Judicial effectiveness in BiH has stagnated over the past three years while perceptions of judicial effectiveness for the last year worsened for both the public and judges and prosecutors. These are the key findings of the 2019 Judicial Effectiveness Index of BiH (JEI-BiH) survey conducted through USAID’s Monitoring and Evaluation Support Activity – MEASURE project.
For the fifth year in a row, this research is being done on the effectiveness of the judiciary in BiH and how people inside and outside the sector perceive it.
The JEI-BiH finding is calculated using three unique data sources: survey of BiH citizens, as well as judges and prosecutors’ perceptions on the current state of BiH judiciary, and High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council administrative data. Interestingly, indicator values related to the perceptions of both the public and judges and prosecutors declined in 2019 while, in contrast, the overall value of indicators sourced from HJPC administrative data increased in 2019, compared with 2018. Administrative data showed consistent increases in number of employees and court budgets from 2012 (165 million KM) to 2019 (205 million KM), a 24 percent increase overall, while Prosecutor Office (PO) budgets grew by 39 percent over the same period (from 42 million KM to 58 million KM annually).
Overall public perception of judicial effectiveness in 2019 remains poor, with the processing and prosecution of corruption-related issues among the JEI indicators with lowest values. Historically, values of corruption-related indicators are been low, indicating a poor perception of the judiciary’s handling of these matters. In 2019, as in the previous year, perceptions of most corruption-related indicators declined, registering further public disappointment with the judiciary’s management of corruption situations.
Notably, for the second consecutive year, judges and prosecutors’ responses were more negative concerning the judiciary’s dealing with corruption-related matters. The areas of judicial effectiveness that recorded the most negative change over the last five years by judges and prosecutors are related to the efficiency of appointments of judges and prosecutors and the impact of corruption on the BiH judiciary.
Overall, judicial effectiveness in BiH continues to stagnate, indicating the need to improve all segments of the BiH judiciary system. Among the segments, addressing corruption should be prioritized .
“When corruption is allowed to thrive, it inhibits private investment, reduces economic activity, and increases the cost of doing business, which can perpetuate poverty and even lead to political instability. Furthermore, corruption breeds exclusivity and fosters extremism. The executive branch of the government needs to ensure the full commitment of law enforcement and other government agencies by reporting corruption and providing support to prosecutors in investigations,” said Nancy Eslick, USAID/BiH Mission Director.
The US Government, through USAID and other agencies, is committed to providing support to BiH necessary to help the county judiciary to efficiently fight corruption and organized crime as key preconditions on BiH way to self-reliance.