Bosnian Serbs Form Council to Protect Constitution

The new 'Council for the Protection of Constitutional Order' – tasked with monitoring and safeguarding the jurisdiction of Republika Srpska and its institutions – is widely seen as a step towards the creation of a separate intelligence service for the Bosnian Serb entity.
Sinisa Karan, head of the Republika Srpska Referendum Commission. Photo: BIRN.

Bosnia’s mainly Serbian entity, Republika Srpska, has set up a new council to monitor threats to the entity’s constitution and jurisdiction.

The head of the five-member council, who will directly respond to the President of the Republika Srpska, has been named as Sinisa Karan, a former adviser to Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik and secretary general to the cabinet of the RS president.

Karan, a former financial intelligence chief for Bosnia’s State Investigation and Protection Agency, SIPA, was president of the Republika Srpska’s Referendum Commission.

In September 2016, it supervised a controversial referendum in the RS over a disputed holiday, the Day of Republika Srpska, celebrated on January 9, which the state Constitutional Court had declared unconstitutional.

The referendum on the holiday was also declared unconstitutional, which did not stop it from going ahead.

Karan told the media on Tuesday that the new council was an “advisory body to the RS President whose goal and a task is to protect the constitutional order, deal with threats … and all possible activities that endanger … the constitutional order. In line with this, it will propose certain measures … to the RS President to eliminate these threats”.

Karan said the new body was necessary because the Republika Srpska does not receive security information from the state level, as it should do.

“The Intelligence Agency Act … obliges the intelligence service to regularly report to the RS President on all security threats, threats to constitutional order  … but the security agencies have never provided such information to the RS President,” Karan maintained.

The new council is widely seen as a way for the entity to realize Dodik’s idea that the RS should have its own security service.

In an interview for a Banja Luka-based daily, Glas Srpske, in mid-November, Sredoje Novic, a member of the new council, said the RS should form its security and intelligence service because the Intelligence-Security Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, OSA, does not do its job.

Novic also said the RS should first set up a council to protect the constitutional order of the RS.

Of the five council members, three have worked in police or intelligence structures. Novic is a former RS interior minister and a former head of the SIPA.

Predrag Ceranic is a former member of OSA and current dean of the RS Faculty of security sciences.

The other two members are Srdjan Rajcevic, director of the RS Agency for Information Society and Draga Mastilovic, dean of the Faculty of Philosophy.

Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of Bosnian’s tripartite presidency, emphasised that the Republika Srpska entity has the right to protect its constitutional order and this will be done through the newly formed Council for the Protection of the Constitutional Order of RS.

“A number of measures will be implemented against anyone who is destroying the constitutional order,” Dodik told media in Banja Luka on Wednesday.

He also claimed that RS will be able to identify those who oppose its constitutional order.

Note: This article was amended on November 21 to include the statements of Milorad Dodik.

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