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UPDATE - Bosnian police raids Serb political parties

UPDATE - Bosnian police raids Serb political parties
Searches come amid moves by some Serb politicians towards separatism, moves denounced by prosecutors, EU countries, and Turkey

UPDATES WITH STATEMENT FROM SERB MEMBER OF PRESIDENCY OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

By Talha Ozturk

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) - Moving against a separatist push by some of the country’s Serb leaders, Bosnia and Herzegovina police on Wednesday raided the headquarters of the Serbian People's Party (NSP).

Forces of the State Investigation and Protection Agency carried out the operation in the city of Banja Luka, the administrative capital of the Republika Srpska entity.

The operation came after prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday launched an inquiry into some politicians of Republika Srpska, weeks after Serb legislators threatened to leave the federation if the government does not resolve the country's mounting political challenges.

After the raid of NSP headquarters, security forces separately searched the headquarters of the National Democratic Movement (NDP) to seek documents as part of investigation of an attack on the constitutional order, said an official statement.

On Monday, prosecutors said they had launched an investigation over provocative statements made on Dec. 11 by Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of the country's Presidential Council, who told Republika Srpska lawmakers that the breakup of Bosnia and Herzegovina was "inevitable" if "we cannot overcome the difficult situations we are in."

Dodik declared that in such a scenario, Republika Srpska would "leave the country," and the lawmakers made plans to set up separate government laws and procedures.

Prosecutor on Monday said the lawmakers’ session was an attack on the constitutional order and the Dayton Peace Agreement, which ended the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

The embassies of the US, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Union delegation sharply criticized the move and urged the assembly to abandon its decisions.

Turkey sounded similar notes, saying through a Foreign Ministry spokesman: "Turkey sees the decisions of the National Assembly of Republika Srpska as harmful to the constitutional and legal framework and detrimental to the peaceful and prosperous future of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Meanwhile, Serb member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday criticized the police raids on the headquarters of the Serb political parties.

Speaking at a news conference, Milorad Dodik said this process initiated by the Bosnia and Herzegovina Prosecutor's Office is “political” and could destabilize the country.

“This is an attempt to destabilize the Republika Srpska in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in every sense. We will ban the activities of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Prosecutor's Office and Court on the territory of Republika Srpska. We will ensure the formation of an impartial judiciary. Within a month, we will establish our own High Council of Judges and Prosecutors,” said Dodik.


- Political dispute

Bosnia-Herzegovina is currently embroiled in a political conflict between Bosniaks and Serbs living in the country.

The dispute erupted after Valentin Inzko, the former high representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina, amended the criminal code in July to ban the denial of genocide and the glorification of war criminals.

In response, Bosnian Serb lawmakers said they would boycott the country's institutions.

Dodik denounced the amendments and pushed for the controversial separatist moves in the Republika Srpska parliament.

source: News Feed
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