The Constitutional Court was “completely delegitimized and has brought itself to the point of absurdity,” Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik said ahead of Tuesday’s vote. The decision could further exacerbate tensions in the deeply divided country. The court changed its own statutes last week so that it can henceforth meet without Serbian judges. The decision followed a refusal by the Bosnian parliament to fill a vacancy on the court’s bench.
The US Embassy in Sarajevo on Tuesday immediately condemned the Bosnian Serbs’ decision, saying it threatened to undermine implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords. “This is stupid and irresponsible, but it certainly fits with Mr. Dodik’s other efforts to deprive the residents of the Republic of Srpska of their fundamental freedoms,” the embassy said on Twitter.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is divided into the Republic of Srpska, which is predominantly inhabited by Bosnian Serbs, and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which mostly Muslim Bosniaks and Croats live. For some time there have been attempts to secede in the Republic of Srpska. Russia is accused of supporting these efforts. Dodik is considered an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.