The Serb Orthodox Church in Brcko, headed by Father Slavko Maksimovic, resumed construction of a new church on or about September 17 in Meraje, a formerly Muslim majority neighborhood of Brcko. In a meeting on June 17 with former High Representative Carl Bildt and the undersigned, Mayor of Brcko Miodrag Pajic agreed to stop construction of the church until an agreement could be reached between the Serb and Muslim religious communities concerning the erection of houses of worship in Meraje.
Under the Dayton Peace Accords, refugees and displaced persons have a right to return to their homes of origin. Thus, the construction of this church has serious implications for the peaceful process of returns. As Supervisor of Brcko, I have responsibility for conducting the returns process in a peaceful, phased, and orderly manner. I therefore direct that further construction of the Serb Orthodox Church in Meraje cease immediately. This order shall remain in effect until a new multi-ethnic municipal administration is in place to review social consequences of the locating this church in the community of Meraje.
Robert W. Farrand
Supervisor of Brcko
September 19, 1997