Banja Luka: Bosnian Serb lawmakers have decided to call a referendum to challenge internationally-imposed laws, notably on central court and prosecution, SRNA news agency has reported.
In a late vote, 66 members of the 83-seat strong Parliament of Republika Srpska (RS) -- a Serb-run entity of Bosnia -- agreed that a referendum be called. Two MPs voted against, while seven abstained.
"Do you support laws imposed by High Representative in Bosnia, notably the laws on Bosnian state court and prosecution," will read the question asked at the referendum, whose date is yet to be determined.
The High representative of the international community in Bosnia, Valentin Inzko, denounced the initiative even before the vote, expressing a "serious concern" over it.
"Urging the RS Assembly to initiate a process against an essential part of the Dayton Peace Agreement is irresponsible," Inzko said in a statement, referring to the peace accord that ended the 1992-1995 inter-ethnic war in Bosnia.
The state court of Bosnia, the only central tribunal in the country, was created in 2002 by a decision of the High representative.
The central Parliament in Bosnia endorsed it by a law later that year and in 2003 adopted legislation establishing the central public prosecutor`s office.
But Bosnian Serb President Milorad Dodik, who launched the motion before the RS Parliament, argues that Bosnian state court prosecuted for war crimes far more Serbs than Croats or Muslims, other two ethnic groups living in the Balkans country.
Since the end of the war in Bosnia in late 1995 the country has been divided into two semi-independent entities -- the Muslim-Croat Federation and Republika Srpska -- which are linked by weak central institutions.
The country has remained deeply divided along ethnic lines.