Administration

US sanctions Bosnian leader, official for threatening peace accords

Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives an opening statement during a House Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss the President’s FY 2023 budget request for the department on Thursday, April 28, 2022.
Greg Nash
Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives an opening statement during a House Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss the President’s FY 2023 budget request for the department on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

The Biden administration on Monday issued sanctions against the president of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina for undermining democratic and peace efforts in the Western Balkans, blacklisting one of the three leaders of the country.

The U.S. said that Marinko Čavara has obstructed or threatened the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords — the nearly three-decade-old framework for pursuing stability in the region. 

The administration also sanctioned Alen Šeranić, the minister of health and social welfare for the Republika Srpska, the other governing entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina where most of the country’s Serbs now live. Šeranić was sanctioned for undermining state-level institutions that threaten the stability of the government.

The sanctions on Čavara and Šeranić follow the move by the U.S. in January blacklisting Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tri-presidency. The three-president system in the country allows an ethnic Bosniak, Serb and Croat, currently Čavara, to each hold a presidential position and serves as a collective head of state.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that Čavara and Šeranić “pursue ethno-nationalist interests at the expense of the peace, stability, and prosperity of their country.”

Blinken described Bosnia and Herzegovina as facing “its most serious crisis since 1995,” the year the Dayton Accords were signed. The signing followed three and a half years of brutal conflict in the wake of the breakup of Yugoslavia that included numerous war crimes such as ethnic cleansing, genocide and rape.  

The secretary said that policies and actions by Čavara and Šeranić are fueling efforts to separate the two entities of the country. Čavara is being sanctioned for what the Treasury Department says is undermining a top court in the country by refusing to nominate judges and “further his and his party’s political interests.”

Šeranić is being sanctioned for his support of a law that would establish a parallel health agency that would undermine the state-level government agency. Blinken said “the establishment of this new entity-level agency obstructs or threatens the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords.”

The sanctions block the individuals from having access to any property, fully or partially-owned, in the U.S. 

–Updated at 3:27 p.m.

Tags Antony Blinken Antony Blinken Biden Bosnia and Herzegovina Dayton Peace Accords Joe Biden Republika Srpska
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