Analysis of the News “Christian Schmidt executed a coup d’état in BiH“

August 2023.

As part of the program Regional Initiative to Combat Disinformation “Western Balkans Anti-Disinformation Hub: Exposing Malign Influences through Watchdog Journalism”, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.

Christian Schmidt executed a coup d’état in BiH

The last political crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina, caused by the decision of the Assembly of Republika Srpska to vote on amendments to laws that contradict the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, revived old narratives about the illegitimacy of High Representative Christian Schmidt. During that time, the pro-Russian domestic media portrayed Milorad Dodik as the only shield for Serbs in BiH, so the attack on Dodik by international officials was interpreted as an attack on Serbs in Bosnia and the entire Republika Srpska.

The reason for the article entitled ” Christian Schmidt carried out a coup d’état in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, which was published on August 14 on the Serbian version of the Russian state media Sputnik, was the indictment of the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina against Milorad Dodik and acting Director of the Official Gazette of the Republic of Srpska, Miloš Lukić. The indictment followed after the National Assembly of the RS adopted two disputed laws on June 27, according to which the decisions of the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina will no longer be published in the Official Gazette of this entity, and thus will not be respected, as well as that in the RS they will no longer apply the decisions of the Constitutional Court in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

For Sputnik Srbija, the filing of the indictment against Dodik and Lukić is a sign that the supremacy of one over the other branches of government is happening in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is why “we have to react because it is an undemocratic phenomenon”. “Because democracy means a strict division into executive, judicial and legislative power, and currently all three branches of government in Bosnia and Herzegovina are in the hands of Christian Schmidt, the self-proclaimed high representative”.

The interlocutor of the Sputnik portal, lawyer Goran Petronijević, former lawyer of war criminal Radovan Karadzic and frequent analyst in Serbian pro-government media, emphasizes again the false claim that the high representative Christian Schmidt did not go through the formalization of the election and cannot “draw right from wrong”.

“So, he cannot derive his authority from the fact that he and several other Western countries consider him a high representative and that the United Nations Security Council did not verify him in the way it was determined,” says Petronijević.

The alleged illegitimate Christian Schmidt was the reason for the announcement of the Archibald Reiss Institute, unknown to the general public, behind which it is not possible to determine who exactly stands since the announcements on their website are anonymous. After reviewing the legal interpretation of Christian Schmidt’s position presented by Milan Blagojević, professor of constitutional law from Banja Luka, the Archibald Reiss Institute calls for the arrival of the Russian “Wagner” units to “take all necessary security measures”.

“The Archibald Reiss Institute believes that the safest solution for Republika Srpska is to invite units of the Russian military formation Wagner to its territory and authorize them to take all necessary security measures and actions for the defence of the state and the security of public figures targeted for persecution. What many African countries are doing at this very moment, in order to defend themselves and drive out the neo-colonial oppressors, Republika Srpska must also do without hesitation,” reports the Institute and the Stanje stvari portal.

The narrative about the illegitimate and illegal appointment of Schmidt to the position of High Representative has been circulating almost constantly in the Serbian and regional media since August 2021, when he began to perform this function.

Although, indeed, Schmidt’s appointment was not confirmed by the UN Security Council, this does not make Schmidt illegitimate or “illegally elected” because this is not a condition for the appointment of a high representative of the international community. Several times, the Security Council gave its statement on selecting a high representative, but it also happened that such a statement was absent. The reason for this lies in the fact that there is no defined procedure regarding the role of the Security Council in the selection of the High Representative, and for example, the Security Council did not express itself in the case of the first appointed High Representative, Carl Bildt.

What makes a high representative of the international community legitimate and legally elected is the decision of the Governing Board of the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), which functions as the executive body of the PIC. The management board of the PIC appointed Christian Schmidt as the new high representative in BiH on May 27, 2021, after the previous Valentin Inzko resigned.

Аuthor: Sofija Popović