by Senad PECANIN
The answers (mediaeval Serb coat of arms, "God of justice", Serb, Serb, Serb) to these questions give the true picture of the reach of the accepted solutions, which, supposedly, were to destroy the nationalist-discriminatory character of the Republic of Srpska. Seemingly complex solutions from the agreement, which was signed after the announcement (despite tasteless mutual exchange of compliments between Petritsch and Lagumdzija) by only three out of nine leaders of parties participating in the marathon negotiations, are the best illustration of the true reach of the "mini Dayton" held in the OHR building in Sarajevo.
It would be dishonest to say that the proposed solutions from the agreement, provided they are implemented, do not modify to a certain extent the current organization of the state institutions in the Republic of Srpska. However, satisfaction with this solution leads to a very narrow interpretation of the vision of Bosnia-Hercegovina according to which it can de facto survive only if no nation, in any part of its territory, has more exclusive rights than other nations. That was the essence of the decisions of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia-Hercegovina, which were betrayed by the agreement in the most callous manner, and precisely by the participants who swore that they supported principles of the construction of a multi-ethnic state community.
This above all applies to the High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch. Of course, not only because of his true power, but, obviously, because of his lack of diplomatic skill; he is not an international figure that would have been able to unilaterally impose any, even this agreement. However, there are numerous indications that he, either deliberately or due to his incompetence, directed the negotiations precisely towards the current solutions.
He did that through several catastrophic errors. First, he postponed the implementation of the decisions of the Constitutional Court for too long. Secondly, he accepted the proposal that these decisions become a topic for negotiation. Third, the moment he declared that symmetric solutions for the protection of vital national interests were not necessary, he created the necessary preconditions for Serb leaders to reject the only sensible symmetrical solutions. Fourth, his explanation of obviously double standards towards the Federation Bosnia-Hercegovina (BH) and the Republic of Srpska, i.e. Bosniaks and Croats on the one hand, and Serbs on the other hand ("Serbs need to be pulled into Bosnia-Hercegovina"), strengthened and reaffirmed the nationalist doctrine of Serb leaders according to which Serbs are only equal in Bosnia-Hercegovina if they have more rights than Bosniaks and Croats. Sixth [sic], fake arguments about impossibility of implementation of symmetrical solutions in protection of national interests due to different organization of entities (although these differences could have and had to find their expression in the Election law if the goal was true equality in both entities), he fully sided with Serb leaders, advocates of status quo and existing ethnic discrimination in the Republic of Srpska. Seventh, he created a precedent unrecalled in modern legal practice, by dividing the legislative authority in the Republic of Srpska between the Parliament and the National Council, a "sui generis" body that is not a part of the parliament. Eighth, by introducing two deputy presidents in the Republic of Srpska, of different ethnicity, he introduced two decorative posts; unlike in the Federation BH, in Srpska the president and two deputy presidents need not make all decisions by consensus and there is no rotation on the post of the president. Ninth, by mentioning only eight areas of vital national interest, he drastically reduced the sense of the very institution of "vital national interest". Tenth, by accepting that a two-third majority in the National Council be needed for decisions he nullified and in practice denied protection of vital national interests from the areas that do not include the eight listed areas. Eleventh, the complete mechanism for protection of vital national interests has created an absurd situation, so that the existing expressions of discrimination, such as the anthem and the coat of arms of Srpska, simply cannot be abolished without an agreement by the Serb majority...
Any deeper analysis of the Agreement would dig up numerous other elements confirming that all claims of the High Representative about his intention to abolish discrimination and strengthen European standards are nothing but empty words. However, the role of SDP leader Zlatko Lagumdzija is no less interesting, Without Lagumdzija's key, servile assistance Petritsch would not have been able to conduct the complete process of adjustment of the entity constitutions to the decisions of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia-Hercegovina in the way he did and finally end it with the agreement.
A more detailed analysis of Lagumdzija's views indicates huge damage inflicted to the project of the construction of a multi-ethnic Bosnia-Hercegovina by his policies. Namely, such an analysis reveals that the leader of the party that is supposed to be the key advocate of and force in this process constantly faces unsolvable problems in increasingly frequent situations when European standards of democracy, protection of human rights and the rule of law match the interests of his largest constituency - Bosniaks. The situation is that much more absurd because Lagumdzija, in all most delicate situations during his rule so far (criminal change of the ownership structure of Mostar "Aluminum" company, "Algiers group", negotiations about the implementation of the decisions of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia-Hercegovina...) his behavior closely matches that of international representatives in Bosnia-Hercegovina, that he has so brilliantly dissected and condemned; European standards and rule of law do not apply to all disputes, but the solution is sought somewhere in the middle between nationalist-criminal oligarchies and those who call on European standards and the rule of law.
Lagumdzija's attempt to justify going along with the attitude that cements the current situation in Bosnia-Hercegovina is becoming increasingly disgusting. Namely, increasingly his excuse has become the Dayton Constitution of Bosnia-Hercegovina, accepted by the then nationalist leadership. If he keeps insisting on this excuse, it will soon become as worn out as the attempts of the SDA leadership to blame their Communist predecessors for their own failures.