The latest sanctions list of the US Treasury Department (OFAC) includes some political representatives of the BiH entity Republika Srpska (RS), along with individuals and entities from the Maldives and Afghanistan.
The Serbian representative in the BiH Presidency, Zeljka Cvijanovic, the Prime Minister of the RS, Radovan Viskovic, their party colleague Milos Bukejlovic, who is the Minister of Justice of the BiH entity, as well as the Speaker of the Assembly of the RS, Nenad Stevandic, have been sanctioned.
They will join the leader of the Union of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) and the current President of the RS, Milorad Dodik, who was placed on the sanctions list by the US Treasury Department in January 2022 for corruption.
The latest US sanctions against the four RS leaders were imposed as a result of the Law on the Constitutional Court of BiH, which was adopted by the National Assembly of the RS, according to the website of the US Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“These leaders are directly responsible for the adoption of the Law on the National Assembly of Republika Srpska, which declares the decisions of the Constitutional Court of BiH inapplicable in the RS, thus hindering and jeopardising the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement,” the statement said.
They add that this action threatens the stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the hard-won peace under the Dayton Peace Agreement.
“This behaviour further jeopardises the country’s future trajectory and successful integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions,” said Brian E. Nelson, Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
The sponsor of the tabling of the law on the non-application of the decisions of the Constitutional Court of BiH in the National Assembly of Republic of Srpska and the main sponsor of its adoption was the President of the Republic of Srpska, Milorad Dodik.
After the National Assembly of Republic of Srpska adopted the law in June 2023, the High Representative to BiH, Kristijan Šmit, writes further, used his power to repeal the law on 1 July and publicly denounced the law as “undermining the regional constitutional order, the rule of law and the separation of powers”.
Despite the action of the High Representative to repeal the law, Dodik signed it into law, which entered into force on 7 July 2023.
INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED IN EFFORTS TO DISSOLVE THE STATE OF BIH
Višković, Stevandić and Cvijanović requested an extraordinary session on 27 June, and Miloš Bukejlović, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, presented the Law to the National Assembly of Republic of Srpska. Accordingly, these four individuals are responsible for the efforts to pass this legislation, which threatens the implementation of Dayton.
Cvijanović and Dodik were placed on the sanctions list by the UK on 11 April 2022 for “undermining the legitimacy and functionality of BiH”.
CONSEQUENCES OF SANCTIONS
As a result of the latest measure, all assets and holdings of the above-mentioned persons in the United States will be frozen and must be declared to OFAC.
In addition, financial institutions and other persons conducting certain transactions or activities with sanctioned persons may be subject to sanctions or coercive measures.
THE PUNISHED STEVANDIC WAS A MAN OF TRUST OF JOVICA STANIŠIĆ
Stevandić, wrote the Belgrade-based Danas last year, was a member of the military staff of the “Autonomous Region Krajina of the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina” during the war in the 1990s, along with convicted war criminal Radoslav Brđanin, General Momir Talić and Stojan Župljanin.
Stevandic was the head of the Serbian Defence Forces (SDF) unit and, as they point out, a confidant of Jovica Stanišić, the former head of the State Security Service (SDB), who is serving a 12-year prison sentence to which the Hague Court convicted him, together with Franko Simatović Frenki, for crimes against non-Serbs in Bosanski Samac in the spring of 1992.
The name of the President of the United Srpska is also mentioned in the trial of Radovan Karadzic, where he was identified as the leader of the “Red Berets” and the SOS units, as well as in the trial of Momčilo Krajišnik, where the witness Evan Brown referred to him as the leader of the paramilitary forces, the portal istraga.ba reported.
In addition, they add, Stevandić was also mentioned in the trial of the late Momčilo Krajišnik (the first member of the Presidency of BiH from Republika Srpska, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague in 2009 for crimes against the non-Serb population in Bosnia and Herzegovina).
Stevandic, it is alleged, also participated in the “liberation” of Kotor-Varoš from Bosniaks.
The United Srpska Party, led by Stevandic, was active in the election campaign of Aleksandar Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party.
Several texts have been written about Stevandić, referring to his ‘war path and crimes’, to the red van driven by Stevandić, and also to who was the target of his alleged ‘ravaging’ of Banjluka during the war’.
The Hague documentation, according to which the late Predrag Radulovic, known as “Pile”, a wartime member of the State Security Department of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Srpska (at the same time, Serbia), testified, states, among other things, that during the war, everyone knew about the “Red Van” group that was operating in Banja Luka./The Geopost/