Address by the President of the Republic of Srpska at a solemn academy on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Srpska


Constitutional Court with other relevant institutions of the Republic of Srpska.


Inversely, the connection, communication and cooperation on many issues is not only visible and envisaged by the Constitution of the Republic of Srpska, but it is absolutely necessary particularly in the context of protection and promotion of the principles of constitutionality and legality.


It is up to us, as representatives of the institutions of the Republic of Srpska, to make that communication as effective as possible, and thus to jointly contribute to a better functioning and development of our legal system.


The Republic of Srpska and its institutions exist and operate in a complex, challenging environment, in which we often witness severe violations of legal norms and basic legal postulates, both by certain institutions at the level of BiH and by, conditionally speaking, an international factor, or those who are charged with ensuring that the Dayton Peace Agreement and its annexes are strictly observed, including Annex IV, which contains the constitutional act of the current BiH.


In other words, the Republic of Srpska, its institutions, its autonomy, its legal order, but also its citizens, both in the past and today, are often the subject of various attacks and pressures created by political actors from Sarajevo, assisted by individual representatives of the international community.


However, what is worrying is that judicial institutions are being increasingly used as instruments of realisation of these political processes.


It is enough to just look at the judicial treatment of war crimes, and then you have to wonder if the judgments verify pre-created political projections, as attempts to write history on the basis of selective justice.


If we look at the fact that foreign judges have been unjustifiably held in the Constitutional Court of BiH for a long time, we have to wonder whether this was evidence of a severe deviation of a system or of a large deficit of a state, by many, with outvoting instruments, with the intention of creating more and protecting less, etc.


If, with all that, we take into account that the BiH Constitution and practical reality are in serious disarray, because the BiH Constitution states one thing and in practice there is something completely different, you cannot help but wonder if this was normal. Or, is it normal for an unelected foreigner to be able, without the will of democratically elected domestic representatives, to impose decisions that change or make laws, as the high representatives have done, while forbidding any court, even the constitutional one, from questioning the legal basis of the imposed decisions.


The imposition of amendments to the entity constitutions previously made by the High Representative is an example of incredible interventionism and violence from someone who derives his or her role from the power obtained from the entity as a signatory to the Annex 10 of the Dayton Agreement.


In the coming period, all authorities, each within its own jurisdiction, should consider, it could be said, the unconstitutional situation in BiH, as a consequence of the intervention of the High Representative, supported by decisions of the Constitutional Court of BiH, passed by over voting and a narrow majority.


The protection of constitutionality and legality is an obligation of the Republic of Srpska and its Constitutional Court, which also implies the protection of the constitutional order in BiH established by the Dayton Agreement. It cannot be just a matter of the Constitutional Court of BiH, which is in a kind of captivity of the majority made by Bosniak judges and foreign judges in key decisions.


It would be good if this and numerous other examples and deviations of this kind were more discussed by the legal profession and less by politics.


All this, as well as the various attacks on the Republic of Srpska and its legal order, further reinforce us in our commitment to continuously strengthen our institutions, including the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Srpska, because only in this manner can we adequately respond to the challenges.


As the President, I advocate for the Republic of Srpska where everyone will be equal before the law, in which everyone’s rights, both individual and collective, will be maximally protected.


The Republic of Srpska is, and must be, the home of all the peoples who live in it, and everyone must feel comfortable and safe in it.


We, who carry out public functions and take part in political processes, must take this into account when making decisions or creating specific policies.


In the legal and judicial context, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Srpska, or its Council for the Protection of Vital Interest, appears as the ultimate instance of protection of the rights of the constituent peoples.


Their responsibility is very evident in this context, since, on the one hand, it is necessary to ensure the protection of the rights of all constituent peoples, but at the same time, to recognise certain attempts of abuse of the institute of protection of vital interest, as we have repeatedly witnessed in the past.


The role of all relevant institutions of the Republic of Srpska is to provide, within their powers and capacities, the utmost support to the functioning of the Constitutional Court, from adequate infrastructure and other conditions for its operation to full respect for its judicial authority and the acts deriving from that authority.


As the President of the Republic, as an actor in political processes, but also as a citizen of the Republic of Srpska, I support the work of the Constitutional Court as, conditionally speaking, the controller that all social actors act solely in accordance with defined norms, since there is no developed democratic society without the rule of law and the legal state.


The basis of the Republic of Srpska’s legal identity is its constitutional act of February 28, 1992, as well as the Dayton Peace Agreement with its annexes, including Annex IV, which contains the Constitution of the present BiH.


However, under the influence of different processes and sometimes pressures, the Constitution of the Republic of Srpska has undergone certain changes over time. Those who attack the Republic of Srpska are in every possible way trying to attack the Constitution as a key element of our legal identity, its date of birth and the fact that the Republic of Srpska brought its statehood into the present BiH.


Emphasizing the provision of the Constitution of the Republic of Srpska transferred from the Constitution of BiH that “all state functions and competences belong to the Republic of Srpska except those specifically delegated to its institutions by the Constitution of BiH”, the Constitution Court of the Republic of Srpska through its Commission for monitoring and studying the phenomena of interest to the exercise of constitutionality and legality, could also deal with the exercise of jurisdiction of the Republic of Srpska and BiH in accordance with the constitutional Dayton structure, as signed, and not subsequently “construed”.


From the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Srpska and the top legal authorities acting within it, we expect the greater social engagement precisely in the preservation and protection of the constitutional and legal identity of the Republic of Srpska, as confirmed by the Dayton Agreement and its annexes.


Lastly, I extend my congratulations to the President, the judges, all the employees of this institution, as well as the entire Republic of Srpska, on the 25th anniversary since the founding of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Srpska.


The Constitutional Court has been growing and developing together with its Republic, and so it should be in the future, because one cannot occur without one another. Only a strong, authoritative and effective Constitutional Court means a strong Republic of Srpska, as a community based on law.


Thank you!