Representatives of the authorities in Bosnia's Serb-majority entity, Republika Srpska, strongly objected the decision by High Representative Christian Schmidt to suspend a law in this semi-autonomous part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, calling his actions illegal.
The immovable property issue was solved by the Dayton Peace Agreement and “no illegal decision by illegally appointed foreign official” can change the fact that Republika Srpska has a constitutional and common sense right to freely dispose of its property, head of the Government Radovan Viskovic said a day after the decision was passed.
“By proposing, and later adopting the Law on Immovable Property, Republika Srpska only confirmed what was written in the Dayton (Agreement – the peace deal which ended the 1992-95 war in Bosnia and introduced the country's constitutional system) – that immovable property on the territory of Republika Srpska is its own property and not of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to which this right is now attempted to be illegally transferred,” said Viskovic.
The RS Prime Minister also noted that the latest Schmidt's decision is introduction into his interference with the work of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Zoran Tegeltija, the Chairman of Bosnia's Council of Ministers, who was nominated to the post by the strongest political party in Republika Srpska, the SNSD, also joined the criticism, calling Schmidt's decision a “precedent which, hopefully, nobody in Republika Srpska is ready to accept.”
He said he could understand Schmidt's position but that it is “his own fault because he accepted a job for which he has no support of everyone.”
“He has the right to his fear, he can behave that way, but he cannot destroy Republika Srpska,” underlined Tegeltija.
The Bosnian Serb political leadership does not recognise Christian Schmidt as the UN peace envoy, officially the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as his mandate was not confirmed by the UN Security Council.
Russia, the strong opponent of Schmidt as the High Representative in BiH, had initiated the discussion on his appointment at the UN Security Council last year but the discussion was not held.
Contrary to Russia, the appointment was supported by the US, the UK, Estonia, Norway and other countries, who noted that confirmation by the Security Council is desirable but not necessary.
Schmidt took office in August 2021. According to the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he is among others assigned with special powers to dismiss officials and impose laws.