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Bosnia facing worst crisis since war ended in 1995, claims top official

The country’s top administrator has called a Serb referendum planned for next month a “blatant attack” on the 1995 peace agreement.

3 May 2011: Bosnian Serb woman Bogdana Tomovic weeps for her late son Zdravko Tomovic during a commemoration ceremony for victims of a 1992 attack by Bosnian militia in Sarajevo.
3 May 2011: Bosnian Serb woman Bogdana Tomovic weeps for her late son Zdravko Tomovic during a commemoration ceremony for victims of a 1992 attack by Bosnian militia in Sarajevo.
Image: AP Photo/Amel Emric

BOSNIA IS FACING one of its worst political crises since war ended in 1995, the country’s international administrator warned the United Nations today.

The comments from Valentin Inzko came as Bosnia’s Serbs have scheduled a mid-June referendum to highlight the widespread Bosnian Serb rejection of the country’s federal institutions, especially its war crimes court, which Serbs see as biased against them.

Inzko, who has final say over the Balkan nation’s affairs according to the deal that ended Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war, has given Bosnia’s Serbs until the end of the week to call off the vote.

Inzko’s warning came in a report to the UN in New York. The Bosnian Serb referendum “is a blatant attack” on the 1995 peace agreement “and the achievements made since its signing,” a statement from Iznko’s office said today.

But the Bosnian Serbs wrote to UN chief Ban Ki-Moon over the weekend, claiming that Inzko is trying to “deceive” the UN with his report and insisting he is the one threatening Bosnia’s peace by misusing his powers.

“The continuous abuse of power by the High Representative, a rule based on autocratic decisions … cannot be further tolerated,” the letter to Ban stated.

Since the end of the war, Bosnia has been divided into two ethnic ministates — one for Serbs, the other shared by Muslim Bosniaks and Croats. The Serbs want to maintain as much autonomy as possible while the international community and the Muslims are pushing for more central institutions so Bosnia can fulfill conditions to join the 27-nation European Union.

Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik — for some time at odds with the West — says Serbs would rather drop the idea of Bosnia joining the EU if that means they must transfer more power from their regional government to federal institutions.

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Dodik has called on old ally Serbia to help. The Russian ambassador to Bosnia, Aleksandar Bocan-Harcenko, has also said his country will not support Inzko’s report.

Bocan-Harcenko told the Serbian news agency Tanjug the Serb referendum does not violate the peace agreement and the international administrator has no reason to ban it.

If he does “it will not ease the current tensions, but deepen them,” he told Tanjug.

- AP

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