Russia strongly criticised the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board (PIC SB), the international body overseeing Bosnia’s peace process, arguing that, instead of encouraging dialogue and seeking compromise on issues in the country, some of its member states deliberately incite tensions.
The criticism comes after the PIC SB issued a statement last week condemning the initiative to establish a parallel High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity.
Russia, which is part of the PIC SB, did not join the statement.
“Some members of the Steering Board have once again shown their tendency to slip into the vicious practice of ignoring Russia's position. So, the statement issued after the emergency meeting is nothing but another exercise of frightening rhetoric, which can hardly scare anyone,” a statement by Russia’s Embassy in BiH said, also criticising the PIC SB statement for emphasizing the issue of EU integration.
“The mandate of the Steering Board must be limited exclusively to the General Framework Agreement for Peace in BiH,” it said.
Russia repeated its previous statements concerning the appointment of the High Representative of the international community, Christian Schmidt, last year.
Russia never accepted Schmidt’s appointment.
“Despite our numerous calls to adhere to established legal practices in the work of the Steering Board, our partners believed in the infallibility of their appointment of a “new High Representative”. They think he can use some extraordinary tools. He cannot – because the so-called “High Representative” does not have the necessary legitimacy: the UN Security Council has not approved the candidacy of Mr. Christian Schmidt for this position,” the statement said.
Russia also said that the PIC SB statement represents interference in Bosnia’s judiciary.
“From this point of view, the step of the National Assembly of the Republika Srpska can be interpreted as a desire to create a judicial system that will be truly independent and serve the interests of ordinary citizens,” the statement said.
It also said that, instead of encouraging dialogue, seeking compromises, reaching mutually acceptable agreements, some member countries of the PIC Board are deliberately creating tensions.
“In this regard, we declare that the alleged “interpreters” of the Peace Agreement will bear all responsibility for the eventual destabilization of the situation in BiH and for undermining the Dayton system,” the statement said.
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