The Office of the High Representative (OHR), the institution overseeing the civilian implementation of Bosnia’s Peace Agreement, welcomed the removal of a plaque dedicated to Bosnian Serb convicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic from a dormitory in Pale and the announced resignation of Bosnia’s top judicial official, calling it a step towards improving the integrity of the judiciary.
The President of Bosnia High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), Milan Tegeltija, announced his resignation on Thursday.
The institution has been facing strong criticism from international and domestic organisations and institutions, including the EU, the OSCE and a Bosnian Parliamentary Commission, over its alleged failure to prosecute corruption cases.
Tegeltija’s resignation should be interpreted as “the beginning of much-needed and thorough changes in the judicial system aimed at improving integrity, responsibility and professionalism,” an OHR spokesperson said in a statement to N1.
“It is the obligation of all members of the HJPC, as well as judicial and prosecutorial institutions, and especially the Prosecutor's Office of BiH and the Court of BiH, to intensify efforts to restore public confidence in their work – in the highest interest of citizens calling for justice. The OHR will continue to monitor this issue,” it said.
The institution also commented on the removal of the controversial plaque from a dormitory in Pale, near the capital, saying that Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik “fulfilled his promise.”
The plaque with the name of Karadzic was ceremonially unveiled by the Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency, Milorad Dodik, who is also the leader of the ruling party in the Serb-majority Republika Srpska (RS) entity.
Bosnia’s international administrator tasked with overseeing the implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement in Bosnia, High Representative Valentin Inzko, strongly criticised it as a glorification of war criminals.
“The OHR Welcomes the fact that the Chairman of the BiH Presidency, Milorad Dodik, fulfilled his promise from the informal meeting of UN Security Council members regarding the removal of the plaque with the name of Radovan Karadzic from the Dormitory in Pale. That is a symbolic gesture and the OHR will appreciate all politicians based on their long-term activities and rhetoric which contain no glorification of war criminals,” the OHR said.