Books on Bosnia & Herzegovina
Update No: 125 - (26/10/07)
Croatia joins the UN Security Council; Slovenia to assume
The fact that Croatia has joined the UN Security Council, effective as of
January, and that from then Slovenia will hold the EU presidency, are both
favourable developments for Bosnia.
Croatian officials began planning their agenda in New York. Some issues are of
direct national concern -- for example, the UN war crimes tribunal at The Hague
will be a regular topic on the Security Council's agenda for the next two years.
An exit strategy for wrapping up the court's work must be finalised.
Croatia is strongly against closing down the tribunal before the two top war
crime fugitives, -- Bosnian Serbs Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic -- are
brought to justice. "We shall seek justice for all the victims,"
Meanwhile, he stressed that Croatia will not use its position to put pressure on
Slovenia over the two countries' rival territorial claims in the Adriatic. The
prime minister said the main mission of Council membership for Croatia will be
to promote political stability in Southeast Europe -- with a focus on Kosovo and
Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Slovenia is similarly well-disposed and keen to promote stability on its
The Serbs threaten walk-out
There is no doubt what the main source of instability is in Bosnia. The main
governing party in Bosnia's Serb entity, RS has warned that its representatives
will walk out of state institutions, unless planned changes to the government
and parliament are withdrawn.
The threat from the Party of Independent Social Democrats, SNSD, came on October
21 in response to an announcement from the international community's High
Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Miroslav Lajcak, to reform the
procedures affecting the functioning of the country's central government and
According to the Nezavisne Novine daily, senior SNSD officials, including
ministers in the Bosnian government, have already written their letters of
Lajcak versus the Bosnian Serbs
The new High Representative is determined to impose his authority. Lajcak
announced on October 19 that he was imposing changes to the law on the central
government, the council of ministers, and requesting Bosnian lawmakers to adopt
by December 1 reforms on the functioning of the parliament - both with a view to
making these institutions operate more efficiently.
Lajcak's changes mean that Bosnia's council of ministers can hold sessions
whenever a majority of its members are present, and that decisions on certain
matters can be made by a majority of those attending.
In future decisions can be passed by the government, as long as the majority
includes at least one representative from each of the three constituent peoples
- Bosniaks (Muslims), Serbs and Croats - instead of the two currently required.
The second measure, not imposed so far but proposed, stipulates that laws can be
passed in Bosnia's parliament, as long as the majority voting for them includes
at least one-third of the deputies from each of Bosnia's two entities, the RS
and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina which brings together mostly
Bosniaks and Croats.
Under the current interpretation of the Rules of Procedure, a successful
majority requires the support of one-third of the total number of MPs from each
Politicians in the Federation have welcomed Lajcak's move which followed the
failure of Bosnia's leaders to agree on police reforms - thereby halting their
country's process of integration with the EU.
By contrast, RS politicians are opposed to the changes, and media reported that
there was even an initiative under way to take Lajcak to the constitutional
court. Lajcak's office declined to comment on the SNSD's announcement, saying
they needed more time to familiarize themselves with that decision.
Other parties in the RS have reacted in a similar way to the SNSD, calling for
unity among all Serb parties in the country.
The Party of Democratic Progress has announced that it will ask for Lajcak's
dismissal. President of the Serb Democratic Party, Mladen Bosic, has called for
an emergency session of the RS national assembly.