The Office of the United Nations High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina (OHR BiH) issued an order on Tuesday suspending the application of the law on immovable property used for the operation of public authorities.

The UN created the OHR BiH at the end of the Bosnian war through the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina of 1995. The treaty allows the High Representative to take all “binding decisions which he deems necessary to maintain the peace. Current High Representative Christian Schmidt released a statement explaining his decision.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is made up of two autonomous regions: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska. Bosnian Serb leaders of Republika Srpska have drawn international criticism for supporting separatist and nationalist movements.

On February 10, the Republika Srpska legislature adopted the Law on Real Estate Used for the Operation of Public Authorities. According to Schmidt, the law ignores previous decisions of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Schmidt believes that the application of the law would make it “impossible to reach an acceptable and lasting solution to the question of state ownership” because it establishes new property rights and “questions the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina in as the holder of state property, as well as the exclusive competence of the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina to regulate the issue of state property.

The ordinance took effect immediately and the law is suspended until the Constitutional Court issues a final decision.

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