Police reform in Bosnia blocked by Republika Srpska (RS)

Wed 1 Jun 2005

Deputies in the Republika Srpska parliament voted 62-14 on 30 May to reject a police reform package to create a depoliticized, nationwide police force with administrative units that cross inter-entity borders, as demanded by the EU. The legislators ignored an appeal from Republika Srpska President Dragan Cavic, who reminded them that failure to approve the changes will block Bosnia-Herzegovina’s progress toward Euro-Atlantic integration. Prime
Minister Pero Bukejlovic, however, told the deputies that the constitutions of Bosnia and its Serbian entity specify that Republika Srpska’s Interior Ministry is responsible for the police in that entity. He stressed that the government considers unconstitutional any changes to this arrangement. Elsewhere, High Representative Paddy Ashdown is scheduled to make a statement on the parliament’s decision on 31 May. Police reform is one of the most important issues standing in Bosnia’s path to further Euro-Atlantic integration. Current police structures are subordinated to the respective entity governments and closely tied to local political structures.