Debate on establishment of separate HJPC ongoing in BiH's RS entity parliament

NEWS 10.02.2022 14:54
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Source: N1

Lawmakers in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity continued the discussion on forming a separate High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), a move the High Representative of the international community in the country called a threat to the influence of judiciary and the primacy of rule of law.

The RS National Assembly is currently discussing the establishment of an HJPC that would work separately from the state-level HJCP, Bosnia’s top judicial institution which appoints judicial officials.

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The move represents another step in an initiative by RS leadership, primarily BiH Presidency member and leader of the ruling party in the entity, Milorad Dodik, to withdraw from state institutions.

One of the MPs from the ‘Together for Bosnia and Herzegovina’ parliamentary group, Senad Bratic, warned that the move represents a clear violation of the Constitution.

He argued that back in 2002, the High Representative of the international community at the time used his powers to abolish the RS HJPC and that judicial competencies in that respect have been transferred to the state two years later, with the agreement of both of Bosnia’s semi-autonomous entities.

He argued the move will lead to “legal chaos and anarchy.”

Igor Zunic, from Dodik’s party, argued that the agreement the RS gave for the state-level HJPC to be established came with certain conditions and that the RS National Assembly asked for the law on establishing the state institution to “incorporate solutions that will institutionally and substantially preserve the influence of the entities.”

This would have been the establishment of a sub-council with a clearly defined role and procedure of its work in relation to the HJPC of BiH, he said, adding that this was never fulfilled, along with some other conditions.

Zunic quoted a part of the conclusions adopted by the National Assembly of the Republika Srpska in 2004, which states “if the essence of these conclusions is not contained in the bill, the National Assembly will withdraw its consent to this agreement.”

High Representative Christian Schmidt, who is tasked with overseeing the civilian implementation of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement in the country, strongly condemned the initiative to form a separate HJPC on Tuesday.

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