European Western Balkans

U.S. sanctions four BiH Serb officials for supporting law on non-application of Constitutional Court decisions

US Department of Treasury; Photo: Wikidata

WASHINGTON – On Monday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated four officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Serb member of the BiH Presidency Željka Cvijanović, Prime Minister of Republika Srpska Radovan Višković, President of the Republika Srpska National Assembly Nenad Stevandić, and Republika Srpska Minister of Justice Miloš Bukjelović – pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14033.

According to the press release, “these leaders are directly responsible for encouraging the passage of a Republika Srpska National Assembly law that purports to declare the decisions of the BiH Constitutional Court inapplicable in the RS, thus obstructing and threatening the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement”.

U.S. Treasury reminded that President of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik sponsored the introduction of the Law on the Non-Application of the Decisions of the BiH Constitutional Court in the Republika Srpska National Assembly and has been a primary proponent of its adoption. After the National Assembly adopted the law in June 2023, the High Representative in BiH exercised his authority on 1 July to nullify the legislation. Despite this, Dodik signed the law into effect on 7 July.

Dodik is already under U.S. sanctions pursuant to Executive Order 14033. Four persons sanctioned on this occasion, according to the U.S. Treasury, supported the adoption of the law in their official capacities.

As a result of the action, all property and interests in property of the sanctioned persons that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.

All transactions by U.S. persons within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons are prohibited unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt.

Reacting to the decision, Cvijanović said that the sanctions seem to her “more like a trick to appease Bosniaks than to really punish those they are intended for”, Radio Free Europe reports.

“Especially since they do not contribute to solving any problem, but are only an indication that there is no real strategy, and no will to bring the country into constitutional order and political stability,” Cvijanović said.

Four officials join the growing list of politicians sanctioned by the U.S. in the last two years, which also includes Dodik, Director of the Serbian Security and Intelligence Agency Aleksandar Vulin, former Prime Minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Fadil Novalić, former President of this entity Marinko Čavara, former Prime Minister of Albania Sali Berisha, as well as controversial Kosovo businessmen Zvonko Veselinović and Milan Radoičić.

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