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The Republika Srpska (Serbian: Република Српска or Republika Srpska, also Српска or Srpska; Bosnian and Croatian: Republika Srpska; English: Republic of Srpska or Serb Republic) is one of the two political entities that together constitute the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other entity being the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The capital of Republika Srpska is Banja Luka.
The word "Srpska" can be interpreted as an adjective ("Serb"), and, bearing in mind language rules for the creation of names of countries in Serbian and other Slavic languages, also as a proper noun. The Serbian name for several countries is analogous: France - Republika Francuska, which is also the official French name for France (Republique Française); Croatia - Republika Hrvatska; Bulgaria - Republika Bugarska, and so on. However, in these cases there has long existed an appropriate Latinized translation of the name to English.
"Republika Srpska" is translated by some as "Serb Republic" in English, though it is often left untranslated, including in the constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the official version of which is in English. Because of the potential for confusion between "Serb Republic" (Република Српска / Republika Srpska) and the "Republic of Serbia" (Република Србија / Republika Srbija), the name "Republika Srpska" is often used in its untranslated form in non-Slavic countries. This article follows that convention. The government of Republika Srpska uses the term "Republic of Srpska" in English translations of official documents, while some translate it as "Serb Republic". It should also be noted that RS is not a republic in the sense of a sovereign country as the term "Republika" (Republic) may imply, since the entity's name was agreed in its untranslated version at the Dayton Peace Agreement. Further, despite the adjective "Srpska" in the entity's name, Bosniaks and Croats are also constitutional peoples of Republika Srpska with a de jure status equal to that of Serbs.
The Inter-Entity Boundary Line (IEBL) that distinguishes Bosnia and Herzegovina's two entities essentially runs along the military front lines as they existed at the end of the Bosnian War, with adjustments (most importantly in the western part of the country and around Sarajevo) made at the Dayton peace conference. The total length of the IEBL is approximately 1,080 km and is not controlled by the military or police. The IEBL is an administrative demarcation; BiH citizens of whatever ethnicity are free to move across and back without hindrance.
- Main article: Municipalities of Republika Srpska
Under the Law on Territorial Organization and Local Self-Government adopted in 1994, Republika Srpska was divided into 80 municipalities. After the conclusion of the Dayton Peace Agreement, the law was amended in 1996 to reflect the changes to the country's borders and now provides for the division of Republika Srpska into 63 municipalities.
The largest towns in Republika Srpska are:
- Banja Luka
- East Sarajevo
- Mrkonjić Grad
- Main article: History of Republika Srpska
 Creation of the Republika Srpska
During the political crisis that followed the secession of Slovenia and Croatia from the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on June 25, 1991, a separate Bosnian Serb Assembly was founded on October 24, 1991, as the representative body of Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Most Bosnian Serbs opposed any suggestion that Bosnia should also leave Yugoslavia. At this point, Serbs constituted about 31.4% of the population of Bosnia, with Croats (17.3%), Bosniaks (43.7%) and Yugoslavs (5.5%) making up the rest of the population.
The leading Serb political party in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serb Democratic Party, led by Radovan Karadžić, organized the creation of "Serb autonomous provinces" (SAOs) within Bosnia and the establishment of an assembly to represent them. In November 1991, the Bosnian Serbs held a referendum which resulted in an overwhelming vote in favour of staying in a common state with Serbia and Montenegro. On January 9, 1992, the Bosnian Serb Assembly proclaimed the Republic of the Serb people of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Република српског народа Босне и Херцеговина / Republika srpskog naroda Bosne i Hercegovine). On February 28, 1992, the constitution of the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was adopted and declared that the state's territory included Serb autonomous regions, municipalities, and other Serbian ethnic entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it was declared to be a part of the federal Yugoslav state.
The referendum and creation of SARs were proclaimed unconstitutional by the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and declared illegal and invalid. However, from February 29 to March 2, 1992 the government held a referendum on Bosnian independence from Yugoslavia. That referendum was in turn declared contrary to the BiH and Federal constitution by the Yugoslav Federal Constitutional court and rebel Bosnian Serb authorities; it was largely boycotted by the Bosnian Serbs. The turnout was somewhere between 64-67% and 98% of the voters voted for independence. It was unclear what the two-thirds majority requirement actually meant and whether it was satisfied. Almost all Bosnian Serbs boycotted the vote on the grounds that it was unconstitutional because the referendum bypassed the veto power of the representatives of the Serb people in the Bosnian parliament. An independent Bosnia was proclaimed in March, by which time the country had already plunged into ethnic conflict, caused by the secession. The resistance to the secession of Bosnia-Herzegovina was assisted by the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) and paramilitary forces from Serbia.  On April 6 1992, the European Community formally recognised the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its independence on April 7 1992. On August 12 1992, the reference to Bosnia and Herzegovina was dropped from the name, and it became simply Republika Srpska.
 Republika Srpska and the Bosnian War
During the next three years, Republika Srpska was one of the three warring sides in the Bosnian War, the others being the Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) controlled government and the Bosnian Croat statelet of Herzeg-Bosna. At the start of the war, the RS was in a much stronger military position compared to the other two sides. Its army, the VRS (Army of Republika Srpska), was created from Bosnian Serb members of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and was heavily armed and equipped from JNA stockpiles in Bosnia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In addition, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia provided extensive humanitarian, logistical and financial support for the Republika Srpska and its military with the ultimate goal of annexing the territory controlled by the VRS and making it a part of Serbia. 
The VRS and the political leadership of Republika Srpska have been accused in a series of cases at the Hague Tribunal to have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide (see: the Srebrenica massacre), the ethnic cleansing of the non-Serb population , of killing, torturing and raping at concentration/detention camps , the long military siege of Sarajevo, and the destruction of Bosnian-Herzegovinian cultural and historical heritage , . Many of them have been convicted of war crimes. While not including genocide nor crimes against humanity, Bosniaks have also been convicted of war crimes for their conduct during the war, including murder, rape, wanton destruction, and inhumane treatment of prisoners. 
By 1994, the United Nations estimated that more than half a million non-Serbs had been driven out from the territory controlled by Republika Srpska and by the spring of 1996, a United Nations census indicated that Serbs constituted 96.8% of the population of the republic. However, the republic's actions produced worldwide condemnation, the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in 1993 and the eventual indictment of the Republika Srpska military and civilian leadership for war crimes.
In 1995, Republika Srpska came close to collapse in the face of military offensives by the Croat/Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) forces and a concerted two-week campaign of NATO air strikes. Bosnian territory under RS control was reduced by one third and it later acceded to the Dayton Peace Agreement, accepted on its behalf by President Milošević (RS leaders not able to attend talks having being indicted for war crimes by the ICTY). Under this accord, RS was recognized as one of two entities that would constitute a newly configured state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The total area of Republika Srpska is 49% of Bosnia's territory, with the Bosniak/Croat Federation constituting the other 51%.
The legal existence of Republika Srpska was postulated by the Agreed Basic Principles issued on September 8, 1995, and the Further Agreed Basic Principles issued on September 26 1995, and was confirmed by the Dayton Peace Agreement. According to this peace agreement, the Republika Srpska was recognized as one of the two entities that compose the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
 The post-war Republika Srpska
Since the war, Republika Srpska has undergone many changes. Several of its wartime leaders were arrested or went into hiding following war crimes indictments, although in practice Radovan Karadžić continued to exert a degree of influence for years after the war's end. Some of the non-Serbs expelled during the war have returned to their former homes in Republika Srpska; the non-Serb population has increased to about 10% of the total. However, as in many other former communist countries, both of Bosnia's entities have experienced severe economic problems during the transition to a market economy. In addition, widespread corruption has seriously hampered Bosnia's recovery from the conflict. Some have alleged that corruption is hidden behind nationalism. 
The UN-appointed High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina has greatly influenced the post-war development of Republika Srpska. Several of its wartime aspects of independence, such as a separate currency, have been abolished. A number of senior Republika Srpska officials have been removed from their posts by the High Representative after being accused of corruption and blocking the process of reform and reconstruction. It is likely that the powers of the republic will be further reduced in future, along with those of its Muslim/Croat counterpart, as a more centralized Bosnian-Herzegovinian state is further re-established by the international community. However, since the position of the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina is scheduled to be abolished in 2007 with his authority transferred to local politicians, the reform of the country would depend of the will of the politicians from both entities. Also, due to the referendum in Montenegro and increasing dissatisfaction displayed by the Serbs of Republika Srpska, many of the citizens would like a referendum through which an independent Republika Srpska would be created, although the international community deems that entities do not have a right to hold a referendum.
Republika Srpska comprises 49% of the land area of Bosnia and Herzegovina and is home to about 34% of the population. All data dealing with population, including ethnic distributions, are subject to considerable error because of the lack of official census figures and the forced removal of minority ethnic groups by RS authorities during the war. In 2005, the population of Republika Srpska was estimated to stand at about 1,411,000 people, of whom Serbs constituted 1,247,900 people or 88.4% of the overall population, followed by 150,390 Bosniaks at 10.7%, and Croats constituted 12,710 people or 0.9%. The population of non-Serbs has declined significantly since 1991, while the number of Serbs increased dramatically. This was caused by the ethnic cleansing of non-Serb population by the Bosnian Serb authorities, the influx of Bosnian Serb refugees from the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina due to the Bosnian war (1992-1995) and Croatian Serb refugees from Croatia due to the Croatian war (1991-1995). Bosnian Serb government resettlement policy also played a part, and some resettlement took place after the war following the Dayton Peace Agreement, subsequent to setting political boundaries (IEBL).
Republika Srpska uses the convertible mark currency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, and therefore also Republika Srpska as one of its two entities, has been recognized e.g. by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as a country which has achieved major improvements in implementation of reforms: the EBRD writes "Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to make progress in macroeconomic stabilisation and structural reforms, but the pace of progress has sometimes lagged behind expectations. The macroeconomic environment remains very stable, with annual growth of around 4-5 per cent, inflation in low single-digits, and strong reserve coverage underpinning the currency board. There have been significant and necessary reforms in the public sector over the past couple of years, and prospects for fiscal sustainability are improved, following the move in both Entities towards balanced budgets, although the process of building state-level institutions is presenting new fiscal challenges. However, trade and current account deficits remain large, with the latter estimated close to 20 per cent of GDP. Notwithstanding the evident progress of recent years, critical challenges remain to be tackled. On the macroeconomic front, poor data quality hampers consistent policy-making, while the size of the public sector remains too large and needs to be further reduced. Corruption is still prevalent and major fundamental reforms to public administration and the judiciary are required. Living standards are low and unemployment is widespread." Also "the internal political situation continues to be complex, especially in connection to disputes with the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the failed negotiations to enter NATO’s Partnership for Peace Programme (PfP)."
The positive dynamic of development in Republika Srpska can be illustrated by the inflow of foreign investment, which doubled from 2000 to 2003 when it amounted to nearly 5% of GDP. In 2004, Republika Srpska received more foreign investment than in all previous years. An agreement on strategic partnership was concluded between the Iron Ore Mine Ljubija Prijedor and the British company LNM, a leading world steel producer. The Russian company Južuralzoloto also signed a strategic partnership with the Lead and Zinc Mine Sase Srebrenica.
Since 2001, Republika Srpska initiated significant reforms in the sector of the tax system, which lowered the tax burden to 28.6%, one of the lowest in the region. The 10% rate of capital gains tax and income tax are the lowest in Europe and highly stimulating for foreign investment, and there are no limits on the amount of earnings. Increasing the number of taxpayers and budgeted incomes, and creating a stable fiscal system, were necessary for further reforms in the fields of taxation and duties; this area is a priority goal of the RS authorities. Introduction of the VAT, expected in 2005, is one of the most demanding projects for the government.
The average salary in August 2004 was 660KM (around 340 EUR). From 1998-2003, the average monthly salary in Republika Srpska increased from 280 to 660KM, according to the Agency for Statistics of Bosnia and Hercegovina.
 Government and politics
Under its constitution, Republika Srpska has a president, parliament (the 83-member National Assembly of Republika Srpska), executive (with a prime minister and several ministries), supreme court and lower courts, customs service (under the state-level customs service), and postal service. It also has its own coat of arms, flag (the Serbian tricolour), and national anthem. Its flagship airline, Air Srpska, ceased operations in 2003.
Although the constitution names Sarajevo as the capital of Republika Srpska, the northwestern city of Banja Luka is the headquarters of most of the institutions of government — including the parliament — and is therefore the de facto capital.
After the war, Republika Srpska retained its army, but in August 2005, under considerable foreign pressure (acting primarily through the Office of the High Representative), the parliament consented to transfer control of Army of Republika Srpska to a state-level ministry and abolish the Republic's defence ministry and army by January 1, 2006. These reforms were required by NATO as a precondition of Bosnia and Herzegovina's admission to the Partnership for Peace. As of November 2006, Bosnian and Herzegovina has not been invited to join the Partnership for Peace.
Republika Srpska has its own police force, but in October 2005, again under pressure, the parliament consented to the creation over a five-year period of a single integrated police service at the state level, with local police areas that may cross the Inter-Entity Boundary Line if required based on technical considerations. These reforms were insisted upon by the European Union as a precondition for the negotiation of a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The leading Bosnian Serb party, the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), called on other political parties in Republika Srpska to organize a referendum on police reform in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The SNSD said the referendum should give a clear picture on whether the Bosnian Serb police should be dismissed or not in the process reforms under which a single police force is to be created on the state level.
"I do expect that the answer of most of citizens of Republika Srpska would be no," Rajko Vasić, member of the SNSD leadership said. He also said the party, which won exactly half the seats in the National Assembly of Republika Srpska on October 1, 2006, would suggest the referendum on police reform as an issue to be discussed at the first next session of the entity's parliament. Earlier this year the leader of the SNSD and the current RS Prime Minister Milorad Dodik said he would be ready to sacrifice negotiations with the European Union on the eventual integration of BiH into the Union, if the RS police is to be abolished as part of the police reform on Bosnia's state-level.
As the response to the latest initiatives from Banja Luka, the Chairman of Bosnia's central government, the Council of Ministers, Adnan Terzić, blamed the international community and its passive stand towards the RS stance on police reform.
"Considering the reactions of the international community's officials to the obstructions from the Republika Srpska, they (Bosnian Serbs) can do whatever they want," Terzić told Sarajevo daily Dnevni avaz.
The police reform was aimed at joining police troops of the two ethnic entities into a single state-level police. The police reform fulfills three EU requests - establishment of a statewide police service, elimination of political interference and creation of patrol regions based on professional criteria. It is not clear why this requires the abolishment of the RS police.
"We do not want suspension of the talks on Stabilization and Association Agreement. However, we won't make concession on what we consider as a minimum requirement, that is retaining of the Republika Srpska Police as an organizational unit with clear competencies and jurisdiction within the reconstructed Police of BiH", Dodik said.
He announced that the RS side will step out of the police reforms process, if their wishes are not respected.
On the November 14, 2006, Uroš Pena, the RS chief of police, was quoted as saying that the agreement was being broken by the international community, not RS. In the agreement, it is written that the "Directorate for Police Reform shall be made up of professionals and experts from all levels of government (BiH, entities, cantons)...", which was ignored when a EU Polie Mission representative was included.
 External relations
On September 26, 2006 Republika Srpska officials signed a 'special ties agreement' with Serbia aimed at promoting economic and institutional cooperation between Serbia and the Republika Srpska (RS). The accord was signed by Serbia's President Boris Tadić and Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica,former RS President Dragan Čavić, and Prime Minister Milorad Dodik.
Tadić and Koštunica, accompanied by several ministers and some 300 businessmen, arrived in Banja Luka, the de facto capital of the Republika Srpska, on two special planes from Belgrade, in what was seen as the biggest-ever boost to strengthening ties in all spheres of life between the Bosnian Serbs and their co-nationals in Serbia. The Serbian bank, the Komercijalna banka, and the "Dunav osiguranje" insurance company opened branches in Banja Luka and the Serbian news agency Tanjug also inaugurated its international press center in Banja Luka, in a day packed with business engagements.
The document sets out steps taken by Serbia and Republika Srpska officials to increase economic and political ties. It is similar to a previous one signed in 2001 between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Bosnian Serbs, which had envisaged close cooperation in economy, defense, education and dual citizenship for the residents, said a Serbian government statement. The agreement gives Republika Srpska, the same status with Serbia as the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a whole.
"This agreement will stabilize the relations between countries in the region and it will promote economic, political and cultural relations between Serbia and Republika Srpska," Čavić told reporters after the signing ceremony. Koštunica added "We have long waited for this day," and insisting that the agreement would not be "a dead letter on paper," but would "live and be useful to the citizens of Serbia and Republika Srpska."
The signing of "a special ties agreement” was greeted with suspicion and scorn by the Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats. Sulejman Tihić, the Muslim member of Bosnia’s three-man rotating state presidency, said the agreement was bad "for internal relations in Bosnia as well as interstate relations in the region." Tihić has openly demanded the abolition of RS, saying it was "created from genocide" during Bosnia's bloody 1992-1995 war and accused Belgrade of meddling in Bosnia’s internal affairs.
"The government of Serbia has shown all its political hypocrisy towards Bosnia-Herzegovina, openly ignoring the fact that other constituent peoples don’t support this agreement," said Tihić.
Croatian President Stipe Mesić criticized the agreement, saying it could have "long-term negative consequences" not only on Bosnia, but the whole region. Bosnian entities "are not states and is unacceptable that they behave as states," Mesić said in a statement released in Zagreb, adding the agreement moves Bosnia and the whole region further away from reaching a lasting peace.
Čavić denied these claims that the accord was an attempt to create cross-border Serbian hegemony, saying it was "the best way to create good and stable relations in the region." The agreement clearly emphasises that cooperation between Belgrade and the RS is a legitimate right enshrined in the Dayton Accord, and also contains a reference to the "respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Bosnia-Herzegovina.".
Under the Dayton peace accord, which ended the Bosnian war in 1995, the country was divided into two entities - the Muslim-Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Republika Srpska. Each entity was accorded most of the powers of a state and the accord left room for special ties between the RS and Serbia, as well as between Croatia and the Bosnian Croats.
 The status of Republika Srpska
The political platform of some Bosniak political parties in the other entity (the Federation of BiH), most notably that of the SBiH party, includes the abolition of the Republika Srpska. The party's leader, Haris Silajdžić, has repeatedly stated that he wishes to see the RS dismantled. 
In response to such statements, the Prime Minister of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik brought the idea of a independence referendum for RS into public debate when Montenegro seceded from the union with Serbia in an independence referendum. In an interview published in the Serbian media, Dodik said a referendum on independence for RS was a fair solution and that 99 percent of Bosnian Serbs support secession from Bosnia-Herzegovina. Dodik stated that this referendum is "inevitable" since Bosnia and Herzegovina has no viable future.Sulejman Tihić, the Bosniak member of BiH's tripartite presidency, responded by saying that those who want to secede from Bosnia can pack up and leave, "but can’t take away an inch of Bosnian territory". Borislav Paravac, the Serb member of the state presidency, responded that Tihić's statement was an "irresponsible and scandalous act". "Bosnia isn’t his private property," said Paravac, adding that RS covers 49% of Bosnia’s territory and that Serbs are one of three constituent (autochthonous or native) peoples, with equal rights.
Prime Minister Dodik also stated that Tihić’s statement represented a drastic example of “hate and chauvinism” which would only further inflame ethnic passions in Bosnia. "In Tihić’s statement one can easily recognize an Islamic concept which sees Bosnia as its exclusive right," said Dodik. "Serbs are a constituent people in Bosnia and claim the same right to the country and to live in it," said Dodik.
The high representative of the international community in Bosnia has appealed to the leaders of all three nationalities to stop with their “inflammatory rhetoric”. However, Haris Silajdžić continued his calls for the RS to be abolished, and Dodik continued to propose that the Bosnian Serbs may seek a referendum on independence, despite a warning that he may be punished for such statements. The international community's high representative to Bosnia, German diplomat Christian Schwarz-Schilling, warned in Vienna, that "if he [Dodik] continues to talk about the referendum, I will have to remove him from office.”.
Dodik responded: "Let him be my guest and sack me. I stand by everything I said about the referendum". Dodik went further and explained that his statements were a response to repeated threats from Sarajevo that Republika Srpska should be dissolved.
More recently, the President of Republika Srpska, Milan Jelić, a member of Dodik's party, said that: "If the abolition of the RS is raised again we will continue the rhetoric of a referendum. However, that's not our aim, but to reform RS according to European standards, to make it the better part of BiH, which will drag the rest of BiH into Euro-Atlantic intergration.".
Filip Višnjić was from the terrritory of today's Republika Srpska.
There are two public universities in the Republika Srpska: the University of Banja Luka, and the University of East Sarajevo (formerly the University of Serb Sarajevo). The University of Banja Luka was founded on Novermber 7 1975, while the University of East Sarajevo traces its roots to 1946.
Republika Srpska does not have its own Internet domain name and its institutions do not prefer the Bosnia-Herzegovina TLD (.BA) or indeed any other single TLD. Third parties offer the subdomain .RS under either one of the top level domains .BA (Bosnia & Herzegovina)  or .SR (Suriname, but resembling Serbia, which actually uses .YU) .
- ^ CCPR Human Rights Committee. "Bosnia and Herzegovina Report". United Nations. 30 October 1992 
- ^ Gutman, Roy; "Rape Camps: Evidence Serb leaders in Bosnia OKd attacks"; Newsday; 19 April 1993. 
- ^ ICTY "The Plan to Create a New Serbian State" pages 
- ^ ICTY "Outbreak of Armed Conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina" page 33 
- ^ ICTY 
- ^ "Bosnia and Herzegovina: Challenges and opportunities - nationalism and corruption" 
 See also
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Republika Srpska dinar
- Political divisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Brčko District
- Regions of Republika Srpska
- History of Republika Srpska
- History of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Air Srpska
- Republic of Serbian Krajina
 Official pages
- Government page
- President page
- National Assembly page
- Constitutional Court page
- Office of the Public Prosecutor page
- Ministry of Interior page
- Ministry for Refugees and Displaced Persons page
- Ministry of Trade and Tourism page
- The Office for Tracing Detained and Missing Persons page
- Tax Administration page
- Customs Directorate page
- Civil Services Agency page
- Directorate for Privatization page
- Chamber of Commerce page
- Institute of Statistics page
- Secretariat for Relations with ICTY page
- Republika Srpska Post page
- RTRS - Entity Government Run Television Station page
- Constitution of Republika Srpska
 External links
- Republika Srpska government
- Srpska Online
- Serbo Journal - News in English about Serb people
- The University of East Sarajevo
- Banja Luka University
- Banja Luka Stock Exchange
- Collection of Postal Stamps issued by Republika Srpska
- Human Rights Watch: 1994 Ethnic cleansing in Banja Luka
- EBRD.com on the economy
Doboj at the beginning of the 20th Century.
The bridge in Višegrad.
Mosque in Kozarska Dubica.
Kastel fortress in Banja Luka.
Serb Orthodox Church in Srbac.
Castle in Bosanska Kostajnica.