The credibility of the whole judiciary in Bosnia is “at stake”, European Commission’s (EC) official warned in a letter addressed to Milan Tegeltija, the Chairman of Bosnia’s High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), asking this institution to make specific steps which will restore trust in the judiciary.
In a letter sent on December 16, Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, Director for Western Balkans at the Directorate-General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), said that integrity and transparency are essential to restore the trust in the judiciary, recalling that this was underlined in the European Commission’s Opinion on Bosnia’s membership application as well as in the recent Experts’ Report on Rule of Law Issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The HJPC, Bosnia’s state-level institution that oversees the work of the judiciary and appoints judicial officials, has a special responsibility in "Immediately" addressing the Experts’ Report findings and the corresponding key priorities of the Commission’s opinion, she stressed.
“In the view of the HJPC session of 19 December 2020 at which the findings of the Experts’ Report are planned to be discussed, the European Commission strongly encourages the HJPC to take action on a number of issues within the remit of its competences that require urgent attention. These include appointment, promotion and appraisal of judicial office holders, education and training, transparency and communication, disciplinary procedures and integrity checks,” said the EC’s official adding: “In this context, the adoption of a rigorous and credible system of integrity checks in January 2020 is of key importance.”
Calavera pointed out that the Experts’ Report mentioned recent events that called for the strengthening of the revised Rulebook in the light of the recommendations therein, “in particular, all asset declarations submitted by judicial office holder under the revised Rulebook must be subject to verification.”
“We trust that the HJPC will act swiftly and with utmost determination to implement the new system of verification of financial asset declarations as a first important step to strengthen the integrity and transparency of the judiciary and respond to citizens’ demands for justice,” reads the letter that was also addressed to the HJPC Secretariat Director Admir Suljagic, all HJPC members and Head of the EU Delegation in Bosnia Johann Sattler.
“We are looking forward to the position of the HJPC on its follow-up action regarding the findings of the Experts’ Report, in particular on the urgent measures to implement the new system of verification of financial asset declarations,” she said.