Bosnia dispute over ID law

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Births in Bosnia cannot be registered after MPs from rival Serb, Croat and Muslim communities failed to agree legislation on ­citizen identification numbers.

Rivalry between the former warring foes often disrupts law-making in the Balkan country, with the obligatory 13-digit citizen ID numbers the latest issue politicised along ethnic lines.

MPs are at odds over how to draw up the registration areas that decide the number, with Bosnian Muslim, or Bosniak, ­parties warning it risks cementing territorial divisions.

The constitutional court had ruled that the law be amended to clarify technical issues such as the new names of certain towns, and gave MPs until January to comply. But when the deadline passed, the court annulled the provision on registration of citizens, meaning no baby born after 12 February can be issued with a passport or medical card necessary to visit a doctor.

Serb deputies have pressed for a new arrangement that would reflect the territorial lines set down under a peace deal to end Bosnia’s 1992-95 war. The country is split into two autonomous regions – the mainly Bosniak and Croat Federation and the Serb Republic – linked by a weak central government.

The central government said it would come up with a new proposal for MPs to consider.