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Bosnia top courts upholds ban of Serb holiday

March 29, 2019

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Bosnia’s top court on Friday upheld a ban on a controversial Serb holiday that is seen as discriminatory to the country’s Muslims and Croats. Bosnian Serbs criticized the ruling as political.

The dispute reflects ongoing ethnic divisions in Bosnia long after the end of the 1992-95 war.

The Constitutional Court said Friday that Jan. 9 can’t be celebrated as the national holiday of the Serb entity in Bosnia, Republika Srpska.

The holiday marks the date in 1992 when Bosnian Serbs declared the creation of their own state in Bosnia, igniting a war that killed more than 100,000 people and left millions homeless.

Bosnia’s Serbs have celebrated the holiday despite protests from other ethnic groups and a 2015 court decision that it was unconstitutional.

On Friday, top Bosnian Serb officials described the new court ruling as political and directed against the Serb entity in Bosnia.

“This is a serious attack on Republika Srpska,” Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic said.

MIlorad Dodik, the Serb member of Bosnia’s multi-ethnic presidency, insisted that Serbs will continue to celebrate Jan. 9.

A U.S.-brokered peace agreement that ended the war created two highly autonomous parts, the Serb one and another shared by Muslim Bosniaks and Croats. Each part has its own parliament, presidency and police force. But the two are linked by joint state-level institutions including a parliament and a tripartite presidency, which must reach consensus before decisions can be made.

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