Mon, 20 May 2019

Award-winning Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica has been named as an adviser to the Serbian member of Bosnia-Herzegovina's three-person presidency.

The March 14 announcement did not state what the 64-year-old filmmakers duties would be as adviser to President Milorad Dodik, who represents the Balkan country's ethnic Serbs.

Kusturica, who was born in Sarajevo but has not returned since the 1992-95 war, is known to be a close friend of Dodik, a Serbian nationalist. His primary residence is listed as the Serbian town of Drvengrad, a city built for the filming of one of his films, Life Is A Miracle.

They both are avowed supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kusturica, a two-time Palme d'Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival, has been known for controversial remarks. One of his best-known films, 1995s Underground, was accused by critics of being too pro-Serb.

Bosnia consists of a Serbian entity, a Muslim-Croat entity, and a central government that ties both together in a fragile state.

Dodik was elected in October as the Serbian member of Bosnia's multiethnic three-person presidency. He has called for the breakup of the country and for granting independence to the ethnic Serb entity, Republika Srpska.

After his election, Dodik said he wanted to appoint Kusturica as an adviser.

The U.S. Treasury Department in 2017 imposed sanctions against Dodik -- saying he was actively obstructing efforts to implement the 1995 Dayton accords that ended the war in Bosnia.

The sanctions allowed U.S. authorities to block access by Dodik to any of his property or assets that are under U.S. jurisdiction.

Based on reporting by AFP and Balkan Insight

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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