The trial of Bosnian Serb nationalist leader Milorad Dodik, president of the Serbian area of Bosnia and Herzegovina, began on Wednesday: Dodik is accused of not respecting the authority and decisions of the UN international envoy in charge of guaranteeing peace in the country. Dodik risks up to five years in prison and ban from political roles: he claims that the trial is political and defines the UN High Representative as an “unelected foreigner”.
The trial comes after a clash that has been going on for a couple of years now, since the German Christian Schmidt became High Representative. At the end of the war in Bosnia, in 1995, the Dayton Peace Accords established the division of Bosnia into two semi-autonomous regions, one with a Serb majority, the other called the Bosnian-Croat Federation. The UN international envoy was entrusted with the task of guaranteeing peace, also with the power to cancel laws and remove officials considered an obstacle to its maintenance.
Dodik instead introduced a series of laws that limit the powers of the national authority, has never recognized the figure of the High Representative and has repeatedly threatened the secession of the Serbian area. He is considered an ally of Russia, while his secessionist plans do not have the support of neighboring Serbia.