An appellate council of the state court rejected the state prosecution’s appeal and threw out its RS Day referendum indictment in second instance. The appeal ruling is final. The prosecution appealed to the court’s earlier ruling that rejected an indictment against four members of the Republika Srpska referendum commission, formed by the entity parliament. The court said that the Republika Srpska assembly was responsible for enforcing the Constitutional Court’s decision that banned the 2016 referendum on the date of the RS Day holiday, and “the accused did not have real power to suspend the decision about holding the referendum”.
The referendum on the date of Republika Srpska Day, January 9, was held on September 25, 2016.
The state prosecution charged the commission members for ignoring the Constitutional Court’s ban, but said it had no evidence to charge the entity president Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of the state presidency Mladen Ivanić, the RS Prime Minister Željka Cvijanović and the foreign trade minister on the national Council of Ministers, Mirko Šarović. The prosecution also didn’t charge the RS assembly members because they have immunity from criminal prosecution.
The Constitutional Court ruled in 2015 that the RS Day date, January 9, was discriminatory against the entity’s non-Serbs, as it is also an Orthodox Christian holiday. The entity holiday is celebrated on that date because a Bosnian Serb assembly declared a Serb republic in Bosnia on January 9, 1992, weeks before the Bosnian war broke out. The response of the entity authorities to the ruling was the 2016 referendum on the holiday date, also banned by the Constitutional Court, but held anyway.