Accused of war crimes, destabilizers of the state or suspected of corruption and ties to organized crime. These are the reasons why around 1.000 persons, companies and organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) are on the so-called United States (U.S.) “black list”.
The member of the State Presidency, Milorad Dodik, is among them. He assures that the sanctions “don’t hurt him”, but precisely because of the sanctions, the distance of Western diplomats towards him is getting stronger.
All those from state, entity, and judicial institutions are in such a position, whose credibility was shaken by being placed on the “black list”. Their access to property in the U.S. or travel to that country is impossible, while they face restrictions in BiH itself.
Among the persons on the U.S. “black list” most of them areaccused and convicted war criminals, their close relatives, friends and associates. Other reasons are corruption, terrorism, organized crime and obstruction of the Dayton Peace Agreement.
Most of these organizations no longer exist, for some people,sanctions have been lifted, and some have passed away, but they are still on the list.
Also, Ljubo Cesic Rojs is among those sanctioned. He told Radio Free Europe (RSE) that the American sanctions “ruined his life”.
In June 2021, U.S. President Joseph Biden expanded the scope of the Executive Order (Balkans Executive Order 14033), which additionally defines sanctions for individuals and organizations from the countries of the Western Balkans that threaten the peace and stability of the region.
BiH Presidency member Milorad Dodik, who is also the leader of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, the ruling party in the Republika Srpska (RS) entity, has been on Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC’s) blacklist since 2017 due to “obstruction of the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement”.
“I never had anything in America, I didn’t have an account in America, I didn’t have any jobs in America, I have no intention of going to America, even if the sanctions were lifted, I wouldn’t go,” Dodik said after the new sanctions were announced.
And Milan Tegeltija, the former president of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of BiH, today the legal advisor of BiH Presidency member Milorad Dodik, claims that the sanctions imposed on him by the U.S. “do not have too much influence” on his life.
In April 2022, the American OFAC imposed sanctions on Asim Sarajlic, a delegate in the House of Peoples of the BiH Parliament, and Gordana Tadic, the former chief state prosecutor.
Marinko Cavara, president of the entity Federation of BiH and official of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) of BiH, and Alen Seranic, minister of health of the entity RS and official of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, are the last persons from BiH to be on OFAC’s list on June 6th, 2022 .
In April 2022, OFAC removed several persons from BiH from that list.
Among them is Hasan Cengic, a former high-ranking official of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) who died in November 2021.
Each year, OFAC delists hundreds of individuals and entities, each based on OFAC’s thorough review, RSE writes.