Prosecution Will Investigate Intimidation Allegations against Bosnian Serb Leader

The state prosecutor launched a hate speech probe into the Republika Srpska leader, following a complaint from the Bosniak member of the national presidency. According to Klix, the prosecution received a complaint from Bakir Izetbegović, also the leader of main Bosniak party, the SDA, and opened a case file on Milorad Dodik. Izetbegović complained that the RS president intimidated the Bosniak returnees in eastern Bosnia parts controlled by the Serbs, in a July 7 speech at a commemoration for the eastern Bosnia Serbs killed in the 1992-1995 war.

In his address to the commemoration event in the town of Bratunac, Dodik said that the Islamic organizations have funded the return of Bosniaks expelled from the region bordering Serbia, “occupying again the Drina (region)”.

Izetbegović said Dodik statement was dangerous and a violation of the 1995 Dayton agreement that guarantees the right of refugees to return to their homes. He urged the prosecution and the Office of High Representative, in charge of the Dayton agreement implementation, to sanction Dodik.

“Commemorations to innocent victims of war crimes and the genocide in Srebrenica must never be used as a platform for incitement of ethnic or religious hostility or hatred. Such behavior goes against basic and universal human decency, is deplorable, fundamentally unacceptable and an insult to every victim or a survivor,” High Representative Valentin Inzko said.

“Statements such as the one given by RS entity President Dodik have no other purpose but to create fear amongst one of the most vulnerable groups in BiH. He should be aware that no political campaign can justify this. However, ordinary people know better: they have proved, on numerous occasions that they know how to live together in peace, tolerance and dignity,” the High Representative said.

Dodik said that Izetbegović’s complaint was another attempt to criminalize the Bosnian Serb leadership  and that it should be ignored.

“Bosniaks live free in Bratunac, Srebrenica and some other (mainly Serb) places. I did not say they did not have to return; 99 percent of the property was returned to the prewar owners, many reconstruction projects were completed, and a considerable number of them live there, they don’t mind anything,” Dodik said.

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