Bosnia's top judicial official announces resignation

NEWS 10.12.2020 17:40
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Source: N1

Milan Tegeltija, the President of Bosnia’s High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), announced he would resign next week over, among other reasons, safety concerns.

In a press conference on Thursday, Tegeltija said his own and the safety of his family has been jeopardised and that the attacks on him have been present since he took office.

Tegeltija faced broad criticism recently including that of the HJPC members and international institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina after media published an audio recording that allegedly contained the HJPC President’s voice which put him into the middle of an influence-peddling affair. 

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The Council members called on the President to “consider resigning” and foreign institutions in the country expressed concerns over the situation in Bosnia’s judiciary.

Tegeltija himself claimed that he was framed.

Today, he told a press conference the attacks on him as the HJPC President have been ongoing since the moment he took office. For those attacks, he blamed the SDA, Bosniak main political party and those surrounding it.

“From the allegations that I was politically appointed, politically instructed and that I have a political agenda aimed against the judicial system of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and against Bosnia and Herzegovina in general, to break the HJPC apart or destroy it and that I was tasked to destroy the constitutional-legal order of Bosnia and Herzegovina – this has started even before I attended the first HJPC session,” he said.

Tegeltija was nominated in 2014 by the courts in Republika Srpska, Bosnia’s Serb-majority region, for membership in the HJPC, the state-level top judicial body overseeing the work of judges and prosecutors.

“I performed my duties of the Council President and all other professionally, honourably and decently. I was often asked why am I saying I represent Republika Srpska, while I was an official of Bosnia and Herzegovina and not Republika Srpska. I come from Republika Srpska, I love Republika Srpska, I advocate for Republika Srpska and will never do anything against Republika Srpska, but that doesn’t mean I did not with full attention, consciously and responsibly performed the duty of the HJPC President as an institution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, for which I was selected by all HJPC members,” Tegeltija told reporters.

The US Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the foreign embassies that expressed concerns over the situation in Bosnia's judiciary, said Tegeltija's resignation was only one of the many steps that the HJPC must take “towards restoring trust with BiH citizens.”

“All justice sector office holders, and the members of the HJPC that appoint them, must be held to the highest ethical standards. All judges and prosecutors must take steps to adequately investigate and prosecute corruption at all levels, including when it appears in their midst,” the embassy said.