Bosnia’s judiciary was “pulled out of the jaws of politics” which is now trying to regain control again, the head of the country’s top judicial institution, Milan Tegeltija, said at a press conference on Thursday.
Tegeltija is the head of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJCP), Bosnia’s top judicial institution, in charge of naming judges and prosecutors and disciplining them.
The Council discussed whether and how judicial officials should make their property declarations public.
“The issue of the property declarations of judicial officials is an issue of the integrity of the judiciary as a whole,” he said, arguing that Bosnia’s judiciary is being targeted by the expert report and by a letter from Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, the Director for Western Balkans at the EU Commission’s Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.
“The European Commission has put the priority on resolving the property declarations of judges and prosecutors, which we have also prioritised,” he said.
He also spoke about a comprehensive 'Report on Rule of Law issues' which was put together by EU legal expert Reinhard Priebe.
The report was highly critical of the judiciary in the country, saying that the civil judiciary is “overburdened,” while the criminal justice system is “failing to combat serious crime and corruption.”
It also said that the HJCP has, over the years, become part of the problem.
Tegeltija said that Priebe’s entire report will be sent to the competent commissions “which will propose measures.”
He stressed that the report does not say that Bosnia’s judiciary is politicised but that “there is a perception among citizens that the judiciary is politicised.”
“I cannot comment on perceptions, but my view is completely opposite. I believe that the judiciary was pulled out from the jaws of politics and that there is now an effort to take over control again,” he said.