The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) organized an online peer-to-peer meeting on trial management in complex corruption cases on 5 October 2020. The meeting gathered 25 judges and prosecutors from different jurisdictions in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as partners from different international organizations working with judiciary. The meeting was organized as a follow-up to its report “Trial Monitoring of Corruption Cases in BiH: Second Assessment”.
The aim of the meeting was to discuss the identified trends and practices hindering judicial response to corruption, with a particular focus on the management of trials.
“The judicial response to corruption in BiH is far from adequate. This is especially true when it comes to tackling medium and high-level cases. Problems in the management of trials have been seriously undermining the efficient and effective processing of corruption cases. Serious delays were observed in most courts dealing with serious corruption cases”, said Michael Schuetz, Head of Rule of Law of the OSCE Mission to BiH. “Not just in BiH, but across the region, changing the culture of impunity requires a resolute, impartial and consistent response by the criminal justice system,” he added.
The experiences and challenges faced by the Sarajevo Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office and Cantonal Court, which have the largest number of corruption cases, were presented by Sabina Sarajlija, Chief Prosecutor of the Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office Sarajevo, Adisa Zahiragić, Head of Criminal Division of the Cantonal Court in Sarajevo and Sanela Rondić, Judge at the Cantonal Court in Sarajevo.
To support BiH in tackling corruption, the OSCE Mission to BiH has been monitoring corruption-related criminal trials since 2017. This work is part of the project “Assessing Needs of Judicial Response to Corruption through Monitoring of Criminal Cases”, made possible with the support of the US Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. The third report on the monitoring of corruption cases before courts in BiH, produced within this project, is expected to be presented by the end of 2020.