Bosnian Serb leader demands deportation of high representative

Schmidt abusing his 'Bonn powers' by influencing upcoming general elections and undermining country's constitutional order, Dodik alleges.

Bosnian Serb leader demands deportation of high representative

A Serb member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidential Council on Thursday demanded the deportation of a German politician serving as a high representative in the country, accusing him of meddling in the runup to October's general elections.

During a Presidency Council meeting, Milorad Dodik accused Christian Schmidt of abusing his "Bonn powers" by influencing general elections through his funds and undermining the country's constitutional order.

The high representative has broad powers known as "Bonn powers," which allow him to report to the UN on developments and challenges in Bosnia and Herzegovina on an annual basis.

"I thought that the members of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidential Council would approve that there is no high representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina because Schmidt was not appointed by a United Nations Security Council decision.

“All his actions are null and void and (he) must be expelled in according with the procedure for foreigners violating the constitutional order in Bosnia and Herzegovina,'' Dodik said.

The Bosniak member and the council’s Chairman, Sefik Dzaferovic, and the Croat member, Zeljko Komsic, both rejected Dodik’s request, who also demanded that the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in the country should also be closed.

Schmidt used his "Bonn powers" to finance the country’s general elections on Oct. 2, Dodik alleged, citing his announcement of allocating €6.5 million (approximately $6.97 million) for the Central Election Commission.

The new scenario arose after Schmidt stated during a press conference in Sarajevo on Tuesday that the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) had to utilize extraordinary powers due to challenges in distributing the necessary funds for the country's elections.

He said this decision will come into effect as soon as it is published in the Official Gazette, and he emphasized that with the legal regulation made under the Bonn authority, the finance problem will be resolved not only for this year's elections but also for all future elections.

The OHR was established with the Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The office oversees the implementation of the peace agreement in the country on behalf of the international community. The High Representative also coordinates the activities of international institutions operating in the country.

The High Representative has the authority to dismiss anyone who interferes with the implementation of peace in the country, including members of the Presidential Council, and to pass laws as necessary.

The extraordinary powers of the PIC were entrusted to OHR in 1997 during a meeting in Bonn, Germany, and were dubbed "Bonn powers."

Hüseyin Demir