Bosnian-Serb leader Milorad Dodik is being put on trial for not respecting decisions made by the international peace envoy in Bosnia.
Mr Dodik, the leader of the main Serbian region in Bosnia-Herzegovina, does not accept Christian Schmidt’s power.
He keeps saying he will separate from the group.
According to the peace agreement brokered by the US in the 1990s to end the Bosnian war, Mr. Schmidt has the power to cancel laws and remove officials who could disrupt the peace.
Over 100,000 people died in the war from 1992 to 1995. Later, Bosnia was divided into two areas. One area is mostly for Serb people called Republika Srpska, and the other area is for Bosniak and Croat people called the Federation.
The trial on Wednesday is the end of a conflict that began two years ago when Christian Schmidt became the international High Representative.
His predecessor, Valentin Inzko, only used his strong powers once, just before he finished his 12 years as the leader. Schmidt wants to show he is in charge, but Milorad Dodik wants to challenge him.
The 64-year-old leader from Bosnia-Serbia has made some new laws that try to make Bosnia’s national institutions in Republika Srpska look less important. Goals have also been to target tax agencies, courts, and property owned by the government.
He has stopped Mr. Schmidt from going to the area, even though the envoy has gone to the area where most people are Serbs.
If Dodik is found guilty in this new trial, he could go to jail for up to five years and be banned from politics.
It may seem like Republika Srpska is getting ready to leave – and Milorad Dodik often talks about making the region its own country.
Over the weekend, he said on Serbian TV that if Donald Trump is elected again as US president next year, he won’t hesitate to support him. During Joe Biden’s time as president, the US has punished him for saying he might leave important Bosnian groups. Dodik wants Mr. Trump to become president again.
But he does not have support from other countries for independence, not even from nearby Serbia.
He is friends with Russia and China, and they both don’t accept Christian Schmidt as the international envoy.
Mr Schmidt said that now that Russia has started a big war in Ukraine, the Western Balkans could be a place where Russia might get involved. However, he thinks the leader of the Bosnian-Serb doesn’t have much ability to make important decisions.
“He said that all he can do is create trouble whenever he likes in Moscow,” he said in an Austrian newspaper.
Many people think that Milorad Dodik wants to create a sense of crisis in Republika Srpska in order to stay in power for a long time by taking advantage of the fears of the voters.