Brussels (Brussels Morning) Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, has dismissed the sanctions Washington imposed yesterday, even though they reflect rising concerns in the US and elsewhere that his secessionist moves are a threat to the fragile peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Dodik, a member of the country’s tripartite presidency, promoted moves boycotting the work of the central government, calling on Serb politicians and officials to end their participation in such state institutions as the army, the judiciary and the tax system.
His actions were prompted by former International High Representative Valentin Inzko, who outlawed genocide denial in BH just days before his departure in July. Inzko opted to utilise the rarely-used powers of the International Representative, first established in 1995 by the Dayton Peace Accord, to force the legislation into power.
Dodik adamantly refused to acknowledge the law, given that denial of the1995 Srebrenica genocide and glorification of convicted war criminals are a common feature of post-war Bosnian Serb politics. Dodik himself refuses to acknowledge the genocide of 8,000 Muslim men and boys that took place in the protected UN enclave of Srebrenica. Also, he honours the Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladić, who was convicted by the Hague Tribunal for his role in the massacre, as a Bosnian Serb hero.
The US imposed sanctions on two other Bosnian Serb leaders, Dodik’s adviser Milan Tegeltija and the scandal-ridden party leader Mirsad Kukić. Another target for the sanctionst was Alternativna Televizija, the TV network owned by a company linked to Dodik’s son.
Moscow-backed Dodik previously brushed aside the threat of US sanctions, saying he is “already under sanctions,” and stressing that “nothing serious” has happened to him.