The United States will help Bosnia in its justice reform and as a senior advisor at Canton Sarajevo's Anti-Corruption Office I am not alone in this – I have a team from the US Embassy in Sarajevo behind me, said Erik Larson who recently arrived from Podgorica to help Sarajevo Canton fight corruption.
Larson said that it is important to have a police strategy based on concrete information and that his financial team is invested in anti-corruption programmes.
He noted that “this is not his first rodeo” and that he came to Sarajevo with a purpose of helping Bosnia.
When asked why corruption is a constant problem in Bosnia, he said there are several reasons for this. The first being the chaos from war, then the history of cross-border smuggling of arms or some other goods. Another reason is that nationalists are still in power. This is something Bosnia must finally get rid of 25 years after the war, he said.
He added that he could sense the citizens are angry and that they have had enough, stressing that they must also report instances of corruption.
He concluded that in order to fight corruption effectively, the citizens must also be better connected with the media and get to know them better.
Erik Larson has previously served as the INL Senior Justice Advisor at U.S. Embassy Podgorica.
Prior to arriving in Montenegro in December 2013, he was stationed in Pristina, Kosovo as a member of the U.S. Contingent at EULEX working as an International Prosecutor in the SPRK (Special Prosecution Office of the Republic of Kosovo). He has been working overseas since 2003.
His prior assignments have been in Bosnia, where he served as an international prosecutor in both the Special Department for War Crimes and Special Department for Organized Crime and Corruption of the State Prosecutor’s Office, as well as with the Anti-Crime and Corruption Unit of the Office of the High Representative – in charge of overseeing the civilian implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement which ended the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia, on behalf of the international community.
Larson also served with the United Nations as the OIOS Chief Resident Investigator for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and as a UNODC Crime Prevention Expert in Austria.
Prior to deploying overseas, he served as a Captain in the Military Police and is an experienced criminal law attorney.