Peace Overseer Responds to Threat against Head of Regional Office

The international peace deal overseer in Bosnia responded to an arrest threat against his mission head of office, made by the Bosnian Serb leader, saying that foreign diplomats in the country enjoy immunity under a convention on diplomatic relations.

The president of Republika Srpska entity, Milorad Dodik, told reporters that he was close to ordering arrest of Marianne Berecz, head of the Office of High Representative division in Banja Luka, for allegedly encouraging the RS opposition lawmakers to actively obstruct the work of the entity parliament this week.

“Ambassador Marianne Berecz was not present in the premises of the RS National Assembly before, during, or after the session of 17 October,” said Valentin Inzko, the High Representative in Bosnia.

However, “… designated OHR staff regularly monitors sessions of parliamentary bodies across the country, including sessions of the RS National Assembly, as do other diplomatic representatives. In that regard, Annex 10 of the GFAP (the Dayton peace agreement) clearly states that the Parties to the Agreement shall fully cooperate with the High Representative and his staff,” Inzko said in a statement.

“Annex 10 also states that the professional members of the High Representative’s staff have the same privileges and immunities as enjoyed by diplomatic agents under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The Vienna Convention (Article 29) also states that the person of a diplomatic agent shall be inviolable. He or she shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention. The receiving State shall treat him or her with due respect and shall take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on their person, freedom or dignity.”

“In any event,” said Inzko, “the President of the Republika Srpska does not have the prerogative to issue an arrest warrant against anyone.”

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