The head of Bosnia’s top judicial institution, Milan Tegeltija, should resign in order for the integrity of the institution to be restored, the office of Bosnia’s international administrator told N1 in a comment following the emergence of an audio recording that, according to media, proves Tegeltija’s involvement in influence peddling.
Tegeltija is the head of Bosnia’s High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), which appoints judicial officials in the country.
“In order to restore the integrity of this prominent judicial function, Mr. Tegeltija needs to show professional and personal honesty and do what is expected after the continuous inadequate performance of his duties,” the Office of the High Representative (OHR) said, arguing that this would “improve the image of the HJPC which has been further damaged by these activities.”
“The HJPC deserves a different, more professional president,” the OHR told N1.
The Istraga.ba investigative journalism portal released an audio recording on Thursday which allegedly features Tegeltija discussing the possibility of naming the sister of former HJCP member, Miljana Buha, to the post of judge in a Banja Luka court.
According to Istraga.ba, Buha insisted on the appointment of her sister, Sanja Cegar, and Tegeltija can allegedly be heard saying that the “tactic” should be left to him.
Both Tegeltija and Buha denied the allegations in statements for N1, arguing that the recording proves the opposite – that they agreed such an appointment would be a conflict of interest.
The High Representative’s office said that the latest audio recording represents another blow to the reputation of Bosnia’s judiciary, which is already low.
After the latest recording and another one released last year, which also allegedly implies Tegeltija’s involvement in influence peddling, “it is nearly impossible to restore the integrity of the HJPC President,” the OHR said.
“Conversations like the one that can be heard in the recording are truly demoralizing and demotivating for the entire judiciary, which is the foundation of every state and every society,” the international official’s office said, adding that such conversations put the credibility of institutions and the work of all honest and dedicated professionals in Bosnia’s judicial institutions at all levels, including HJPC members, into question.