Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Bosnian Serbs Back Serbia Over ICJ Ruling

Banja Luka parliament rejects move to urge Serbia to comply with ICJ judgment.
By IWPR
The Bosnian Serb parliament voted this week against the Bosnian presidency’s split decision to press Serbia to comply with the ruling of the International Court of Justice, ICJ, and arrest war crimes suspects who have been indicted on genocide charges.



By a vote of 69 to six, the Republika Srpska parliament upheld the veto cast on April 11 by the Bosnian Serb member of the state three-part presidency, Nebojsa Radmanovic, who refused a decision already accepted by Muslim and Croat members of the presidency, Haris Silajdzic and Zeljko Komsic.



Each of the three ethnic groups in Bosnia has the right to veto a state decision if they view it as damaging to their vital interests.



In February this year, the ICJ acquitted Serbia of direct responsibility for the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, but found it guilty of failing to prevent the crime and not doing anything to punish the perpetrators.



The court also instructed Serbia to take immediate action to apprehend those responsible for the Srebrenica massacre and hand them over to the Hague tribunal.



Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic, accused of being one of the main architects of the killings of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in this eastern Bosnian town, is believed to be hiding in Serbia for years.



While Silajdzic and Komsic voted for a request to be passed to Belgrade to arrest Mladic, Radmanovic vetoed it claiming the request was "destructive" for the interests of Republika Srpska.



Silajdzic promptly accused Radmanovic of turning "Republika Srpska into an agent of Serbia".



Radmanovic responded by saying that the request to Serbia to arrest genocide suspects was "unnecessary… and inappropriate” and would not contribute to Serbia’s cooperation with the Hague tribunal.



He said such a demand would spoil the country’s close ties with

Serbia, adding it was not in Bosnia's competence to interpret the ICJ decision.



Merdijana Sadovic is IWPR’s Hague programme manager.