EU, OSCE: Allegations involving BiH secret service director must be investigated

NEWS 20.09.2021 15:42
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Source: N1

Allegations of abuse of power, such as those stemming from a recording which recently emerged, allegedly featuring the head of Bosnia’s Security-Intelligence Agency (OSA) who appears to be discussing a court case with the country’s Chief Prosecutor, must be investigated and are detrimental to trust in the country’s judiciary, the EU Delegation and OSCE said.

Several days ago, local media reported on an audio recording of a conversation that allegedly took place between OSA Director, Osman Mehmedagic, and BiH Chief Prosecutor, Gordana Tadic.

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In the recording, which lasts 40 minutes, Mehmedagic and Tadic seem to be discussing the case of the OSA director’s diploma, which he was accused of acquiring illicitly. He also seems to be complaining about prosecutor Oleg Cavka.

Another recording emerged a day later, allegedly featuring Mehmedagic speaking about how he kicked a journalist, tasked OSA with monitoring another journalist, and discussing top judicial officials.

N1 asked the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) about the recording, but the country’s top judicial institution only said that it did not look into the issue so far.

N1 asked the EU Delegation for a comment.

“Strengthening the rule of law and the fight against corruption remain at the core of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU integration process. Holders of public office have a responsibility to act in the public interest and as such, they should hold the highest standards of professionalism and integrity,” it said.

“The fact that this conversation took place raises serious questions about professional integrity. Any allegation of abuse of power or any other instance of improper behaviour should be investigated by competent bodies. No one should be above the law, regardless of the position he/she holds,” the response from the EU Delegation Spokesperson said.

The OSCE Mission to BiH told N1 that it “is not in a position to determine the authenticity of this recording.”

“When recordings, involving the highest executive, security or judicial officials, are leaked to the public in unclear circumstances, they tend to severely damage the already fragile trust of the public in the judiciary, and in general in public institutions, in BiH,” the OSCE said, but added that, “Of course, any allegation of misbehavior must be promptly investigated by the responsible authorities.”

The OSCE Mission noted that it has “repeatedly warned that there is a considerable lack of public trust in the rule of law in BiH, resulting in widespread public skepticism.”

“Overcoming the challenges facing the BiH judiciary requires sincere political commitment, as well as sustained reform efforts. Members of all institutions and public authorities must lead in this effort to increase public trust and improve the overall credibility of the judicial system by fully embodying the highest ethical and professional standards,” it said.

“As noted on many occasions and demonstrated through its programming and advocacy, the Mission fully supports the establishment of an effective, responsive, and inclusive justice sector in BiH, one that upholds the rule of law and respects international standards. For the benefit of all BiH citizens, the Mission remains committed to necessary reforms in this direction,” the OSCE response concluded.

On Friday, the OSA called for an investigation into who “illegally recorded” the official meeting in the Prosecutor's Office of BiH between persons who have access to classified information.

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