The Constitutional Court of Bosnia declared this holiday illegal because it discriminates against the Muslim Bosnian and Catholic Croat communities.
The Bosnian Serbs held public celebrations to commemorate the National Day of their self-governing Serb Republic, ignoring the Supreme Court’s prohibition of commemorations and the sanctions imposed by the United States on its leader Milorad Dodik this week.
January 9th is the day to commemorate the Bosnian Serbs’ announcement in 1992 to establish their country in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It triggered a devastating war that lasted nearly four years and killed approximately 100,000 people.
This date also coincides with the Serbian Orthodox holiday, and it is this religious component that led the Constitutional Court of Bosnia to declare the holiday illegal because it discriminates against the Muslim Bosnian and Catholic Croat communities in the region.
More than 800 armed police, including members of the anti-terrorist forces, military police and cavalry, took part in the Sunday parade. They walked through the streets of Banja Luka, the largest city in the region, along with students, veterans and athletes.
Onlookers and marching crowds waved Serbian red, blue and white flags. A member of a special police force sang a song calling the Republic of Serbia a Christian heritage country.
Al Jazeera’s Liljana Smiljanic reported in Banja Luka, Bosnia, that although this date is “sacred” to Serbs, it has a completely different meaning to Bosnians.
“them [Bosnian Serbs] Say it [January 9 holiday] Guarantee their freedom and the best conditions for living in Bosnia and Herzegovina. On the other hand, for the Bosnians… this was the beginning of the war horrors they endured in the 90s, and later the war crimes and genocide in Srebrenica,” she added.
Senior officials from neighboring Serbia attended the parade and other ceremonies, including Prime Minister Anna Brnabic and Speaker of the Parliament Ivica Dacic. Russian and Chinese diplomats in Bosnia and several officials of the French far-right National Unity Party also attended the meeting.
There is no sign of the Serb regiment of the Bosnian Joint Armed Forces, which has been deployed to the military parade in previous years. Instead, the focus is on militarized police forces. When helicopters hover in the sky, they lead the military parade with specially designed tanks.
Dodik is currently serving as a Serb member in the trilateral inter-ethnic presidency of Bosnia. In a speech to the crowd watching the parade, Dodik said, “Without a country, the Serb people will not have freedom.”
Pro-Russian nationalists Repeated threats Withdraw Serb representatives from Bosnia’s armed forces, taxation system and judicial institutions, and establish a separate Serb institution.
Last Wednesday, he received new US sanctions for corruption and threats to the stability and territorial integrity of Bosnia.
In 1995, the Dayton Peace Agreement mediated by the United States ended the three-and-a-half-year national war in Bosnia, dividing the Balkan country into two autonomous regions-the Republic of Serbia and a federation dominated by Bosnians and Croats.
“What he has done and announced that he will do is not in compliance with the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Dayton Peace Agreement,” Al Jazeera’s Smijanic said.
“This is the foundation of everything in this country,” she added.
Dodic Separatist speech Serb nationalists have been encouraged in recent months. They have provoked incidents across the Republic of Republika Srpska in recent days, shooting in the air near mosques during prayers, publicly praising convicted war criminals and threatening their Muslim neighbors.
He described the Bosnians as “second-rate people” and “treacherous converts” who sold their “original works”. [Orthodox Christian] The Faith of Dinner”.