LONDON — Britain has sanctioned the top Bosnian-Serb political figures Monday. They were accused of encouraging hatred and jeopardizing peace agreements that have ended civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina over 25 decades ago.
Milorad Dodik, Zeljka Civijanovic and others will face asset freezes as well as travel bans. This is the first time the U.K. has placed sanctions on Bosnia. According to Liz Truss, foreign secretary Liz Truss stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin had invaded Ukraine and given the opportunity for the two men to undermine the Western Balkans’ international rules-based system.
“These two politicians are deliberately undermining the hard won peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Truss said in a statement. “Encouraged by Putin, their reckless behavior threatens stability and security across the Western Balkans.”
U.K. authorities say the pair have have used their positions to push for the de facto secession of Republika Srpska — one of two semi-autonomous regions that comprise the federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina — in direct contravention of the country’s constitution.
The U.S. Treasury Department imposed additional sanctions Monday on seven people from the Western Balkans.
Dodik is a long-standing advocate for separating Bosnian Serbs from their federation, and unifying them with Serbia. Bosnian Serb Dodik is the Bosnian Serb representative to the tripartite presidency of Bosnia, which includes members of the Bosnian Muslim or Croat communities.
Secession would violate the Dayton Accords, the 1995 U.S.-sponsored agreement that ended Bosnia’s civil war, which killed more than 100,000 people and left millions homeless. Two separate entities were established in Bosnia by the agreement — one controlled by Bosnia’s Serbs, and the other by Croats and Bosniaks.
The two entities are connected by common institutions. All actions at the national level must be agreed upon by all three ethnicities .
U.S. Dodik was previously sanctioned by the U.S. authorities, who accused him of corrupt activities that could destabilize the region. Dodik is accused of using his position as a leader to gain wealth via bribery and corruption.
Cvijanovic is the president of Republika Srpska (the Serb entity). He proposed legislation that would transfer power from the nation to her mini-state. They also said that she has glorified war criminals, and denied genocide in the civil war.
Christian Schmidt, the top international diplomat in Bosnia said that the imposition of sanctions against Dodik and Cvijanovic was “reasonable”. He also thanked the British government’s commitment to Bosnian stability and security.
“Cvijanovic and Dodik missed all opportunities to engage in constructive dialogue in order to benefit the citizens of this country. Schmidt is the U.N. Office of High Representative for Bosnia. “They will have to bear the consequences of their words and deeds, and the U.K. sanctions are the continuation of the consequences that started in January with the U.S. sanctions.”
The practical impact of Monday’s actions is unclear. Dodik and Cvijanovic claimed they have no assets in the U.K All they (British), say is lies. They’re old manipulators, and they are enemies of the Serbs. Dodik said that he had spoken to them many times. Dodik said, “They’re helpless in their fight with Putin and accuse us of acting on Putin’s orders.”
“Hoxhaj stated that there has been a shift in policy to penalize individuals who undermine democracy and peace in fragile countries due to the war in Ukraine.
In conjunction with its January action against Dodik the U.S. added seven additional individuals to the Western Balkans list of those who were sanctioned for their corrupt and destabilizing actions.
” “The individuals today represent a serious threat for regional stability, institution trust and the aspirations to democratic and judicious government in the Western Balkans,” Brian E. Nelson, Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, stated in a statement.
The list contains figures from Albania and North Macedonia as well as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The most notable people subject to the U.S. new sanctions are Svetozar Marovic (ex-president, former joint state, Serbia and Montenegro), Gordana Tadic (one-time chief procurator in Bosnia-Herzegovina), and Nikola Gruevski, the North Macedonian Prime Minister. The sanctions will freeze any assets they have in the U.S. and prohibit them from doing business with U.S. businesses. According to the Department of Treasury, the ultimate purpose of the sanctions was not to punish but to promote positive behavior change.