High Representative Valentin Inzko addressed the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday and presented his regular semi-annual report on the status of the implementation of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, covering the period from April 16 through October 15, 2019.

The High Representative expressed regret that the government formation process had stretched for over a year, adding that “although the Council of Ministers from the previous mandate continues to function until the appointment of the new one, it remains hamstringed by the politically calculated and unnecessary blockade of the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina”. “This means that no new legislation can be adopted, including the state-level budget, which severely limits the country’s ability to effectively deal with emerging issues, such as the migrant crisis”, said Inzko.

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HR Inzko highlighted the continued divisive and destabilizing rhetoric that overwhelmed the political climate. “Some political leaders from the RS have continued to make statements expressing separatist tendencies or predicting the dissolution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, while some Croat representatives seek a territorial rearrangement of the country. At the same time, the biggest Bosniak party has again adopted a party platform advocating the Republic of BiH, which was not helpful”.

He also stressed that the widespread glorification of convicted war criminals made the possibility of a true and lasting reconciliation among all peoples much more difficult to attain.

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Speaking about the Constitutional Court ruling on Mostar and the European Court of Human Rights judgement in the ‘Sejdic-Finci vs. BiH’ case, which remain unimplemented 10 years on, the High Representative said that the “rule of law and the fight against corruption should be priorities for Bosnia and Herzegovina”. “Accordingly, a considerable number of citizens cannot exercise their basic rights as citizens, as they cannot vote in Mostar or be candidates for a number of state offices. This has been going on for a decade. To nobody’s surprise, public opinion polls show that three quarters of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina are extremely or mostly dissatisfied with the state of the rule of law and the work of judicial institutions. I will, therefore, make the rule of law and the functionality of judicial institutions my priorities in the coming period”, said Inzko.

According to the statement issued on the OHR’s website, Inzko’s message to politicians was simple: Overcome your differences, abandon the destabilizing rhetoric, and move the country forward on its European path.

The High Representative also called on the international community to “continue to work in unity to preserve the achievements of the past two decades and, above all, deliver on the promise of a better future for the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

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