OHR’s Statement at the International Agencies’ Joint Press Conference in Banja Luka

High Representative Lifts Bans
on Holding Public Office Against Four Individuals

The High Representative Christian
Schwarz-Schilling today lifted bans on holding public office against four
individuals who had been removed by earlier High Representatives for obstructing
peace implementation.

The individuals are Ivan
 Emin Skopljak Ahmed Smajic and Mirko Stojcinovic.

The lifting the bans against removed
individuals does not return them to the positions from which they were removed.
The removal of an OHR ban does not automatically mean that a particular
individual can participate in full in public life. Rather, it means that it is
no longer the OHR’s responsibility to decide whether a person can participate or

Political parties have to
decide whether to put these individuals forward for party office, elections,
government positions and appointed office. And institutions have to decide, in
accordance with the law, whether to appoint them.

Removals have played an
important role in helping BiH emerge from the aftermath of war. It is widely
accepted – by the Venice Commission among others – that the removal of
obstructionist officials has helped take the peace process forward.

However, as BiH meets its


obligations and moves
towards Euro-Atlantic integration, there are compelling reasons why these bans
should be lifted. The issue of removed officials must be addressed now and
resolved before the OHR closes.

The lifting of removal decisions in no
way calls into question any possible judicial processes that may be ongoing
against the individuals concerned.

ICTY-related removals are not included in
this process. They form a distinct category because full ICTY cooperation
remains is a fundamental