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Bosnia and Herzegovina - January 2023

Parade flouts Constitutional Court ruling

A parade was held in Eastern Sarajevo in honour of Statehood Day of Republika Srpska (RS), which commemorates the Bosnian Serbs’ declaration of a breakaway region in 1992. This event sparked the Bosnian war. Statehood Day is celebrated annually despite being banned by the country’s Constitutional Court (established through the Dayton Accords) in 2015 for being discriminatory against non-Serbs. The Court also deemed illegal a 2016 referendum and the passage of legislation in RS asserting the entity’s right to celebrate the occasion. Heavily armed Bosnian Serb police, war veterans and fascist organisations marched in the parade, stoking tensions between Bosnia and Herzegovina’s two entities. This year, the parade was moved from Banja Luka, the de facto capital of RS, to only kilometres from the state capital Sarajevo, a choice deemed by the European Parliament as, “an additional and particularly cynical provocative act.” 

Sources: Intellinews, Euractiv, Al Jazeera, European Parliament, Balkan Insight

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