Transparency International in Bosnia and Herzegovina (TIBiH) warns the BiH Parliamentary Assembly that the Draft law on prevention of conflicts of interest in BiH Institutions, which is on the agenda of the House of Representatives today, is not in line with international standards and GRECO recommendations because the mechanisms envisaged in the original proposal adopted in the first reading were rendered meaningless by the adoption of amendments that practically legalize the conflict of interest, Transparency International stated.
“Transparency International therefore appeals to the House of Representatives to adopt the law in its original form because if it is adopted in a form containing controversial amendments, a clear message will be sent that there is no will to meet any improvements listed in the EU priorities and conflicts of interest will be legalized,” it is said in the announcement.
Amendments adopted by the Constitutional-Legal Committee at the suggestion of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, which allow public officials to perform other incompatible functions at other levels of government and to be members of management and supervisory boards, completely derogate from the text of the law and even establish lower standards than the law that is now in force.
The original draft adopted in the first reading met all international standards and adequately prescribed incompatibilities of public functions, but the adoption of the amendments completely relaxed control mechanisms and introduced smaller restrictions than the current law offers, according to TI.
The adoption of the Croat Democratic Union’s amendment allows office holders to head foundations and associations that receive money from entity and cantonal budgets, which also introduces lower standards than the existing law. Due to this situation of conflict of interest, the case of Dragan Čović has been before the Commission for Deciding on Conflict of Interest since 2017, and the work of this commission has been blocked due to this case, Transparency International points out.
Apart from the above, the adopted amendments do not ensure the required level of independence of the body that should implement the Law, which is one of the basic preconditions stated in international standards.
Transparency International notes that the improvement of the Law on Conflict of Interest is one of the 14 priorities highlighted by the European Union on BiH’s path to EU membership, and the solutions that were subsequently included in the draft law do not provide the necessary improvements.