Remarks Denis Bećirović, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at a UN Security Council Briefing on Bosnia and Herzegovina

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May 15, 2024

Denis Bećirović, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that the High Representative is the only high official authorized to present a report to this Council, calling the reports of the Republika Srpska entity “legally unfounded” as entities within the sovereign State of Bosnia and Herzegovina and other subnational governments do not possess that right.

He said he is addressing the Council on behalf of the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is a full member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and a country at the doorstep of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).  The key problems of his country did not originate within its borders.  The Hague Tribunal confirmed that there was no civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but an international armed conflict was waged against it.  These are attempts from outside to weaken and destroy the country and “the essence of all the problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the last four decades”.

The leaders of the Republika Srpska do not respect the judgments of the UN courts, selectively interpret the Dayton Agreement, undermine the independence, sovereignty and Statehood of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and seek to block the Office of the High Representative and the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, he warned.  Clarifying issues regarding the peace accords, he stressed that “sovereignty” is mentioned nine times in the Dayton Agreement and exclusively refers to the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Only Bosnia and Herzegovina has “continuity” while the entities in the country have only existed since the signing of the Dayton Agreement.  Serbia is not a guarantor of this agreement, but one of the three parties.  Regrettably, there is an intense level of militarization in neighbouring countries, he said, underscoring the critical importance of upholding the military power balance in the region and of the Security Council extending EUFOR-Althea mission’s mandate in November 2024.

The representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina, re-taking the floor, underscored that the process of reconciliation must lead to “overall recovery”, including through the recognition of the crime of genocide and the promotion of truth and justice.  However, he voiced concern over the lack of compassion for victims and the glorification of convicted war criminals, stressing that the cultural remembrance of the victims of genocide in Srebrenica must not be “a culture of denial” but “a culture of memory” so that it is never repeated.

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