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Una-Sana Canton (Bosnia and Herzegovina), 1997-1999

Unsko-sanski kanton

Last modified: 2014-03-08 by ivan sache
Keywords: una-sana canton | wall (yellow) | star: 8 points (yellow) | stars: 10 (yellow) | scimitar (yellow) | book (white) | kuran |
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[Former flag]

Flag of Una-Sana Canton, 1997-1999 - Image by Željko Heimer, 14 December 2012


See also:


Flag of Una-Sana Canton, 1997-1999

The first symbols of Una-Sana Canton were prescribed by Law Zakon o grbu i zastavi Unsko-Sanskog Kantona, adopted on 28 July 1997. The use of the symbols is prescribed by the companion Law Zakon o upotrebi grba i zastave Unsko-Sanskog Kantona, adopted the same day. The two Laws came into effect on 12 August 2007.
The two Laws were proclaimed by Decisions Odluka o proglašenju Zakona o grbu i zastavi Unsko-sanskog kantona and Odluka o proglašenju Zakona o upotrebi grba i zastave Unsko-sanskog kantona, respectively, adopted on 4 August 1997.
The four texts were published on 11 August 1997 in Službeni glasnik Unsko-sanskog kantona, No. 2 (text).

The flag is defined in Article 2 of the Law on the symbols. The colours are based on the colours of the coat of arms; the design might have been influenced by the flags used by Bosniaks during the recent war. The proportions of the flag are rather unusual, 1:1.75 (4:7), and the width of the stripes is 1:3:12:3:1. The height of the coat of arms is half the flag's hoist, and it is set in the middle of the flag.
The colours are prescribed as Golden SCC 2707, Blue SCC 47 and Green SCC 54. SCC is the proprietary colour system scale of the Slovenian company Cinkarna Celje; SCC 47 appears to match the standard CMYK Cyan.

The Law on the use of the symbols prescribed the vertically hoisted flag to be hoisted so that the green stripe comes on the right - whatever that actually means - and if it is taken to mean the most straightforward then it is against the usual vertical hoisting principle. There is no mention that the coat of arms should be rotated on such a flag, which probably is not intended. The vertical variant is therefore obtained by a simple rotation of the horizontal flag 90 degrees clockwise.
The Law prescribes this flag for use by the Army of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that is, it can be considered as a war flag, too. There is also a legal prescription that allows the flag and the coat of arms to be included on military flags (unit, command and ranks and other flags).

In 1999, after the Decision of the Office of the High Representative on the ban of all non-neutral and offensive symbols, the symbols of Una-Sana Canton were invalidated. It seems that the Decision was respected both legally and practically, which did not really happened in some other cantons.

Željko Heimer, 14 December 2012


Coat of arms of Una-Sana Canton, 1997-1999

[Former arms]

Coat of arms of Una-Sana Canton, 1997-1999 - Image by Željko Heimer, 14 December 2012

Article 1 of the Law on the symbols defines the coat of arms as a green shield with 11 golden eight-pointed stars in three rows and five columns (a detailed description of their position is given, but oddly enough, it is not mentioned that the three stars in the sinister column are bigger than the others). In the middle there is a golden defense wall of three rows of bricks under which are two blue rivers (stylized as "trenches" in front of the wall), outlined in gold, a white book, outlined in gold too, and a golden scimitar. The wall, rivers and scimitar are said to be turned 19 degrees towards horizontal. The shield is outlined with an inner white and outer golden border of the same width.
The symbolic, not refered in the Law, is pretty obvious: eight smaller stars for eight municipalities in the Canton, three bigger stars for the three constitutional nations (the three rows of bricks of the defence wall might also refer to the three nations), rivers Una and Sana, the border rivers of the Canton, an oriental scimitar and the Kuran. However, the green colour of the field should not be connected only with Islam, since the two rivers, and especially Una, are known as the "Green River" due to the green colour of their water reflecting the green slopes inbetween they flow.

The political magazine Hrvatski obzor, 20 September 1997, claimed that the irregularily ordered stars represent "the stylization of the word 'Islam', written in Arab, left to right", which is definitively not true.

Željko Heimer, 10 June 2000


Adoption process of the symbols of Una-Sana Canton

The symbols of Una-Sana Canton were prescribed in Article 7 the first Canton Constitution Ustav Unsko-Sanskog Kantona, adopted on 27 March 1995 and published on 16 June 1995 in Službeni list Unsko-sanskog kantona, No. 1 (text).

(1) The Canton has a coat of arms, a flag, a seal and other symbols, on which the Cantonal Assembly decides.
(2) For the adoption of the symbols the majority of votes of the delegates in Cantonal Assembly is required.
(3) The Cantonal symbols shall be used, with the symbols of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and of the Federation, in accordance with the Federation laws.

The issue was taken upon only in 1997; the annual agenda of the Assembly Program rada Skupštine Unsko-Sanskog Kantona za 1997.godinu, adopted on 6 February 1997 and published on 26 February 1997 in Službeni list Unsko-sanskog kantona, No. 1 (text) includes items related to the issue: the proposal of Decision to run a public competition for the design (planned for February, to be proposed by the Canton Government and ran by the Ministry of Justice), then the two Laws, one on the coat of arms and the other on the flag (both planned to have drafts for April and final proposals for May, the same tasks assigned to the Government and to the Ministry), and, finally, the proposals of Law on the use of the coat of arms and the flag (to be drafter by May, by the same actors).
In the mean time, Paragraph 3 of the Canton Constitution was amended by Amandmani I-X na Ustav Unsko-Sanskog Kantona, adopted on 13 March 1997 and published on 14 March 1997 in Službeni list Unsko-sanskog kantona, No. 2 (text), to "(3) The Canton symbols shall be used, with the symbols of Bosnia and Herzegovina and of the Federation in accordance with the Laws." This was, of course, the result of changes in the country name and political system.
At the same time Decision Odluka o pokretanju postupka za izradu idejnog rješenja grba i zastave Unsko-Sanskog Kantona, adopted on 13 March 1997 and published on 14 March 1997 in Službeni list Unsko-sanskog kantona, No. 2 (text), prescribed "to start the procedure for the design" of the symbols. The 9-member jury was soon appointed by Rješenje o imenovanju Komisije za pripremanje i provođenje javnog konkursa za izradu idejnog rješenja grba i zastave Unsko-Sanskog Kantona, adopted on 1 April 1997 and published on 3 May 1997 in Službeni list Unsko-sanskog kantona, No. 4 (text).

Željko Heimer,10 June 2000