Bosnian Serb MPs Decide Sarajevo is Safe Again

Lawmakers from Republika Srpska will return to work in Sarajevo after refusing to attend recent parliament sessions, claiming their security was threatened by mass protests.

The Bosnian parliament is due to hold a session for the first time in almost a month on Monday after Serb MPs said they had received guarantees that they would be safe in the capital now the recent protests are over.

Dusanka Majkic, an MP from Republika Srpska and the head of the state parliament’s security commission, said on Thursday that Serb officials only wanted their safety guaranteed from the protesters who, she alleged, had created a “hostage crisis”.

Majkic was referring to the blockade of the parliament building’s exits on the second day of the protests on June 6, when thousands gathered to make a human chain around the legislature and vowed not to let any official leave until they had passed a law allowing the issue of personal ID numbers to newborn babies.

The lack of legislation on personal ID numbers sparked the protests, when a baby was unable to leave the country for a life-saving operation in Germany due to lack of personal documents which are based on the ID number given at birth.

Around 1,500 lawmakers, staff and foreign guests were stuck in the building until 4am the next day after the protesters were promised by Bosnia’s High Representative, the top international official in the country, that he would intervene to help resolve the issue.

The June 6 parliament session that was interrupted by the protests is to be continued on Monday, the legislature’s heads decided on Thursday.

They concluded however that two proposals on the personal ID number legislation should be removed from the agenda since agreement was unlikely, and asked the state-level government to send them another proposal for the law.

The focus of Monday’s parliament session is likely to be while the law on personal numbers is expected to be discussed at a session planned for July 18.

Milorad Zivkovic, another MP from Republika Srpska, said that people have the right to protest but that no one should limit others’ rights.

“No one has the right to violate human rights, the freedom of movement of anyone, of parliamentarians, ministers or anyone else in the parliament,” he said, referring to the June 6 events.

“But even a bigger problem is when institutions which were tasked with assuring those human rights were not able to do that,” he added.

Mehmed Bradaric of the Social Democratic Party said however that no one was endangered in Sarajevo and police were protecting parliamentarians.

“No one has the right to say he was not safe in the city, that he was interrupted in his work,” Bradaric said.

However Serb MPS Majkic and her colleague Slavko Jovicic, both from the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, told a Banja Luka television station that they are considering suing the organisers of the protests and the owners of some news websites, without specifying exactly who exactly they hoped to sue or for what.