European Western Balkans

Várhelyi blamed former HR Inzko for the current crisis in BiH, leaked minutes reveal

Olivér Várhelyi; Photo: European Union

SARAJEVO – European Commissioner for Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi said that former High Representative Valentin Inzko was to blame for the current political crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina during his visit to the country on 24 and 25 November, leaked minutes of the EU Delegation to BiH show.

The leaks were published yesterday by Istraga.ba portal, which described them as a proof that Várhelyi was “benevolent” to Dodik, whose actions in the wake of the adoption of Inzko’s amendments to the Criminal Code banning Srebrenica genocide denial been condemned by the United States and the European Union.

“Commissioner shared his frank assessment that… HR Inzko was to blame for the current political crisis in BiH as well as de-ligitimisation of the OHR. While the Inzko amendments could not be disputed from the point of view of law’s substance, the fact it was imposed on the last day of HR Inzko’s mandate had been problematic. Especially because it was an important decision, it should have been based on a through debate having everyone on board. The question was now how to correct this”, the leaked minutes read.

The document also shows that Várhelyi and Dodik talked in advance about the session of the Republika Srpska National Assembly, which took place on 10 December. The parliament adopted the information on “transfer of competencies from BiH to the level of Republika Srpska” in the field of indirect taxation, justice, defense and security”.

“On the planned special RSNA session for 10 December, the Commissioner clarified that the Session would indeed take place but that a moratorium to pass legislation on the unilateral withdrawal from State institutions would be announced for a 6-month period”, the minutes read.

In terms of overcoming the difficult political situation, the document reads further, the Commissioner saw that a fragile political package agreement could be reached focusing on three topics. These included solving State Property issues, addressing Inzko’s Criminal Code amendments and Constitutional and Electoral Law reform.

On Monday, EC Spokesman Peter Stano rejected as “inaccurate” the claims about the alleged agreement between Commissioner Várhelyi and the Republika Srpska authorities on holding a special session of the RS Assembly.

“The EU’s position regarding the session of the RS Assembly on 10 December 2021 is clearly expressed in the statements of Commissar Várhelyi during his visit to BiH. As he pointed out earlier, the undermining of state institutions would take BiH further from aligning with the EU legal order and put the EU path on hold “, Peter Stano said.

He added that this position was reaffirmed in the joint statement of Quint countries and the EU issued on 10 December, in which we very clearly emphasised that the conclusions of the Republika Srpska parliament were a step towards escalation and a dead end.

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