The businessman who recorded a video which he claims proves the involvement of Bosnia’s top judicial official in corruption wrote on Twitter on Monday that he asked for immunity in any potential proceedings and that he will participate in a protest over the affair which is scheduled for Wednesday in Sarajevo.
Local investigative news portal ‘Zurnal’ recently published an article alleging that the head of the body overseeing the work of Bosnia’s judiciary, the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), Milan Tegeltija, took a bribe in return for abusing his influence to speed up a case at local courts.
The money was allegedly handed to State Police officer Marko Pandza who acted as a middleman.
Tegeltija adamantly denied any wrongdoing and the HJPC publicly expressed support for him.
Prosecutors have formed a case regarding the allegations and Security Minister Dragan Mektic called on Tegeltija to resign.
On Thursday, Zurnal published a secretly recorded video of a meeting between Tegeltija, Pandza and businessman Nermin Alesevic. It appears to be showing Alesevic handing the money to Pandza but does not contain footage of Tegeltija taking it over. Tegeltija cannot be heard asking for any money directly. He can only be heard asking for the case number and the name of the prosecutor.
After the video was published, Tegeltija told N1 that the footage actually proves his innocence.
Alesevic told N1 he was the one who recorded the meeting and that he wanted Tegeltija to speed up a case at the Sarajevo Canton court.
“Now it is up to them to decide. I want to also inform everyone that I am coming to Sarajevo on Wednesday. I hope that the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina will figure out that we need a lawful state for a better future for our children and our families,” Alesevic wrote on Monday.
The businessman from Velika Kladusa was questioned by state prosecutors about the alleged affair on Friday. He would not give statements to media after that, but he told N1 in an interview before being summoned that the video, which he said he recorded in November 2018, is credible and that he forwarded it to “part of the international community” in the country.
Minister Mektic called for a protest to take place in front of the HJPC building on Wednesday when a session of the Council is scheduled to take place.
No announcement for a protest has been submitted to the Canton Sarajevo Ministry of Interior at the time of writing. The Ministry told N1, however, that a protest will probably take place.
The family of Dzenan Memic, a young man whose controversial death in 2016 has never been solved and whose father believes the judiciary in Sarajevo is protecting his son’s killer, also said they will attend the protest.
So will members of the ‘Justice for David’ movement - a group of citizens who have been protesting for more than a year over the unresolved murder of David Dragicevic.
Tegeltija has asked the Directorate for Coordination of Police Bodies to “ensure his personal safety” during his stay in Sarajevo. He told N1 that the HJPC meeting on Wednesday will most likely be relocated to another location due to the protest.
“If these political protests which were initiated by the Security Minister are permitted to take place near the buildings of the judicial institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the competent institution, I, as the President of the HJPC, will not allow for members of the Council to work under such a kind of pressure nor should any candidates for judicial positions lay out their programmes under such stressful circumstances," Tegeltija said.
He said he will "take necessary measures" so that members of the Council "work without pressure and threats".