Iz Glasnika Nacionalnog kongresa Republike BiH - br. 938

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By Tarik Borogovac, Bosnian Congress USA

Today the “Republic of the Serbs” entity has held an illegal referendum to declare January 9 as its official statehood (republic) day to commemorate January 9, 1992, which was the day when "results" of another illegal referendum were implemented; "Serbian Republic B&H" was declared.

That referendum of 25 years ago was illegal because it was held on Bosnian territory but not organized nor approved by the government of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In fact, Bosnia also held an official referendum in which citizens of all ethnicities overwhelmingly voted for an independent, united and sovereign Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The January 9 referendum was simply a declaration of war against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and all its’ citizens, by a faction of Ultra-nationalist Serbs, led by Radovan Karadzic and co-conspirators intent on committing ethnic cleansing -- armed seizure of territory and genocide of all non-Serbs. Karadzic and many of his co-conspirators would later be tried for systematic war crimes and genocide committed in the campaign they formally began on January 9, 1992.

Today’s referendum is illegal because the Dayton Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has recently judged that “The Republic of the Serbs” has no constitutional right to hold a referendum of any kind. The court has also judged that the RS entity will not be allowed to mark January 9 as an official holiday. Decisions of the Court under the Dayton Constitution are "final and binding." So, this referendum is simply an illegal use of state property to organize a petition, and its outcome in opposition to the Constitutional Court decision has no legal weight or consequence.

Actually, there is one immense legal consequence – it will result in the abolition of the “Republic of the Serbs” entity itself. Namely, “The Republic of the Serbs” is effectively declaring that it is officially exiting and no longer subject to the Dayton Agreement and the Bosnian Constitution contained within it. But the Dayton Constitution is the birth certificate of the RS, the very contract that defined it as an entity in the first place. The Dayton Constitution itself has all along been illegal, for many reasons.

First, it was a constitution created as a concession to genocide. The process circumvented legal and democratic mechanisms for constitutional change, replacing the will of the large majority of Bosnian citizens of all ethnicities who had voted for independence, unity and sovereignty of Bosnia, in order to reward perpetrators of genocide with ethnically cleansed territory and governmental authority. The International Court of Justice ruled in 2007 that the army and police of the RS committed genocide in Srebrenica. Srebrenica remains within the borders of the RS.

Second, it created ethnic territories and ethnic apartheid rule, which represent an effort to freeze and hold on to gains made by genocide and terrorism. For example, the International Human Rights Court in Strasbourg has ruled that the Dayton Constitution as written violates the rights of its citizens by means of electoral discrimination based on ethnicity.

Third, although the RS has until today declared itself as respecting the Dayton Agreement, in practice it has all along failed to abide by its obligations under the agreement.

And fourth, today the RS has outright unilaterally declared that it will not abide by the Dayton Agreement or Constitution.

When a side in an agreement refuses to honor it, then the logical next step is to end the agreement and return to the status quo ante -- the legal state before the agreement. And before the agreement, there was no entity “Republic of the Serbs” in law -- there was only an idea of RS in the minds of Milosevic, Karadzic, Mladic and the followers of their ideology.