Bosnia referendum.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ TANJUG/ Tanja VALIČ/ ik

The Bosnian Prosecutor's Office has launched an investigation into a Bosnian Serb entity referendum which breached the law and the constitution, and the persons responsible for organising it will be interrogated in the days ahead, the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) said in a press release on Monday.

The Court said it opened this case 20 days ago and that "certain activities concerning failure to implement BiH Constitutional Court decisions" were being looked into. "Certain documents are being gathered and certain persons will be called to the BiH State Prosecutor's Office."

The Constitutional Court ruled in November 2015 that observing January 9 as the day of Republika Srpska (RS), the Serb entity, is unconstitutional as it discriminates against the Croats and Bosniaks living there, but the RS parliament decided on July 15 not to respect the ruling, calling a referendum on January 9 as RS Day. On September 17, the Constitutional Court temporarily banned the referendum.

Despite the ban, the referendum was held yesterday. According to the entity's referendum commission, the turnout was 55% and 99.8% voted for continuing to observe January 9 as RS Day.

State Prosecutor Goran Salihovic has ordered an investigation into the case, which has been given priority, his office said. "The BiH State Prosecutor's Office will act in line with the law," the press release said.

Failure to implement Constitutional Court decisions carries a prison sentence ranging from six months to five years.

The Bosniak Party of Democratic Action said the referendum was a manipulation and that the turnout results were forged. The party said in a press release that RS President Milorad Dodik "is trying to take a whole entity, and through it the whole Bosnia and Herzegovina, as hostage and turn the people into a shield for his arrogant, corrupt and, in the end, failed decade-long rule. However, the attack on the Constitutional Court and the Dayton agreement only opens the possibility that, aside for the economic wrongdoing he has managed to cover up so far, he will also be prosecuted for undermining the constitutional order."

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