No Dogs, Catholics Or Muslims Allowed

Civilians of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1993 running for cover to avoid Serb snipers during the city's siege Photo: Chris Helgren/Corbis

Civilians of Sarajevo in
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1993
running for cover to
avoid Serb snipers during the city’s siege
Photo: Chris Helgren/Corbis

The referendum held on 25 September 2016 in the entity of Serbian Republic (Republika Srpska/RS) within Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) regarding confirmation that 9 January should be set as public holiday for the celebration of the Day of Republika Srpska/Serbian Republic Statehood Day may to many in the outside world seem benign but given BiH’s geographic position coupled with the 1990’s history puts it all in a different light. But, in reality and in truth this frighteningly defiant move led by Milorad Dodik, RS president – and nourished and supported via Russia’s Vladimir Putin’s promises of financial supports – has all the hallmarks of officially legitimising war crimes, especially ethnic cleansing and genocide (including Srebrenica) committed during 1990’s against Croatians and Bosniaks/Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina/BiH in that self-proclaimed Serbian territory situated within sovereign borders of BiH.


It once again brings to a chilling reminder the chilling “banner”, the “warning sign” under which Serb aggression operated there in that BiH sovereign territory in the 1990’s: No Dogs, Catholics or Muslims Allowed.

 OHIO, Nov. 21, 1995 from Centre left: President Slobodan Milosevic of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, President Alija Izetbegovic of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and President Franjo Tudjman of the Republic of Croatia sign the Dayton Peace Accords. Photo: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Brian Schlumbohm

OHIO, Nov. 21, 1995
from Centre left:
President Slobodan Milosevic
of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
President Alija Izetbegovic
of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
and President Franjo Tudjman of the Republic of Croatia
sign the Dayton Peace Accords.
Photo: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Brian Schlumbohm


In November 1995 the primarily US-driven international Dayton Accords peace agreement ended the war in BiH and it preserved BiH as a single sovereign state, divided into two largely autonomous parts/entities: the Bosniak-Croatian Federation and the Serbian Republic. Dayton Accords, although made having peace in mind, in essence meant that peace had no chance as no conductive environment was created for proper reconciliation, in many ways the Serb aggressor was rewarded with its own region to govern autonomously. Dayton Accords agreement had sealed the fate of BiH as a sovereign state made up of three constitutional peoples (Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs) into a perpetual state of ethnic rivalry, recriminations, dysfunction and fear that Serbs were only “an inch” away from achieving their initial goal of creating their own sovereign state from parts of BiH’s sovereign territory they’d cleansed of all non-Serbs.


Milorad Dodik had officially, with apparent newfound determination, begun threatening to hold a referendum on secession of Serbian Republic from BiH in 2014 if Bosnia does not become a confederation of three states (Serb, Croat and Bosniak). At that time he sought to seize on the Crimean referendum and subsequent Russian annexation as a political and moral guide and an example of self-determination in action, however wrong, tragic and misguided these actions may have been held by the leaders of the Western democratic world. Dodik had planned for the referendum regarding 9 January as the Day of Serb Republic/ Statehood Day (which date by the way coincides with the Serb Orthodox religious holiday) to be held on 15 November 2015 but this and any such referendum was thwarted via BiH Constitutional Court’s ruling, making such referendums illegal.

Milorad Dodik September 2016 Photo: Reuters/ Dado Ruvic

Milorad Dodik
September 2016
Photo: Reuters/ Dado Ruvic

Defying BiH Constitutional Court and BiH Parliament, to which Serbian Republic answers, the referendum held Sunday 25 September saw the Serbs living in that entity in overwhelming numbers voting Yes to declaring 9 January as the Day of Serbian Republic. The relatively very few Croats and Bosniaks now living in the Serb Republic (having returned there post 1995 Dayton Accords agreement) had refused to vote in the referendum because, in essence, the referendum represents Dodik’s rehearsal for an eventual secession of Serb Republic from BiH and, therefore, the destruction of BiH as the world knows it now.

A further element of defiance and repulsive attempt to legitimise genocide and ethnic cleansing committed by Serbs in this referendum can be seen through Biljana Plavsic’s comments as she voted in the RS representative office in Belgrade, Serbia. Biljana Plavsic, whose actions in 1992 as a member of collective presidencies of both Bosnia and the breakaway Serbian Republic of Bosnia constituted crimes against humanity and who actively supported the ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats in Serb-held lands, who is an ICTY convicted war criminal said last week that the referendum represents a defense of Serbian Republic – of that in which she herself had participated in the 1990’s.

Whether the leaders of Croatians and Bosniaks living in BiH consider Dodik’s defiant move with the referendum as some kind of an internationally acceptable foundation for a movement that would split BiH into three different ethnically defined sovereign states (Bosniak, Croat, Serb) is at this stage a disquieting point occupying a great deal of political analyses space throughout the world. As desirable as contemplation of such a division of BiH into three sovereign states may appear to each of the three ethnic groups at this moment may be, this articulated in the media desirability or political assessment in essence masks the real and dangerous prospect of the possibility of repeated Serb violence and aggression against Croatians and Bosniaks in BiH.


Croatian refugee families from Serb Republic still today in their thousands seek return to their rightful homes in Banja Luka. Photo: HINA

Croatian refugee families from Serb Republic
still today in their thousands seek return to their rightful homes in Banja Luka.
Photo: HINA

Dodik’s defiance with holding the referendum and his subsequent defiance of the BiH State Prosecutor by refusing to answer a summons to appear before the prosecutor regarding his breach of the Constitutional Court order that declared the referendum illegal, are acts that are very likely to motorise the Serb population’s energy for renewed attacks against non-Serbs in BiH. Dodik has found it handy to interpret everything commented against his referendum as threatening to his personal safety and so:
I will not go to the prosecutor’s office in Sarajevo but I am ready to give a statement in any other judiciary office in the Serb Republic,” Dodik told a news conference 27 September 2016. He therefore rejects the jurisdiction of the government of Bosnia Herzegovina to which Serbian Republic entity must answer. He has therefore, in his mind and in his deeds already cut Serbian Republic’s ties with BiH.
If Dodik fails to comply with a summons, and fails to justify it, the prosecution will then issue an arrest warrant,” said Bosnia’s Security Minister Dragan Mektic, a Bosnian Serb.

Map of Bosnia and Herzegovina with entities of Serb Republic/ Republika Srpska and Croat Bosniak Federation

Map of Bosnia and Herzegovina
with entities of
Serb Republic/ Republika Srpska
and Croat Bosniak Federation


All this says that Bosnia and Herzegovina is in a more dangerous state than at any other time since Dayton Accords in 1995, with looming possibility of renewed violence and crimes against humanity. It confirms that, despite atrocities committed in early 1990’s and guilt confirmed via international criminal tribunal and domestic criminal courts, Serbs have not learned to keep their fingers off sovereign territories and state borders that have been established/recognised on an international level for many decades. Collective catharsis associated with the atrocities and war crimes as some guarantee of lasting peace in BiH has made no progress despite Dayton Accords and the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). This latest behavior of Bosnian Serbs evidences the fact that reconciliation in BiH (in former Yugoslavia, really) has been a pipe dream, and a utopian dream concocted by the West and the European Commission who thought that equating the aggressor with the victim would reap positive results of reconciliation and peace. Permitting Serbian Republic to exist within BiH in the first place was the beginning of that pipe dream, which was above all cruel to the victims of war crimes and, as such, it was never going to work. Daytom Accord should have either split BiH into three distinctive sovereign states (Bosniak, Croat and Serb) or insisted on retaining BiH as a single sovereign state without entities or divisions of autonomous territory between its constituent ethnic/national groups.

But as things have panned out, the world must cringe with disgust watching the referendum signatures of the majority of the genocidal Bosnian Serb “nation” celebrating without an inkling of shame or remorse their “state” founded on war crimes, forced deportations, ethnic cleansing, concentration camps, genocide, torture…and all that permitted by way of world leaders’ benign political statements that offer only political analyses of the past and no visible intention for decisive involvement to stop such lunacy that is creating new victims of the imposed ethnic Serb superiority in that region. This is a true perversion of justice for the victims of crimes against humanity and freedom to live peacefully anywhere within one’s country’s sovereign borders.

By way of referendum for Serb Republic Statehood Day Bosnian Serbs are erecting a monument to those who committed genocide. This comes without real sanctions and practical intervention against this shame for humanity as all of the political analyses and statements by world leaders about this appear more benevolent toward this Serb cause of celebrating genocide than toward anything else. Turbulent times are on the cards once again for Bosnia and Herzegovina; for Bosniaks and Croatians. Together with political instability in Macedonia, violent protests in Kosovo, the destabilisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina will have a destructive influence on the entire Balkan region. The referendum in Republika Srpska also perfectly shows how history can be used to drum up hostility between nations. Desirous of peace and life without fear, a life that moves away from daily infliction of pain contained in politically live reminders of the 1990’s war, Bosnian Croats may do well by utilising this latest practically unchecked Bosnian Serb defiance and seek their own independence or autonomy within or without BiH. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. I hope there is much better condition now, I heard many Bosniaks return to the Srpska entity and vice versa, right?

  2. HRVOJE MRAVAK says:

    if there is no united-sovereign-democratic bosnia+croatia has no future+bosniaks and croats have to make a military+cultural+political alliance.the washington agreement signed in croatias future capital city+split still exists.there will one day be a confederation+federation between croatia and bosnia in the short to long term.vojvodina+sanđak+montenegro+slovenia can join this future state if the will of their citizens vote in favour of this, in the future referendums that will be held..

    • Oh dear, anything is possible Hrvoje when a nation permits another to cut its future and borders. Croatia showed in 199o’s that it will not permit that and I don’t see why that needs to change. Even with weak government or president the people rise up to make their future. Slovenia is not likely to join anyone, even within Yugoslavia it considered itself “elitist” with no real will to mingle…

  3. “Dayton Accord should have either split BiH into three distinctive sovereign states (Bosniak, Croat and Serb) or insisted on retaining BiH as a single sovereign state without entities or divisions of autonomous territory between its constituent ethnic/national groups.” It is foreseeable that the west has resigned themselves to the former option if Dodik is not brought before an international court and there is no sign that he will. There is talk of trade offs as Kosovo is expected to hold a similar referendum. Our government’s silence on this matter makes them complicit in an avoidable potential conflict for reasons only the president keeps close to her chest.

    • MorenoP, time ticks away but victims never forget and they have living family that are voters – what a disappointment Cro gov and president are at this time – at least they should have rang the big bells condemning this

  4. JOhn Lovak.... says:

    We should have gone all the way to the Serbian border when we had the chance.During Operation Storm we shouldn’t have paid any heed to what the world said and liberated Bosna once and for all.

    • Yup, John, current times tend to show aggression pays of and consideration does not, being considerate to what others say can often lead one to shoot oneself in the foot

  5. MarySkroce says:

    Ina, your articles are always thought provoking, relevant and informative. Thank you!

  6. Reblogged this on Eyes of the Mind.

  7. Croatians are now a minority in Bosna and Herzegovina ,the Serbs have Republika Srbska and we are second class citizens in a Muslim lead country. Let’s not kid ourselves Republika Srbska is the least of our problems at this time, maybe we should take a leaf out of their book and salvage what is salvageable .

    • Ugh, MSP, do not like taking a leaf out of Serb’s book – Croats have never attacked somebody else’s land in their entire history and should not start now but to seek rights and self-determination in situation of oppression is a noble task that can be achieved with strength of defense.

  8. 3 weeks ago we were in republica srpska, our GPS sent us that way to Mostar by mistake. It was a shock for me…. Serbian flags everywhere, derogatory graffiti against Croats etc. I couldn’t get out of there quick enough. BiH definitely felt “on edge” when we were there. I hope nothing bad happens again, but we all know what serbs are like.

  9. The RS is a grotesque state-let founded on war crimes. It never should have been allowed. In a just and moral world this would never exist. The coddling, and appeasing of the Serbs only strengthened them and allowed for increased suffering of others. The powers that permitted this are truly accomplices to murder and crime, and should be condemned. But might it seems is always right. Had the US permitted Gotovina to re-retake Banja Luka we would be in a different and indeed more peaceful and stable situation. There was no legitimate reason to stop the retaking of Banja Luka. This was the fatal flaw. The only way to resolve the situation is for the RS to cease to exist. And to finally liberate the Serbs from their Great Serbia psychosis and return to their homeland of Serbia; where they can be truly be free to be Serb without fear of any victimization.

    • One wonders why the cruel Dayton experiment was permitted to exist and given that those creating it were grownups one must deduce the cruelty was inflicted on purpose, Sunman. I agree with you on Banja Luka and General Gotovina’s efforts to liberate areas and stop more genocide. Perhaps that is exactly why Dayton ensued – to stop actions that would see Serbs finally defeated. So hard to even think of these scenarios that led to Dayton.

  10. wishing for more
    understanding & healing
    in your sweet homeland.

  11. While visiting Sarajevo as part of a group tour in 2014, I didn’t realize how close it was to Republika Srpska.
    We had gone out to see something on the edges of Sarajevo–I forget what. Because of the narrow and curvy road, our Czech bus driver drove into the republic a little bit so he could safely turn around for the return route. I don’t remember a border checkpoint of any sort on the way other than a sign saying where we were.

    • Yes Elisa, there shouldn’t be a checkpoint or border there because Republika Srpska is still within BiH borders and is not a sovereign state nut an entity as pat of Dayton Accords – so we see where to from now… cheers

  12. excellent post

  13. If something does lead to conflict within BIH there is the very real possibility that the young Muslims from western Europe as well as the thousands who have returned home after being alleged to have fought in Syria will be trying to intrude into Bosnia. This sort of scenario has happened in the 1990’s with the Mujihadeens who came in from the likes of Afghanistan (trained by the US, damn them!). But this time around because of the numbers of them living in western Europe being very large this is a very frightening scenario. So unfortunately the Croats and its army will have to be very watchful from two opposing sides, not one!
    I don’t think neighbors like Slovenia and Hungary will be very helpful as we can see with their recent history. But I think the UK, soon to be a sovereign nation and already cooperating with Croatia in military drills, will help out Croatia for sure. I think the US will help a bit too.
    What a pity that the US has to come in and screw up the end of basically every scenario! They rejected Douglas MacArthur’s request to invade part of China to stop their troops from invading North Korea so the Korean region is in a perpetual state of war. Same with stopping Gotovina’s plan to go into Banja Luka as some of you have said. Not protecting the people in southern Vietnam from being exterminated by the northern Communists when they pulled their troops out of the capital. How sad!

  14. I wish us all to have peace and Independence, Ina. Sending your family and you prayers, love and hugs! xo

  15. Prayers, peace and solace to the refugees.

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