How did BiH gamble the chance for Srpska to get access to the sea?

In a conversation with Gabriel Escobar, Sefik Dzaferovic said that BiH should have access to the open sea, alluding that the Croatian Peljesac Bridge closed their exit. Bosniak academic Suad Kurtcehajic claims that BiH could have had access to the open sea in Sutorina, Montenegro, when it gave up in order not to like RS, but he says that could change.

The construction of the Peljesac Bridge in Croatia, which should be put into use next year, prevents cruisers or larger ships from docking on the territory of BiH, and that is, according to Sarajevo academician Professor Dr. Suad Kurtcehajic and President of the Bosnian Academy of Sciences and Arts “Kulin Ban” , a problem pointed out by Džaferović.

Croats will not demolish the bridge

– So far, three hundred and a few million euros have been invested in the construction of that bridge, plus the EU also helped the Croats to build that bridge, and there is no word about the demolition if we allowed its construction. Now, I don’t know if it can be somehow ‘cut out’ and made a movable, raising bridge, which would enable larger ships and cruisers to enter – says Professor Kurtćehajić.

However, what he warns about is the mistake BiH made when it relinquished ownership of Sutorina, a border town where Montenegro would have open access to the sea, in favor of Montenegro.

– You see, BiH had two exits to the sea, Neum and Sutorina. According to AVNOJ, BiH had both places. More precisely, in 1945, the Presidency of AVNOJ determined the borders of the then Yugoslavia, that is, the federal units that were not yet republics at that time, which later became. The following wording was for BiH: BiH will enter the borders determined at the Berlin Congress, ie with Sutorina and Neum – he reminds.

Sutorina given without quorum

It is for these reasons that I personally tried to point out to Sarajevo not to sign the Border Agreement with Montenegro. However, they seem to have agreed in advance. I think, he adds, that Sarajevo gave Sutorina to Montenegro only because they were afraid that it would not belong to the Republika Srpska.

– I think that only one factor was not to make such an agreement with Montenegro, which is disastrous, because the value of that can be measured in billions of euros. We could have made the access to the sea better than Montenegro itself has – he says.

The agreement on the ratification of the border between Montenegro and BiH, according to which Sutorina was given to Montenegro, was signed in 2015, he notes. But at the same time, he claims that the contract is not completely legal.

– We have determined through the minutes on determining the border that the agreement was signed without a quorum. So, our Bosnian commission had nine members – three Serbs, three Croats and three Bosniaks. The quorum consists of six members. However, in the final part, the determination of the border agreement with Montenegro was determined with three members. For me, that is a good sign, because if it happens sometimes and there is good will, that contract can be challenged due to procedural reasons and we can annul it – Professor Kurtćehajić thinks.

That is, he adds, to make a new contract that would be legally valid, because BiH gave it unnecessarily.

International Court of Justice address

If it had gone to court, he is convinced, Montenegro could have cited as an argument only that someone had given it to them in a telephone conversation.

Professor of the Banja Luka Faculty of Law, Milan Blagojević, on the other hand, notes that this is an international state agreement between Montenegro and BiH, which defines their mutual border.

– It is indisputable that the contract is in legal force. It may be annulled in whole or in part only in appropriate proceedings before the International Court of Justice. Therefore, the fact that BiH may have had some procedural errors, in the sense that there was no quorum for holding a session of a body, is a matter that should first be clarified internally in BiH by its competent bodies. Well, if it is eventually determined that there really was no quorum, that still does not make that international agreement legally invalid, but only gives BiH the opportunity if it decides to file a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice for annulment of that interstate border agreement – explains Professor Blagojevic.

As for Croatia and the bridge that blocked BiH’s access to the open sea, Blagojevic notes that there is a legal remedy there as well.

BiH can sue Croats

– As for the access to the open sea in the part that refers to the bridge on Peljesac, it is part of the waters of the Republic of Croatia. Now, the fact that this is the aquaterritorial area of ​​Croatia, does not mean that the state that may have an interest in access to the high seas can not claim their rights. In that case, BiH can ask again by addressing the International Court of Justice, suing Croatia for possible violation of the right of access to the high seas, or the International Court of the Law of the Sea – he explains.

Sutorina is located near Herceg Novi at the exit to the open sea in Montenegro. It was a part of BiH until 1948, and by an unofficial agreement between the party comrades Đuro Pucar Stari (BiH) and Blaža Jovanović (Montenegro), Sutorina was then “exchanged” for the area of ​​Lovište na Sutjeski.

Due to the proverbial lack of interest of the BiH authorities, the problem of Sutorina was mentioned only from time to time and it is increasingly certain that the territory, when BiH and Montenegro agree on the final demarcation, will definitely go to Montenegro, which BiH lost more than five kilometers of open exit. to the sea.

Sutorina’s problem is neither a new nor an unknown issue. Namely, back in 2006, Zeljko Komsic and Haris Silajdzic, as members of the then convocation of the Presidency of BiH, announced the initiation of the international arbitration process, but that did not happen.

Source: Vesti online by

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