The President of Republika Srpska (RS) Milorad Dodik, claimed on Thursday that he instructed police to arrest and deport High Representative Christian Schmidt upon his entry to RS territory. Reuters reported that these statements were made at a press conference with Bosnia and Herzegovina Security Minister Nenad Nešić, who supports Dodik’s actions. The RS is one of the two entities that composes Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In response to Dodik’s announcement on the deportation decree, Schmidt said that he will continue to fulfill his responsibilities in the RS and honor appointments he has in the RS in the coming days. Schmidt also contended that as a subject of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, he enjoys immunity and Dodik has no authority to arrest and deport him. The US Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina also released a statement contending that Dodik’s threat to limit Schmidt’s freedom of movement is unconstitutional. Reacting to the statement, Dodik said that Murphy does not have the authority to make legal determinations and that any “serious state” would not tolerate his presence.
On the same day that Dodik announced his deportation instructions, he met with Manuel Sarrazin, the German Federal Government Special Representative for the Countries of the Western Balkans. The meeting was about the recent German suspension of financing four major infrastructure projects in the RS. Sarrazin stated that the secessionist policy promulgated by Dodik has left Germany with no political space to continue its cooperation with the RS, as reported by local news media Klix.ba. In response, Dodik reiterated that the RS would not recognize Christian Schmidt due to a lack of appointment by the UN Security Council. The RS will look for alternatives to financially support these infrastructure projects.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country comprised of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, which mainly contain ethnic Bosniaks and Serbs respectively. Formed in 1995, the Office of the High Representative’s responsibility is to oversee the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement in the country. However, Dodik has on repeated occasions claimed that the High Representative has no jurisdiction in BiH because the adoption of the relevant UN Security Council resolution did not happen. Dodik has also been actively calling for the independence of the Republika Srpska.
The relationship between the RS and the Office of the High Representative has been fraught since Dodik was charged with failure to execute the High Representative’s decision, brought by the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia. In early September, Bosnian Serbs protested at the unmarked internal border where Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina meet. The purpose of the protest was to support Dodik, their separatist leader.