None of 39 MPs who attended the Thursday session of the House of Representatives has backed the 2017 and 2018 reports on work of the top judicial institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), with 31 voting against and eight abstaining from the vote.
HJPC, the state institution which names judges and prosecutors and disciplines them, has been under fire by local politicians and the public throughout the past year because of the state of the judiciary.
Criticism also came from foreign ambassadors and officials, including Bosnia’s international administrator, High Representative Valentin Inzko, increasingly calling for a reform of the judiciary.
Independent EU expert Reinhard Priebe advocated for the same in a recent report he put together after analysing the situation. He wrote that Bosnia’s civil judiciary is “overburdened”, that the criminal justice system is “failing to combat serious crime and corruption” and that the HJPC has become part of the problem over the years.
The MPs agreed on Thursday that the Council was not doing its job properly and that the legislation treating its work needs thorough changes.
Dragan Mektic, an opposition MP from Bosnia's Republika Srpska entity, complained about the fact that HJPC Chairman Milan Tegeltija did not attend the Parliament session on this matter. He also accused Tegeltija of ignoring the stances and conclusions the Parliament passed.
Other parliamentarians agreed, adding that the state of the judiciary might be the country's major problem.
Semsudin Mehmedovic, MP of the ruling Bosniak party SDA, said the bad situation in the judiciary was directly affecting the issues of injustice, corruption and emigration of young people.
All institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina should and must report on their work to the Parliament, added Nikola Lovrinovic, MP of the main Croat party, HDZ BiH,