Successful development of Bosnia and Herzegovina is possible only through effective application of the systems of checks and balances specified in the Dayton Accords to find a consensus for all pressing issues without damaging the basic interests of the constituent peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is how the Russian Foreign Ministry Information and Press Department replied to EADaily’s request to assess how The General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina is observed in practice 22 years after signing.
Recall that in an interview with Deutsche Welle on November 21, President of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik said the Dayton Accords are not observed as signed. He said “constitutional” Bosnia and Herzegovina is acceptable to Republika Srpska, unlike the country it has turned into due to failure to implement the Dayton Agreement.
As one of the international guarantors of the Dayton Accords dated 1995, Russia is committed to its strict observance and considers the Peace Agreement as the basis of the post-conflict settlement, stability and security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said the Information and Press Department. Along with putting an end to the “hot” phase of the crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina and returning a tangible number of refugees and displaced persons to their homes, the Dayton Accords have confirmed the decentralized structure of the country based on wide powers of the two territorial Entities (Republika Srpska and Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina) and equal rights of the three state-forming peoples (Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croatians).
Nevertheless, the foreign ministry said, Bosnian mechanisms have some problematic elements. One of them is the precedent of electing a Croatian member of Presidium of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Bosnian majority in 2006 and 2010. “We confirm the importance of appointing legitimate representatives of all the three constituent peoples to higher government positions and provision of additional guarantees in the election law,” the Russian foreign ministry says.
Besides, it necessary to reform Bosnian institutes of justice – Constitutional Court (3 seats of 9 are still occupied by foreigners), as well as Court and Prosecutor’s Office set up in mid-2000s and not mentioned in the Dayton Accords. “Activity of these organizations should be improved through upgrade of professionalism, impartiality and efficiency. Any attempts of abuse of power for political goals that undermine public trust in the judiciary of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be eliminated,” the Russian foreign ministry department said.
According to it, it is essential that all the above issues are settled by Bosnian sides through a dialogue specified in the Dayton Accords. “Outside interference and forcing of various international ‘recipes’ upon Bosnians will not result in any sustainable concessions,” the Department said. Recall numerous failures of the West’s efforts to undermine the Peace Agreement and turn Bosnia and Herzegovina into a centralized state. Those efforts were not welcomed by powerful Serbian and Croatian political forces, the Russian foreign ministry said.
“Therefore, Russia consistently comes out for transfer of full responsibility for what is happening in Bosnia and Herzegovina to Bosnians and sooner abolition of the Higher Representative’s staff. That protectorate-like presence no longer fits into the reality hindering progress in the Bosnian settlement. Besides, it humiliates the peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina who must finally get back their exclusive right to manage their destiny and their country,” the Information and Press Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry said thereby recalling the stance of the Russian Federation.
Russia is committed to further active support to our Bosnian partners in the implementation of the Peace Agreement of 1995, development of mutually advantageous ties in political, trade and economic and cultural and humanitarian fields with Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Entities, the ministry said.
The General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, also known as the Dayton Agreement, Dayton Accords, is the peace agreement reached near Dayton, Ohio, United States, in November 1995, and formally signed in Paris on 14 December 1995. The conference took place from 1–21 November 1995. The talks held with the participation of guarantor-states – U.S., Russia, Germany, UK and France resulted in signing of the Agreement consisting of 11 annexes, of which the key annex No.4 was the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In accordance with the document, Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of two administrative and territorial Entities: Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska. The key principle of operation of all-Bosnian agencies known as “Voting of Entities” says a decision shall be considered approved in the presidium and in the parliament if it is supported by majority of representatives of each Entity and each state-forming people (Bosniaks, Serbs and Croatians). This mechanism prevents decisions running contrary to the interests of Entities and peoples and helps keeping stability in the country.