Bosnian Serb leader: war crimes court should go

AP News
Posted: Apr 13, 2011 3:06 PM
Bosnian Serb leader: war crimes court should go

The Bosnian Serb leader has accused the international community of helping Muslim Bosniaks create an Islamic state and claims the country's top war crimes court is an illegal institution that demonizes his people.

Milorad Dodik told the Bosnian Serb Parliament Wednesday that the State Court had so far convicted ten times more Serbs than any other ethnicity, and called on lawmakers to approve a referendum for those living in the Bosnian Serb part of the country that will decide whether they should continue to answer to the court.

The court would not comment on the allegations but Bosnia's top international administrator, Austrian diplomat Valentin Inzko, said what Dodik is trying to do violates the peace agreement that ended the war between the country's Serb, Croats and Bosniaks.

The EU mission in Bosnia said in a statement that Bosnia's state judicial institutions need to be preserved and that the EU supports the work of the State Court and State Prosecutor's Office as those institutions ensure the rule of law in the country in line with European standards.

A political analyst later accused Dodik of trying "trying to destabilize the country."

The State Court and its prominent war-crimes section was established by the international community in 2005 to ease the burden on the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague by taking over lower level cases of war crimes committed during the country's 1992-95 war.

Dodik claimed Wednesday that the court continues to present Serbs as the sole guilty party in the war, and is thus justifying international efforts to take away Serb autonomy. He accused the international community of helping Muslim Bosniaks create an Islamic state.

"We have no right to be naive," he told the Bosnian Serb Parliament. "The creation of an Islamic state is a project... Unfortunately some of the people representing the international community who sit in Sarajevo and elsewhere in the world for their own reasons support the realization of that Bosniak goal."

Dodik has been frequently accused of obstructing the work of state institutions.

Tanja Topic, a political analyst in Bosnia-Herzegovina's second largest city Banja Luka accused Dodik of "trying to destabilize the country."

"He is performing this risky dance on a very thin wire to keep people's attention away from their real problems, their terrible social and economic situation," she said.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on his referendum request later in the evening.