Washington DC, 16 March 2023 (TDI): The United States (US) government recently showed its support for democracy and accountability in the Western Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
It imposed sanctions on three individuals who have been identified as posing a threat to the rule of law and regional stability.
The United States is committed to holding accountable those who undermine or threaten Bosnia and Herzegovina’s stability, sovereignty, and constitutional order established as part of the hard-won peace and Dayton Peace Agreement. https://t.co/5qXEbNIjTZ
— Ned Price (@StateDeptSpox) March 15, 2023
To mention, Ethno-nationalist political parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) have been undermining democratic institutions and violating the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) to further their political and personal agendas.
The Republika Srpska (RS) entity leadership has also been taking secessionist actions to seize authority from the state and give it to entity governments and institutions.
Political parties in the Federation entity have also weaponized key justice and security sector institutions to misuse resources in support of political goals and to protect criminal organizations with whom they are associated.
Sanctions on individuals
In light of these developments, the US Treasury Department has designated three individuals who have been identified as posing a significant threat to the rule of law and democratic governance.
The individuals designated are:
- Osman Mehmedagic, the former Director General for BiH’s Intelligence Security Agency
- Dragan Stankovic, the Director of the RS Administration for Geodetic and Property Affairs
- Edin Gacanin, one of the world’s most notorious narcotics traffickers.
Osman Mehmedagic misused a government-owned telecommunications company for the benefit of his party, the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), and has collaborated with criminal networks for personal and party enrichment.
Dragan Stankovic, on the other hand, was responsible for attempting to usurp the authority of the state of BiH over state property located in the RS contrary to BiH Constitutional Court decisions, the BiH Constitution, and a state property disposal ban imposed by the Office of the High Representative.
Edin Gacanin, a BiH national and one of the world’s most notorious narcotics traffickers, has been involved in narcotics trafficking efforts across multiple countries, and his cartel is also involved in money laundering and connected to the Kinahan Organized Crime Group.
We are designating three individuals in Bosnia and Herzegovina who have threatened the rule of law, undermined institutions, obstructed or threatened the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement, and materially contributed to the international proliferation of illicit drugs.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) March 15, 2023
As a guarantor of the DPA, the US is committed to combating endemic corruption, threats to BiH state authority, and the proliferation of illicit drugs and organized crime.
The US remains steadfast in its support for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the country’s democratic institutions.
The imposition of sanctions on these three individuals serves as a clear message that the US will not tolerate any actions that undermine democracy and the rule of law in the Western Balkans.
The US government encourages all parties to work together to promote peace, stability, and democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Western Balkans region as a whole.