southern Connecticut State University, David Pettigrew, told N1.
Pettigrew commented on the ongoing political crisis in the country over recent moves by BiH Presidency member Milorad Dodik, who is also the leader of the ruling party in the Serb-majority RS entity.
Dodik has been working towards rolling back post-war reforms which led to the establishment of numerous state institutions, including the army, indirect taxation authority and judicial institutions. He announced that the RS will unilaterally withdraw from those institutions and form its own, separate ones.
Pettigrew noted that such divisive rhetoric could be heard in Bosnia, especially from the RS, throughout the past decade and that the international community should have reacted more directly and urgently to these “threats to peace.”
“So I think that it was true ten years ago and it is true now – that there needs to be decisive action,” he said.
The reason such action did not take place is a “combination of many things,” he said, but argued that it was primarily the fact that the international community, most notably the European Union, “wanted to give Bosnia a chance to solve its own problems.”
“That seemed to me already unrealistic because of the structure of Dayton (Peace Agreement) and the ability of any group to declare that something is endangering its vital interests and to veto efforts towards unification, collaboration and a multicultural unified Bosnia in the future,” he said.
Pettigrew spoke about the role Moscow is playing in Bosnia, noting that Russia’s latest manoeuvre to block the current High Representative, Christian Schmidt, from speaking at the recent UN Security Council session on BiH was “just the most recent development in Russia’s efforts to undermine Bosnia’s progress towards Euro-Atlantic integration.”
Dodik’s statements should be taken seriously and “it’s important not to appease the secessionist goals of Republika Srpska,” he said.
Those goals would be “the accomplishment of genocidal goals on which Republika Srpska was founded in 1992,” he added.
The full interview can be seen in the video linked below: