Bosnia envoy suspends disputed Serb property law

Bosnia remains an international protectorate, divided largely along ethnic lines, 15 years after Europe's worst fighting since World War Two ended.

Bosnia envoy suspends disputed Serb property law

Bosnia's international peace overseer suspended a disputed Serb Republic property law on Wednesday until the top state court rules on whether a region and not the national government can take over state property.

Bosnia remains an international protectorate, divided largely along ethnic lines, 15 years after Europe's worst fighting since World War Two ended.

Resolving the row over who owns schools, barracks, museums and other state property is a key condition for ending the protectorate and enabling Bosnia to apply for European Union membership and take a further step towards joining NATO.

With the ruling that the constitutional court must decide on the issue, international envoy Valentin Inzko, who has power to suspend laws in the Balkan state, is set to exacerbate relations with Bosnian Serb leaders.

"Today's order prevents the legal uncertainty that would follow any act which would change the ownership over these properties before the constitutional court has rendered its final decision," a statement from Inzko's office said.

Inzko had warned that the legislation would delay progress towards EU and NATO membership by blocking key requirements for the closure of the postwar international protectorate in Bosnia.

The Serb Republic's regional parliament defied his warning by passing a law in September allocating state property to the regional rather than the national government.

It took effect last week, prompting a Bosnian Muslim leader to file a complaint at the constitutional court on Tuesday.

"The High Representative has no right to suspend a law ...," said Rajko Vasic, executive secretary of the Bosnian Serb ruling Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, denying the authority of the constitutional court over the issue.


Agencies

Last Mod: 06 Ocak 2011, 12:16
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