The controversy over the installation of the monument to King Tvrtko, primarily regarding the location, brought to mind the now-forgotten episode with the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
The aforementioned commission is a Dayton category, that is, it came from Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace. It is a five-member commission that should deal with the protection of national monuments. Two members are nominated by the Federation of BiH (FBiH) entity, one member is nominated by the Republika Srpska (RS) entity, and two foreign members are nominated by the Director of the United Nations (UN) Department for Education and Culture.
Temporary, but still permanent
The five-member commission with equal voting rights functioned almost flawlessly until 2016. Then, for reasons never fully explained, three members of the BiH Presidency Bakir Izetbegovic, Dragan Covic, and Mladen Ivanic unanimously adopted the decision to expel the two foreign members. At that moment, it was supposed to be a temporary decision.
It is not known whether such a move was part of some political trade, but political practice indicates that this may be one of the reasons. The expulsion of foreigners from any state institution is an ever-present request from the RS. No matter how much the explanation goes in the direction that BiH must run its institutions alone and without foreigners, the current situation in the Commission to Preserve National Monuments shows why it was not a wise move.
After all, it also shows what will happen to the Constitutional Court if foreign judges are expelled.
Namely, since 2016, the Commission consists of only three domestic members who, with the amended rulebook, make decisions by consensus. Until then, decisions were made by majority vote. And we saw what this means in practice recently. So, if an initiative to erect a monument or any other initiative concerning national monuments is submitted, there is no decision without all three votes.
In the meantime, the three-member commission unanimously made a decision on the declaration of the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL), which in Sarajevo mostly refers to the territories of Stari Grad and Centar municipalities. And with such powers, any member of the commission can block anything. In other words, the members have gained unlimited power.
Why Izetbegovic agreed to such a decision in 2016 has never been disclosed, but it is obvious that the decision was part of some wider barter. Even the appointment of new members of the Commission two years ago did not bring back the expelled foreign members. They were simply forgotten.
So, if there is no consensus, then there is no decision. And if there is a consensus, then, according to the unwritten rule, there is also some trade based on the principle “you support me, I will support you”.
Thus, from an adequate state institution that functioned, since 2016 we have a purely political institution through which even the most basic politics is broken.
It should be pointed out that the new convocation of the Presidency accepted the previous decision, and no one mentions foreign members in the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, Klix.ba reports.