New High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina

A Herculean task for Christian Schmidt (Press Release)

CSU-Politician Christian Schmidt will take on his new position as High Representative of the International Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina on August 1. The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) is sure that the 64-year-old former federal minister will be met with monumental challenges: "A few days ago, Schmidt's predecessor, Valentin Inzko, had decided on a new law to combat genocide denial. The first significant task for the new High Representative will be to put the public prosecutors and the courts in the position to enforce this new law," stated Jasna Causevic, STP expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. "He will have to deal with massive resistance. We wish him strength, perseverance, and every success for his work." The European Union, the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), and the International Community will have to be prepared to help him achieve his goals at any time.

Schmidt will be met with notable headwind from the Republika Srpska. In the Serbian part of Bosnia, genocide denial is still commonplace – as is the glorification of convicted war criminals. Thanks to the new law, this will be illegal from now on.  "Serbia and Russia will do whatever they can to obstruct the High Representative's work," Causevic assumed. "In March, Russia was the only state – of the fifty-five member states of the PIC – to vote against Schmidt. Serbia would like to see Bosnia in Russia's sphere of influence as well, while most of the Bosnian people are hoping for a rapprochement with the EU and – in the longer term – an accession." On July 23, Russia and China had tried to push through with a resolution aiming to get rid of the office of the High Representative completely, as a means to torpedo Schmidt and his new position. Luckily, however, apart from these two states, there were no other supporters.

The Society for Threatened Peoples will do its best to support Christian Schmidt in his important work. "We have been present in Sarajevo und Srebrenica for more than 20 years, and we are in close contact with the local victims' associations," Causevic said. "Together with the people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we are hoping for peace and stability in the country. We are hopeful that the office of the High Representative can help to promote human rights and minority rights, to further democracy and a rule of law, and to ensure that human dignity will be respected."