Due to numerous problems in the judiciary, candidacy status of BiH questionable

Due to numerous problems in the judiciary, candidacy status of BiH questionable

SARAJEVO, December 2 (FENA) – The latest OSCE report on the state of the judiciary has identified a number of problems in the BiH judiciary, such as the complete failure of the criminal system, the dramatic drop in indictments, and the increasing length of proceedings.

These and other things that are a problem in the judiciary were pointed out at today’s session of the Temporary Investigation Commission of the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina for determining the situation in the judicial institutions of BiH.

Members of the Commission discussed the Third Annual Report of the OSCE on the Judicial Response to Corruption: Impunity Syndrome, when the Chairman of the Commission Damir Arnaut (Our Party) reminded that the Head of the EU Delegation to BiH Johann Sattler clearly said that if there is no progress in judicial reform, BiH will not receive EU candidate status.

Commission member Alma Čolo (Party of Democratic Action – SDA) referred to the impunity syndrome, warning of the fact that the investigation of criminal proceedings in corruption cases is often suspended because the deadlines for filing indictments are not met.

In cases of corruption, she added, very often a financial expertise is required, which can take a long time, and the expert can delay it, so the investigation is suspended if the indictment is not filed within the given deadlines.

She believes that it is necessary to change the law in the part that prescribes these deadlines, although she notes that they were set so that some investigations would not last indefinitely, and in that period the suspect would not be able to practice many civil rights.

She said that there are 377 prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and although not all of them deal with corruption cases, 232 corruption cases have been initiated. There are 56 prosecutors in the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH alone, which, she believes, is quite enough to meet the challenges of BiH – a country with 3.5 million inhabitants, but last year the Prosecutor’s Office did not file a single indictment for corruption.

She also highlighted the fact that the OSCE report called alarming the non-appearance of the accused in the courtroom and “it seems that the criminal trial is optional for the accused”.

Commission member Mirjana Marinković-Lepić (Our Party) said that she would give a stronger assessment of the situation in the judiciary, assessing that there is a collapse of the judicial system in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

She points out that the attitude of the head of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) Milan Tegeltija towards all these reports discussed by the Commission, but also others submitted to the BiH public, is of particular concern.

She believes that it is necessary for the Commission to get the position of the HJPC and to determine whether Milan Tegeltija identifies with the party leader, referring to the leader of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), Milorad Dodik.

The Commission adopted conclusions urging the BiH Council of Ministers to take concrete steps to address the judicial problems identified by the OSCE, and requested answers from the HJPC, which led to the failure of the criminal system.