US slaps sanctions on Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik

The United States Treasury Department imposed sanctions Wednesday on Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, accusing him of destabilizing Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The U.S. said Dodik — the current Serb representative in the country’s threeway presidency, who has threatened to create a breakaway Serb army — had undermined Bosnian institutions and threatened the country’s territorial integrity through a combination of corruption and “divisive ethno-nationalistic rhetoric.”

In addition to his subversive actions, “Dodik has used his official BiH position to accumulate personal wealth through graft, bribery, and other forms of corruption,” the U.S. Treasury said. “Cumulatively, these actions threaten the stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of BiH and undermine the Dayton Peace Accords, thereby risking wider regional instability.”

Sanctions were also leveled at Alternativna Televizija d.o.o. Banja Luka (ATV), a media outlet linked to Dodik. The U.S. said Dodik “exerts personal control over ATV behind the scenes, such as by requiring personal approval on media stories related to politically sensitive topics.”

Regional experts fear that the 1995 peace deal holding Bosnia together is under threat.

“Milorad Dodik’s destabilizing corrupt activities and attempts to dismantle the Dayton Peace Accords, motivated by his own self-interest, threaten the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the entire region,” said Brian E. Nelson, undersecretary of the U.S. Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence. 

In December, the EU, U.S., U.K., Germany, France and Italy condemned a move by lawmakers in the Bosnian Serbs’ autonomous republic to start a process of withdrawal from key national institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, warning it threatened stability in the whole Balkan region.



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