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07SARAJEVO808 2007-04-13 16:09:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Sarajevo
Cable title:  

RSNA VOTES TO SCRAP POLICE REFORM DIRECTORATE

Tags:   PGOV PREL PINR KJUS KCRM BK 
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1. (SBU) Summary: This week the Republika Srpska (RS)
government and RS National Assembly both took separate
decisions rejecting the Police Reform Directorate (PRD) final
report and calling for new police reform talks. At its April
11 session the RSNA approved a conclusion calling for a
referendum by the RS electorate to approve of any future
police reform agreement. The RSNA conclusion is not legally
binding on the RS government but its SNSD sponsorship and the
high profile debate will make it exceedingly difficult for
Dodik to walk back a referendum should the political parties
ever reach an agreement on police reform. OHR will call a
meeting of Police Reform Steering Board Ambassadors next week
to discuss the RS government actions, which could
significantly delay the signing of a Stabilization and
Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union. End
Summary

RS rejects PRD Report and calls for a Referendum


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2. (U) On April 10, RS Prime Minister Milorad Dodik convened
a meeting of the RS Cabinet to discuss police reform. The
meeting resulted in the adoption by the RS government of
conclusions rejecting the PRD final report, on the grounds
that it nullifies the existence of RS police. The RS
government called for the establishment of a new Directorate
for Police Restructuring, which, on the basis of consensus,
should propose several models of police structures. The
adopted conclusions also state that any solution must be
based on the constitution, which implies the preservation of
an RS MUP and RS police.



3. (U) The following day, the RSNA held a day-long session on
police reform. RSNA Speaker Igor Radojicic invited national
leaders of Croat and Bosniak parties to participate. The
session began with speeches by six party leaders: DNS Marko
Pavic, HDZ-BiH Dragan Covic, PDP Mladen Ivanic, SDA Sulejman
Tihic, SDS Mladen Bosic and SNSD Milorad Dodik. SBiH Haris
Silajdzic and SDP Zlatko Lagumdzija refused to participate in
the meeting. HDZ-1990 President Bozo Ljubic told the
Ambassador April 12 that he had not been invited to attend
the RSNA session. Tihic restated the SDA position against
retaining police at the entity or canton level. Dodik and
other Serb leaders returned to procedural complaints about
the Police Reform Directorate. Dodik insisted that the three
EU principles do not require the abolishment of the RS Police
and asserted that police reform was an attempt to change the
constitutional order of Bosnia.



4. (C) The RSNA adopted a set of conclusions listing
procedural objections to the PRD and calling for the
retention of the RS Police in any future national police
structure. The conclusions also mandated that any future
agreement on police reform be approved by people of the RS in
a referendum In addition to endorsing the April 10 RS
government conclusios, the RSNA also proposed amending the
October 205 police reform agreement (Ref A) and called on
he RS government to generate new negotiating propoals for
the Federation. The RSNA conclusions wee approved with 67
votes in favor, 5 against with 2 abstaining. The RSNA
conclusions are not binding on the RS government and PM Dodik
would not be legally obliged to call a referendum in the
event of any future police reform agreement. Nonetheless,
the conclusions enjoyed overwhelming support and
co-sponsorship by Dodik's SNSD which would make it difficult
for the Prime Minister to ignore the RSNA directive. RS
political leaders expressed divergent views on implications
of conclusions with some downplaying the possibility of a
referendum and others, such as an assemblyman from Milorad
Dodik's SNSD who is close to RSNA leadership, asserting that
a referendum is a "strong possibility."

Initial OHR Response


--------------------------





5. (SBU) OHR is currently reviewing the RSNA conclusions but
shared with us its initial reaction that the measures seem to

SARAJEVO 00000808 002 OF 002


backtrack on the previous RSNA acceptance of the October 2005
Agreement. OHR also worries that, if implemented, the RSNA
demand to restart police reform talks anew would delay the
signing of an SAA by several years. Nonetheless, OHR
reiterated its determination to uphold the PRD report as a
the best option for a police reform agreement, and is still
hopeful that an SAA could be signed before the end of this
year. OHR will convene a meeting of Police Reform Steering
Board Ambassadors next week to discuss the issue.

Comment


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6. (C) The RS government and RSNA actions complicate the task
of reviving the police reform process. In combination with
Haris Silajdzic's stated determination to block any police
reform agreement that leaves in place the "genocidal" RS
police, the RSNA conclusions represent a disappointing step
backwards. They also constitute an unfortunate abdication of
leadership by Dodik and other RS politicians who, in calling
for a referendum, have risked tying their own hands by
relinquishing ownership of police reform. End Comment
MCELHANEY