Petr Ivantsov, Russian Ambassador in Sarajevo, expressed doubts over the credibility of Zurnal.info, an investigative media outlet, which recently published a video with Bosnia’s top judicial official Milan Tegeltija and claimed that it shows the official’s involvement in the alleged bribery. The statement triggered a reaction of Bosnia's Presidency member.
Speaking for N1, the ambassador said he saw the video and he had certain doubts about it.
“I am neither an investigator or a judge. As far as I know, Tegeltija gave an explanation about what can be seen in the recording and his explanation was accepted by a disciplinary commission. I have certain doubts about this recording. I am familiar with Zurnal’s sources. As far as I’m concerned, Zurnal is not credible,” said Russian diplomat.
For Zeljko Komsic, the member of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency, the ambassador’s comment was “utterly diplomatically inappropriate.”
“Any political or diplomatic pressures on media with an aim to trivialise such huge problem in our country and society will not contribute to the creating of atmosphere whose final goal is to return a compromised trust in the institution of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council,” said Komsic.
The High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), a special body overseeing the work of Bosnia’s judiciary, came in the spotlight last month after investigative media outlet Zurnal.info published a secretly recorded video of a meeting of the HJPC President Milan Tegeltija and a local businessman, who asked him to help speed up his case at a court.
After splitting with Tegeltija, the businessman who recorded the footage is seen paying a policeman who arranged the meeting a significant amount of money, which the policeman said was for “shoeing the horse,” referring to paying Tegeltija for the favour but the video does not show Tegeltija taking it.
The alleged corruption affair triggered the attention of several embassies and international organisations, which expressed concern over the situation in Bosnia’s judiciary and called on competent institutions to hold responsible those who allegedly committed wrongdoing.