As the United States continues to support reform, we are also promoting accountability for the actions of those undermining democratic institutions and furthering their agenda for political and personal gain at the expense of peace and stability in the Western Balkans.
Ethnonationalist political parties continue to undermine democratic institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), engage in corrupt behavior, and violate the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) to undermine the state of BiH for narrow personal and political gain. The Republika Srpska (RS) entity leadership is engaged in secessionist actions to seize authorities from the state and give them to entity governments and institutions. Federation entity-based political parties have 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.
Today, we are imposing sanctions on three individuals who pose a threat to the rule of law, regional stability, and the aspirations of those seeking functional democratic governance.
The Treasury Department is designating Osman Mehmedagic, the former Director General for BiH’s Intelligence Security Agency, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14033. Mehmedagic misused a government-owned telecommunications company for the benefit of his party, the Party of Democratic Action (SDA). There is also credible information that Mehmedagic has collaborated with criminal networks for personal and party enrichment. This activity reflects a larger pattern of behavior by Mehmedagic and SDA to use positions of authority for personal and party gain.
Further, Treasury is designating Dragan Stankovic, the Director of the RS Administration for Geodetic and Property Affairs, pursuant to E.O. 14033. Stankovic was responsible for a blatant attempt 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. Stankovic’s efforts to pass this unconstitutional legislation reflect specious claims made by RS President Milorad Dodik and other RS leaders in this regard.
Finally, Treasury is designating Edin Gacanin, a BiH national and one of the world’s most notorious narcotics traffickers, pursuant to E.O. 14059. In addition to narcotics trafficking efforts across multiple countries, Gacanin’s cartel is involved in money laundering and is connected to the Kinahan Organized Crime Group, which was previously designated by Treasury for its role as a significant transnational criminal organization.
As a guarantor of the DPA, the United States is committed to combating endemic corruption, threats to BiH state authority, and the proliferation of illicit drugs and organized crime, which collectively threaten BiH’s Euro-Atlantic trajectory. We remain steadfast in our support for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the country’s democratic institutions.
For more information about these designations, please see the Department of the Treasury’s press release.
originally published at Politics - JISIP NEWS