The main Bosniak party in the country wants to restore its influence in the work of the judiciary now because during the past three years more people were indicted for war crimes committed against Serbs than during the previous 11, Bosnia’s top judicial official said on Monday.
Milan Tegeltija is the head of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), the institution which appoints judges and prosecutors and disciplines them.
He and his institution have been under fire over the state of the judiciary, with both local politicians and international community officials, including Bosnia’s international administrator, asking for a reform of the HJPC.
Tegeltija said that “the judiciary managed to tear itself away from that political control and make itself independent, but then the witch hunt which came from certain political circles in the Federation (FBiH) entity, primarily from the Party for Democratic Action (SDA), began.”
He said that, between 2004 and 2015, 53 indictments were raised against 102 persons in cases where Serbs are the victims, while 41 indictments in such cases were raised against 126 persons since 2015.
“Until a few years ago the judiciary at the state level was largely controlled by the SDA and this was, because of certain political interests, silently supported by certain international factors,” he told ‘Politika’.
Criticism of the HJPC was also contained in a report on Bosnia’s judiciary which independent EU expert Reinhard Priebe put together recently. He advocated for a reform of the institution as well.
Tegeltija said that Priebe does understand the problems stemming from Bosnia’s complex constitutional structure and the reasons for the unsatisfactory prosecution of corruption cases, but he would not elaborate on any political dimensions of the report.