Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

The United States accuses Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik of corruption and threatening the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The United States has imposed sanctions on Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, who goals to take the Serbian Republic out of Bosnia’s armed forces, accuse it of corruption and threaten the stability and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In a statement On Wednesday, the US Treasury Department said the sanctions against Dodik came as part of an effort by the administration of President Joe Biden to hold accountable individuals who “undermine the stability of the Western Balkans through corruption and threats to long-term peace agreements” .

The Treasury also slammed sanctions against media outlet Alternativna Televizija doo Banja Luka, accusing Dodik of acquiring it in order to advance its own agenda and exercise personal control over it.

“Milorad Dodik’s destabilizing corrupt activities and attempts to dismantle the Dayton peace accords, motivated by its own interests, threaten the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region as a whole,” said Brian E Nelson, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Finance. intelligence said. in the statement.

“The United States will not hesitate to take action against those who pursue corruption, destabilization and division at the expense of their own people, as well as against those who enable and facilitate this behavior.”

The designations are the first use of an executive order issued in June that allows the US to target those who threaten peace or stability in the Western Balkans. They will block any assets that Dodik may have under U.S. jurisdiction and criminalize transactions with him under U.S. law.

Political crisis

The 1995 US-mediated Dayton peace agreement ended three and a half years of war in Bosnia. The conflict left about 100,000 people dead and forced two million others out of their homes.

The agreement also established Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state consisting of two entities: a Bosnian-Croatian-dominated federation and a Serbian-controlled Republika Srpska.

But in recent months, Bosnia has faced this worst political crisis since the 1990s, to Bosnian Serbs blocked the work of the central government and Dodik threatened to withdraw from state institutions including the military, the judiciary and the tax system.

Dodik is the Serbian member of the Tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which rotates every eight months between a Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian member. he has threatened to secede of Republika Srpska for 15 years.

Amid the Serbian blockade of state institutions, Bosnia’s international peace envoy Christian Schmidt said in October that this “unacceptable to undo achievements of the past 26 years ”.

Any unilateral cancellation of state institutions would be a “very serious setback” for Bosnia, Schmidt said at the time.

Meanwhile, separately on Wednesday, the US State Department prohibit two former and current Bosnian officials entering the country accuse them of “involvement in significant corruption”.

The former president of the High Judicial and Prosecuting Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milan Tegeltija, and the president of the Movement for Democratic Action (PDA) and representative of the parliamentary assembly, Mirsad Kukic, have been blacklisted.

The State Department accused Tegeltija, among other things, of using his political influence for personal gain, as well as manipulating judicial appointments, while accusing Kukic of misappropriating public funds for his own benefit.

“Their actions have undermined the rule of law, undermined the public’s belief in their government’s democratic institutions and public processes, and brought peace and prosperity to [Bosnia and Herzegovina] citizens, ”the department said.

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