EU to Bosnia's top judicial officials: Refrain from ungrounded speculation

NEWS 17.10.2019 15:54
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Source: N1

The EU Delegation in Bosnia called upon judicial officials in the country to “refrain from ungrounded speculation” in a statement to N1 on Thursday after top officials of Bosnia’s highest judicial institution said they came across information that certain embassies and an EU expert sent to help the country improve its judicial system are allegedly involved in a plan to dismiss their institution.

The deputy head of Bosnia’s High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJCP), Ruzica Jukic, recently wrote on Facebook that a foreign embassy is trying to dissolve her institution.

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The HJPC is in charge of naming judges and prosecutors and disciplining them. The head of the institution, Milan Tegeltija, came under fire over corruption allegations earlier this year.

Jukic said she was informed that the family of Dzenan Memic, a young man whose murder remains unsolved since 2016, plans to stage protests and blame the HJPC for the lack of progress in the investigation – a plan she claimed was put together by certain foreign embassies, the Balkan Investigation and Reporting Network (BIRN) reported.

Jukic also said that she knows that the independent expert the EU sent to Bosnia to help improve the country's judiciary, Reinhard Priebe, plans to submit a negative report about the state of affairs in the judicial system and that he and the US Embassy in Bosnia will request from Bosnia's international administrator, Valentin Inzko, to dismiss the HJPC.

Tegeltija said that he does not want to comment on “something which has not happened,” but added that “the existence of such ideas and the development of such a scenario cannot be ruled out,” as he came across similar information “from serious international circles.”

The US Embassy, as well as the Office of the High Representative, Bosnia’s international administrator, would not comment on the claims.

“In the context of the initiative launched by the European Commission to enhance the monitoring and accountability of the rule of law system in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a senior independent expert, Mr Reinhard Priebe, is tasked with preparing a report on the rule of law system,” the EU Delegation told N1.

“The report is expected to be finalised “following a public event on the rule of law – scheduled for November – that will gather institutions from all levels of government, civil society and academia from throughout the country,” it said, adding that it is expected to be published and discussed at the Justice, Freedom and Security Sub-committee of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement in December.

The EU explained that it cannot comment on the content of the report as it is yet to be written.

“The European Union expects all actors in the rule of law system in Bosnia and Herzegovina to refrain from ungrounded speculations and focus on the implementation of the key priorities of the European Commission Opinion in the rule of law area, notably to strengthen the independence, impartiality and accountability of the judiciary,” it said.