SARAJEVO — The Bosnian Serb parliament has adopted a set of steps that would strengthen a secessionist bid to withdraw from state-level institutions despite warnings from the West.
Lawmakers on December 10 voted 49-3 on starting a procedure for Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Serb-dominated entity to withdraw from the Bosnian Army, security services, tax system, and judiciary.
They also voted on a declaration that calls for the drafting of a new constitution for the entity, Republika Srpska, and states that “all laws imposed” by the international high representative for Bosnia are “unconstitutional.”
Deputies of the opposition left the session before the vote.
Bosnia has been in a protracted political crisis over secessionist moves by Republika Srpska, reviving fears that the peace deal which ended a 1992-95 war could unravel and threaten regional stability.
The U.S.-brokered Dayton peace accords created two highly autonomous entities that share some joint institutions: the Republika Srpska and the Bosniak-Croat Federation. The country is governed and administered along ethnic lines established by the agreement, with a weak and often dysfunctional central government.
Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, the Serbian representative in the tripartite presidency, has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from state-level institutions, describing Bosnia as “an experiment by the international community” and an “impossible, imposed country.”
Bosnia “is moving in a direction we did not agree to when signing the Dayton accords. The verdicts of the Constitutional Court…and the Court of [Bosnia-Herzegovina] make us angry. We have a feeling that [Bosnia] is going in the wrong direction. One by one, the competencies of the Republika Srpska are changing,” Dodik said ahead of the vote.
But the leader of the opposition Serbian Democratic Party, Mirko Sarovic, accused Dodik of leading the entity down a “disastrous” path that could end in war.
For years, Dodik has advocated for the separation of the Republika Srpska and having it become part of neighboring Serbia.
His push gained momentum over the summer when the Western-appointed high representative imposed a series of laws prohibiting the denial of genocide, war crimes, and the glorification of those convicted of such crimes before international or local courts.
The Bosnian War started in 1992 when Bosnian Serbs, with the help of the Serb-led Yugoslav army, tried to create ethnically pure territories with the aim of joining neighboring Serbia. More than 100,000 people were killed and millions were left homeless.
Dodik has reiterated his claim that the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in which some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered by Bosnian Serb forces “did not take place.”
The massacre has been declared a genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The Office of the High Representative’s (OHR) duties include overseeing and coordinating the implementation of the Dayton agreement, but its sweeping powers has made it the target of criticism.
The OHR was not allowed to attend the parliamentary proceedings, despite requesting it be granted access.
“All parties have an obligation to fully respect the General Framework Agreement for Peace. The Office of the High Representative requires the Republika Srpska National Assembly to respect the OHR’s mandate,” the OHR said.
Following the imposition of the genocide law, Republika Srpska politicians began blocking the work of state-level institutions, including the tripartite presidency, Council of Ministers, and Parliamentary Assembly.
The Serb entity’s moves toward secession have spurred a flurry of diplomacy, with Western envoys trying to find a political solution and persuading Dodik to reverse course.
The Kremlin and Serbia tacitly support Dodik’s actions, and the Bosnian Serb leader met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week.
The United States has already imposed a travel ban and assets freeze on Dodik and both U.S. and EU officials have recently threatened more sanctions in case the Bosnian Serbs try to secede.
“As a signing witness of the Dayton peace accords, the United States reiterates that moves to unilaterally withdraw from state-level institutions or otherwise destabilize the [accords] will be met with appropriate action, including the consideration of sanctions,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a letter to members of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency last month.
The United States has previously said there was “no constitutional way” for the Republika Srpska to unilaterally withdraw from national institutions. Dodik says the institutions he wants to leave were not enshrined in the Dayton constitution but were created through amendments.
Tue Oct 26, 2021 – 7:09 am EDT
GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, Newfoundland and Labrador (LifeSiteNews) – You might have a hard time getting into Mass in parts of Newfoundland or Labrador if you haven’t gotten COVID jabs.
The Bishop of Grand Falls-Windsor in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador (N.L.) has barred unvaccinated parishioners from attending Mass. In a letter released 10 days ago, Bishop R. Anthony Daniels wrote that “effective October 22,” it would be “mandatory”for everyone aged 12 or over to be vaccinated with COVID jabs if they want to attend Mass.
Many Catholics do not want to take the current COVID inoculations because they were developed or tested using cell-lines derived from aborted babies. Others have refused them because of the thousands of deaths and millions of injuries reported to official watchdogs such as the USA’s Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System (VAERS) following their use.
In his letter, the bishop gave detailed instructions for downloading an app that facilitates vaccine-segregation in the province and stressed the importance of “compliance with the Mandate.” The bishop was referred to the N.L. vaccine passport system unveiled on October 22. The Mandate is not dissimilar to segregation systems throughout the country, and it does not require churches or religious to comply with its directives.
The provincial health authorities did speak with religious leaders in the province and encouraged voluntary vaccination, but they were clear that religious groups are not required to demand proof of inoculation against COVID-19.
Thus, the Bishop of Grand Falls-Windsor has freely decided to forgo the option not to demand a vaccine passport as the price of entry to Catholic communal devotional life.
Under normal circumstances, attendance at Sunday Mass is an obligation for Catholics under the pain of sin. Participating at Mass is considered central to the spiritual life of the faithful Catholic. Even Catholics who have incurred excommunication and thus cannot receive the sacraments are bound to take part in Sunday worship. If there are circumstances that preclude a Catholic from attending Mass, such as illness or necessary travel, then the obligation is lifted from him or her. The letter from the bishop did not say whether Catholics who do not take the jab are dispensed from attending Sunday Mass.
Responsibility for policing churches in the diocese rests with laypeople. Bishop Daniels instructed “Ushers or Greeters or other volunteers” to download the vaccine passport app and “use their smartphone camera to scan the Electronic QR Code on the attendees’ smartphone or on the printed page to confirm proof of vaccination.”
Additionally, “after verifying proof of vaccination,” the enforcers of medical segregation “must also review identification.”
Despite barring unjabbed Catholics from his churches, Bishop Daniels has opted to continue imposing restrictions on the rest of the congregants. “[A[ll the current restrictions presently in place will continue even for churches using the NLVaxPass and NLVaxVerify applications,” he wrote.
The restrictions are as following:
- congregations are limited to 50 percent of churches’ capacity;
- everyone must wear a non-medical mask at all times (including the officiant and musicians);
- congregational singing is not permitted;
- the names and contact information of all attendees must be recorded and retained for 14 days for contact tracing, and must be shared with public health officials if requested;
- physical distancing must be maintained between individuals from different family groups; and
- entry must be restricted to those who do not have COVID-19 symptoms and who are not required to self-isolate for any reason.
The bishop finished the letter by saying: “Our patience and the patience of our parishioners will be tested. But we cannot let the pandemic win. Our people need access to the Sacramental life of the Church especially now.”
LifeSiteNews has reached out to the Diocese of Grand Falls-Windsor to ask how banning unvaccinated parishioners from the Sacrament of the Eucharist will somehow help with “access to the Sacramental life of the Church.” The diocese has not yet replied.
To respectfully advise the bishop in this matter, please contact
Most Rev. R. Anthony Daniels
PO Box 771
Grand Falls-Windsor, NL, Canada
LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccines resources page. View it here.
The Salvation Army Canada — a church, and one of the largest social service organizations in the country — has implemented a policy that requires all of their officers, employees, contractors and volunteers to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Those who do not comply will be laid off without pay on November 15, and be unable to serve their communities through their positions with the organization.
Possibly more concerning is that despite the organization being a Christian church, we have received reports from staff that the organization has been rejecting vaccine exemptions based on religious and/or consent-related reasons.
If churches such as The Salvation Army won’t stand for freedom of religion in Canada, then who will?