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BANJALUKA, NOVEMBER 11 /SRNA/ - Republika Srpska institutions, headed by the National Assembly, are under an obligation to insist, through the autonomy, protection mechanisms and competences recognised by the Dayton Accords, on its consistent implementation, both domestically and internationally, in particular Annex Four, i.e. the BiH Constitution, Igor Žunić, Head of the SNSD Caucus in the Srpska Parliament, said today.


Explaining in the National Assembly the information on unconstitutional transformation of BiH's Dayton structure and the impact on Republika Srpska's position and rights, Žunić said the document was a review of the continuity of planned action of depriving Republika Srpska of competences, thus voiced hope that the deputies would recognise and jointly bring adequate conclusions in the interest of Srpska during a constructive debate.

"Given the constitutional position and its role in the formulation of Republika Srpska's internal policy, but also of BiH's foreign policy, it is essential for the Republika Srpska National Assembly to show its full strength in key moments and reach full national unity concerning the issues of vital interest to Republika Srpska," Žunić said.

He emphasizes that at the international level, Republika Srpska, in accordance with the competences defined by the Constitution of BiH, must make every effort to properly and truthfully inform the international community and the public about the situation in BiH.

"Locally, urgent reform of the judiciary institutions at the BiH level needs to be undertaken, since the composition, organisation and functioning of these institutions is not in accordance with the fundamental principle of the rule of law, posing an obstacle to the country's further progress towards the EU," Žunić said.

According to him, it is also necessary to conduct thorough analyzes of the impacts caused by the unconstitutional transformation of BiH, both at the level of Republika Srpska and BiH, which has been transformed into an insatiable machinery of inefficient institutions whose needs are increasingly difficult to meet without serious budgetary damage to the еntities, as the main holders of power and most responsible for the economic and social position of the population.

Žunić emphasizes that, in this respect, it is necessary to consider the efficiency of the reached inter-entity agreements that led to the transfer of certain competencies to the level of BiH, and to review the imposed regulations and the consequences of their integration in a legal system forcibly constructed at the BiH level.

"Protecting the rule of law and safeguarding the constitutional position of Republika Srpska can only be achieved through persistent work on preservation of the Dayton structure, the well-being of citizens living in BiH, consolidating the sovereignty of the state community and its entities, adhering to the principles of the Dayton Peace Agreement and insisting on the legal establishment and functioning of joint institutions," Žunić said.

According to him, it is necessary to start a detailed analysis of all inter-entity agreements which envisaged the transfer of entity’s competencies to the institutions at the BiH level and to evaluate the impacts of such competency transfers, in order to determine their efficiency and functionality.

"BiH officials and institutions must respect principles of the rule of law. This particularly refers to the judiciary, whose legitimacy and validity depend on it. BiH must provide legal, legitimate, efficient and accountable authority. This entails, above all, respecting the electoral will of citizens by forming institutions made up of legitimate representatives of each of the constituent peoples and state-forming entities," Žunić said.

He assesses that BiH institutions need to be carefully analyzed to determine the efficiency of their work and justification for it, while the excess and unnecessary burdens must be eliminated, which may include budget cuts, staff reduction and abolition of agencies and institutions.

Žunić reminds that the mutual rights and obligations of the entities are governed by the Dayton Agreement, including the BiH Constitution.

"Agreements concluded by the two entities in accordance with the BiH Constitution do not themselves represent the amendments to the BiH Constitution, nor can they amended it. Based on the fabrication of 'BiH statehood' which does not exist in the BiH Constitution, the entities have been stripped of number of competences and transferred to the BiH level. This has led to hypertrophy of unconstitutional institutions at the BiH level, which deprive the entities of necessary financial resources to exercise their constitutional competences," Žunić recalled.

He reiterated that in the years following the Dayton Peace Agreement, the two entities often, under enormous pressure by the OHR, reached several political agreements in which they agreed that BiH should exercise additional powers, adding that these agreements must be reviewed, especially in light of continued failure to form the Council of Ministers and dysfunction of the BiH joint authorities.

"Failure to form the Council of Ministers more than a year after the general elections underscores the dysfunction of the authorities at the BiH level. The BiH Constitution - Annex 4 of the Dayton Peace Agreement foresaw the potential for such dysfunctionality and tried to minimize the damage it could cause by giving the entities more competences. In this regard, Republika Srpska may be forced to consider the restoring of some competencies that belong to it under the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which have been illegally usurped over time, with the aim of being exercised by institutions that are not familiar with the BiH Constitution," Žunić said.

Republika Srpska withdrawing from the 2003 agreement, by which Srpska and BiH Federation approved the transfer of competences related to the indirect taxation from the entities to the BiH level, could be one step towards this goal, Žunić said.

"By doing so, Republika Srpska would act within its rights to withdraw from the inter-entity agreement on transfer of competencies in the field of indirect taxation. The BiH Indirect Taxation Authority is being abused for violating the Dayton Peace Agreement and the BiH Constitution by depriving Srpska of income belonging to its citizens." Žunić said.

Žunić emphasizes that irresponsible work of the institutions and officials, including activities that are dishonest or beyond jurisdiction, must be disclosed and corrected.

"Republika Srpska’s activity in the coming period must be a commitment to return to the Dayton structure of BiH that has been defaced for years. The end of the illusions and misconceptions that the Bosniak side will ever give up its plans for centralization and unitarization, contrary to the international Dayton treaty, will determine further activities the National Assembly of Republika Srpska should define through conclusions," Žunić said.

He recalled that the SDA Declaration defined the interest of Bosniaks, namely the centralization of BiH, one capital city, police reform, accession to NATO, the creation of one culture and language.

Žunić believes that the Republika Srpska institutions are obliged to find an appropriate modality for analyzing the work of all the institutions imposed and for reviewing the impacts caused by the transfer of competences from Republika Srpska to the level of BiH.

"Within the framework of the Dayton Peace Agreement, the right of Republika Srpska, i.e. the Serb people, to self-determination implies the preservation of the Dayton structure, that is, the preservation of the broad autonomy of the entities, the constitutionally vested powers and the prescribed mechanisms for protection of constituent peoples. In this regard, it is necessary to review the regulations imposed by the High Representatives, and find ways to restore competences in accordance with the original text of Annex 4 of the Dayton Peace Agreement," Žunić said. /will be continued/vos