Preventing the conflict of interests for public officials is a key tool in the fight against corruption, the foreign embassies and organisations in Bosnia and Herzegovina said on Friday, urging all relevant authorities to ensure the legislation in this area is aligned with international standards.
“Efforts in this field are essential parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU integration process and key to helping restore citizen confidence in public officials. The Opinion of the European Commission on the application of BiH for EU membership clearly states that adoption and implementation of legislation on the prevention of conflict of interest in line with international standards and GRECO (Council of Europe's anti-corruption body) recommendations is one of the 14 key priorities for BiH,” said the statement signed by the US Embassy, the EU Delegation/EU Special Representative and the OSCE Mission to BiH.
They called on Bosnia's relevant authorities to ensure the draft Law on Prevention of Conflict of Interest in BiH is aligned with international standards, “resulting in a robust system for preventing conflict of interest among public officials.”
The international offices also recalled the Justice Ministry was tasked in January 2020 by the House of Representatives to produce a draft conflict of interest law and submit it to the Council of Ministers within 90 days, but that this deadline has long expired.
“The draft Law on Prevention of Conflict of Interest in BiH Institutions that the Ministry of Justice submitted for public consultation in December 2020 would do little to improve the mechanisms for preventing conflict of interest,” according to the statement.
“It does not meet international standards and does not implement GRECO recommendations necessary to prevent corruption. Concerted efforts to draft a law lacking strong provisions indicates a lack of willingness by political actors to make the system of prevention of conflict of interest operational,” it added.
Further delay in the adoption of this important law can only be interpreted as a failure to move forward on one of the 14 key priorities and the law's adoption is non-negotiable, the statement stressed.