Banja Luka.jpg
Banja Luka, administrative center of Bosnian Serb entity
Photograph: Photo by David Bailey, used under CC BY-SA

The Office of the High Representative (OHR) and the US Embassy in Sarajevo said on Saturday that a referendum on Republika Srpska Day, which has been temporarily banned by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, would be in violation of the Dayton peace agreement, which ended the country's 1992-1995 war.

"The Dayton Peace Agreement is an international peace treaty that cannot be challenged without consequences. The United States and the international community have invested heavily in bringing peace, stability and prosperity to BiH. We will not accept attempts to obstruct implementation of the DPA or weaken BiH institutions," the US Embassy said in a statement.

Warning that the referendum would pose a threat to the country's stability and security, the US recalled the conclusions of the member states of the Peace Implementation Council which monitors the implementation of the Dayton agreement.

"They clearly stated that they would not tolerate any violation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace, including but not limited to attempts at secession. We firmly stand behind those statements," the US Embassy said, calling on the Bosnian Serb authorities to refrain from holding the referendum.

"Failure to respect the court’s decision would undermine rule of law, leads the RS to isolation and uncertainty and directly challenge the State level judiciary," the embassy said.

The OHR issued a similar call to the Republika Srpska authorities. "The High Representative calls upon the authorities in the RS to refrain from holding a referendum that has no legal basis and would directly violate the decision of the Court."

The OHR said that the referendum would challenge the State level judiciary and the Dayton agreement.

"Challenging (the Constitutional Court's) authority by holding the referendum would constitute a direct and serious violation of the General Framework Agreement for Peace, which affects the stability of the country," the international community's High Representative said.

The Constitutional Court on Saturday dismissed a motion by the government of the Bosnian Serb entity, called Republika Srpska, to review its early ruling contesting the entity's decision to observe January 9 as Republika Srpska Day, and temporarily banned a referendum which the entity plans to hold on September 25.

More on this story

Bosnian Constitutional Court temporarily bans Serb entity referendum

The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday dismissed a motion by the Serb entity's government that the Court reconsider its decision to contest the entity's decision to observe January 9 as its day, and temporarily banned a referendum which the entity plans to hold on September 25.

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