Judiciary in BiH: HR Schmidt’s Priority and “Cancer” of BiH Society

What the new High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina(BiH), Christian Schmidt, will deal with first is one of the basic issues on the political scene in our country. Many support thecontinuation of Bonn powers use, but such a thing is hard to expect. What is more realistic is the option to deal with the judiciary.

In one of his farewell messages and statements, former High Representative Valentin Inzko hinted at the course of action his successor would take. He mentioned that for a certain period he would probably only observe the situation and that it was difficult to expect to reach for the Bonn powers, more precisely, to impose some new decisions.

But, he pointed out that Schmidt could deal with the judiciary since there are a lot of problems and a lot of work in that aspect. The scandals, the work of the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH, political influence, a small number of indictments for war crimes, organized crime, and other things are a kind of cancer-wound of BiH society. If the High Representative really gets down to solving the accumulated problems in the BiH judiciary, there is undoubtedly a lot of work ahead of him.

The state of the judiciary in our country is best illustrated by the fact that since the establishment of the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH in 2003, no chief prosecutor has ended his term without scandal. The first chief prosecutor was Marinko Jurcevic, who resigned without specific explanation. His successor, Milorad Barasin, was fired for inappropriate contacts with international arms smuggler Slobodan Tesic.

Barasin was succeeded by Goran Salihovic in 2013, but he was suspended in 2016 due to the “Transcript” affair, which referred to journalists Mato Djakovic and Milorad Dodik, ie mediation in order to find out whether a certain procedure would be initiated against Dodik.

The current chief state prosecutor is Gordana Tadic, who was suspended in the first-instance disciplinary proceedings for negligence in the performance of official duties and for “conduct in court and the prosecutor’s office or outside the court or prosecutor’s office that damages the reputation of the prosecutor’s office function.”

All these years, the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH is expected to prove the existence of the rule of law on the examples of prosecuting major crime, corruption, to effectively implement the cases taken from The Hague when it comes to war crimes cases and similar things. A separate topic is a political influence that hovers over that institution.

It will be almost two years since the report of the German legal expert Reinhard Priebe on BiH justice, but almost nothing has been done to implement the recommendations. It was Schmidt who said upon his arrival in our country that he was interested and that he had read the mentioned report.

Now, the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH is in the public spotlight after they sent a request to Croatia to prosecute the generals of the Croatian army due to the alleged responsibility in the “Flash” (Bljesak) operation. It is an action of the Croatian army that began on May 1st, 1995, when the occupied areas of western Slavonia were liberated.

The Prosecution of BiH is demanding the responsibility of Croatian generals for recklessly shelling from the territory of Croatia in the undefended places of Bosanska Gradiska and Bosanska Dubica, where several civilians were killed.

Many think that this move by the Prosecutor’s Office is just marketing to show activity in order to prosecute war crimes, while in parallel the same Prosecutor’s Office does not file charges against many criminals who still move freely in BiH.

The BiH judiciary has yet to prove itself in implementing amendments to the Criminal Code, related to the ban of genocide denial. What the new High Representative will do in that regard, how much he will observe, and what he will insist on will probably be clearer in the next 12 months, Klix.ba writes.


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