August 1, 2023

US designates four BiH officials for attempting to undermine the Dayton Peace Agreement

On July 31, 2023, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated four government officials of Bosnia and Herzegovia (“BiH”), three of which specifically serve in Republika Srpska (“RS”), one of the two entities that comprises the BiH.  According to OFAC, the leaders were sanctioned for encouraging the passage of a law that sought to make decisions of the BiH Constitutional Court (“BIH CC”) inapplicable in the RS.  The four were designated pursuant to Executive Order 14033 for engaging in or being complicit in an action that obstructs and threatens the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement (“DPA”).

OFAC reports that RS President Milorad Dodik, who was previously designated by the US in 2017 and 2022, sponsored the introduction of the Law on the Non-Application of the Decisions of the BIH CC and has been a primary proponent of its adoption in RS.  While the RS National Assembly (“RSNA”) reportedly adopted the law in June 2023, the High Representative of the BiH nullified the legislation on July 1 and condemned the law as one that undermined regional constitutional order, the rule of law, and the division of powers.  Despite the nullification, Dodik signed the law into effect on July 7, 2023.  The four designees – the Speaker and President of the RSNA, the RS Prime Minister, a Serb member of the BiH Presidency, and the RS Minister of Justice – were instrumental in the promotion and/or passage of the law.  OFAC emphasized that the institutions and government positions represented by the designees were not the target of these sanctions.

As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of these designees within the United States or within the possession or control of a US person are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated persons.  In addition, entities owned 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.  US persons may also face civil or criminal penalties for violating EO 14033.

Department of Treasury Press Release | Department of State Press Release