Earlier this month, disturbing news broke from Banja Luka, the de facto capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s mainly Serb entity Republika Srpska, RS.
Srdjan Susnica, a local political analyst, and outspoken critic of the long-ruling Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, SNSD, was leaving the city after he and his family had received a series of death threats.
Days later, Drasko Stanivukovic, an opposition MP in the RS assembly, likewise announced his temporary departure from Bosnia after unknown assailants had attacked his personal vehicle.
Susnica’s and Stanivukovic’s flight was preceded by that of Davor Dragicevic, the father of the slain youngster David Dragicevic, whose unexplained death prompted months of protests in Banja Luka and Sarajevo.
Dragicevic left Banja Luka so suddenly that for weeks it was feared that he, too, had been the victim of foul play. But Dragicevic was also not the first political dissident to flee Banja Luka.
In 2016, the independent journalist Slobodan Vaskovic was likewise forced to escape the city for a period; in 2017 it was the turn of columnist Dragan Bursac, a 2018 European Press Prize recipient.
These are not isolated incidents, nor is there any mystery about why these individuals have been targeted. They are all outspoken critics and opponents of the SNSD regime and of the RS strongman, Milorad Dodik.