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Bosnian Court Blocks Serb Republic's National Holiday


Milorad Dodik, president of the Bosnian entity Republika Srpska (file photo)

Milorad Dodik, president of the Bosnian entity Republika Srpska (file photo)

The highest court in Bosnia-Herzegovina has upheld a lower court's ban on a holiday in the country's Republika Srpska that it calls "discriminatory."

Bosnia's Constitutional Court ruled on September 17 that January 9, the date on which Statehood Day is held, discriminates against the region's Muslim Bosniaks and Catholic Croats since it coincides with a Serbian Orthodox Christian holiday and is the date when Bosnian Serbs declared independence from Bosnia in 1992.

Bosnia was still a part of the former Yugoslavia when it proclaimed the establishment of the so-called "Republic of Serbian people."

The Bosnian war started three months later in a conflict that resulted in the deaths of some 100,000 people and caused hundreds of thousands of others to flee their homes before it ended in 1995.

The court also ordered a halt to a scheduled September 25 referendum in Republika Srpska seeking approval for the holiday to be held on January 9.

"They cannot halt our decision," said Milorad Dodik, president of Republika Srpska. "We will vote in the referendum."

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP
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