Foreign embassies express concern over situation in Bosnia's judiciary

NEWS 04.12.2020 17:09
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Source: N1

Foreign embassies in Bosnia and Herzegovina have once again expressed concern over shattered integrity and credibility of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, the state top judicial institution whose President recently came into the spotlight for his alleged involvement in influence-peddling.

The statements come a day after the Council's session, whose members told President Milan Tegeltija he should “consider resigning.”

The Council also concluded that these allegations harmed the institution's “relations with all international partners.” 

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“While yesterday's extraordinary HJPC session was a step in the right direction, it is clear that the HJPC has to set aside the career ambitions of the President or any individual member and do what is needed in order to restore public trust in an institution suffering from a crisis of confidence,” the US Embassy said on Friday.

Commenting on the Council's conclusion about the harmed relations with the international partners, the embassy said that “the HJPC must recognize that what is even more important than its relationship with the International Community is building trust with the citizens of BiH”.

In a statement for N1, the Office of the High Representative, an institution monitoring the civilian implementation of Bosnia's peace agreement, said Tegeltija should resign, as suggested by the HJPC members.

“It would mean a significant step towards restoring of the identity and reputation of the institution,” the OHR said.

The European Union's office in Sarajevo expressed regret over the fact that the “reputation of this institution has been seriously shaken by corruption allegation against its President,” calling Tegeltija to act responsibly and protect the HJPC institution by heeding the calls of the Council members for his resignation.”

While recalling on their latest report highlighting “the ethical crisis within the judiciary, particularly the HJPC,” the OSCE Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina said the individual resignations may be entirely appropriate but that “they will not alone result in the systemic and cultural change necessary to establish trust in the HJPC and the judiciary as a whole.”

“The adoption of a revised Law on the HJPC, which would hopefully strengthen judicial integrity and disciplinary processes and allow for the introduction of an effective system for the verification of asset declarations of judicial office-holders, is a necessary precondition for the systematic and cultural reform of the BiH judiciary,” said the OSCE's Sarajevo office.