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Bosnia: Serb Court Debates Dissolution of Parliament, Elections

Pale, Bosnia-Herzegovina; 12 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - The Bosnian Serb constitutional court began three days of debate in Pale today to determine whether President Biljana Plavsic's dissolution of the parliament last month was legal.

Members of the Bosnian Serb government, parliament and international organizations are taking part in the public hearings.

International High Representative to Bosnia Carlos Westendorp today urged the court to support Plavsic's dissolution of parliament. His spokesman, Simon Haselock, says the European Commission for Democracy through Law, which helped write the Bosnian Serb constitution, gave Westendorp a legal opinion that Plavsic's decision was legal.

Westendorp said last month no democratic elements exist in the Bosnian Serb entity which can guarantee an independent ruling. He said "the judges are controlled by Pale."

The Serb representative in Bosnia's joint presidency and an ally of indicted war criminal suspect, former Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic, is leading the challenge to Plavsic's attempt to fire the Interior Minister and dissolve parliament.

The ruling Bosnian Serb party has ousted Plavsic from its ranks. But Plavsic has said she will form a new party and she has called general elections for 12 October.