The vote in entity parliament of Republika Srpska in favour of a law establishing a separate High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) in this entity constitutes an unacceptable violation of the constitutional and legal order of Bosnia and Herzegovina, European Commission spokesperson said on Thursday following the parliament session.
“If the law is adopted, it will severely impact the rights of the citizens of Republika Srpska, deepening legal uncertainty and instability in the country's judicial system, and seriously undermine BiH’s European perspective,” said spokesperson Peter Stano.
The statement comes hours after the National Assembly of Republika Srpska, Bosnia's Serb-majority entity, passed Draft Law on the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, which would transfer the competencies from the state-level council – the top judicial institution, onto the entity level.
Stano also said the European Union urges the Bosnian leaders, in particular the Republika Srpska leadership, to “put an end to escalatory steps, and instead ensure serious dialogue is resumed within state institutions, to address all the issues of concerns.”
“The EU is ready to use all the instruments available in its toolbox to help BiH overcome the current crisis and ensure the country refocuses fully on the reforms for its EU path as set out in the Opinion 14 key priorities. The EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy has put the situation in BiH and actions undermining the unity of the country on the agenda of the upcoming Foreign Affairs Council,” the statement said.
The US Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina joined the comments on the entity parliament's decision, warning that the RS political leadership took a step to “undermine judicial transparency and accountability for corrupt actions.”
“Creating a new HJPC for the RS entity will allow criminals to prosper and corruption to flourish. It will create an unconstitutional body that will jeopardize the fundamental legal rights of all BiH citizens, especially those who live in the RS,” the embassy stressed.
“We hope all citizens participate in the public comment period. Let your leaders know that you demand transparency and accountability in governance,” it added.