Washington accuses sanctioned officials of pursuing “ethnonationalist and political agendas” at the expense of citizens.
The United States imposed sanctions on the president of the Bosnian Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and an official of the Bosnian Serb entity, accusing them of threatening the country’s democratic institutions.
In a statement on Monday, the US Treasury Department said he was blacklisted Marinko Cavara, member of a Bosnian-Croatian nationalist party, and Alen Seranic, Minister of Health and Social Welfare of the Republic of Serbia.
“Marinko Cavara and Alen Seranic each sought to pursue ethnonationalist and political agendas at the expense of the democratic institutions and citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E Nelson.
“Today’s action demonstrates the United States’ unwavering commitment to the stability and prosperity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
The new sanctions block assets held by Cavara and Seranic under US jurisdiction and prohibit US citizens from dealing with them.
The United States imposed similar sanctions on Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik in January, accusing him of threatening the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Washington is stepping up pressure on nationalist politicians it accuses of threatening the 1995 Dayton Accords, the US-brokered deal that ended more than three years of war in Bosnia. The conflict has claimed around 100,000 lives and displaced two million others.
The 1995 agreement also established Bosnia and Herzegovina as a two-entity state: a Bosnian-Croat-dominated federation and a Serb-led Republika Srpska.
Cavara has been president of the Bosnian-Croatian Federation since 2015.
On Monday, the Treasury said Cavara was disciplined for refusing to perform his duties appointing judges to the Constitutional Court, which the department says plays a “crucial role” in the country’s constitutional order.
Meanwhile, the department accused Seranic of supporting the secessionist activities of Dodik, the Bosnian Serb leader sanctioned by Washington earlier this year.
Seranic did so by promoting a law that would create an agency of the Republic of Serbia to review new drugs, creating a parallel with a national agency with the same role, the Treasury said. The law is not yet in force.
Dodik has been heavily criticized by the United States for moving to strip Serb-dominated Republika Srpska from several national institutions, including the military, judiciary and tax system, triggering the country’s most difficult political crisis since. the 1990s.