In 2020, the number of indictments for corruption was almost halved in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the number of verdicts was reduced by 30 percent, according to data published by Transparency International in BiH on an interactive map that deals with prosecuting corruption cases.
As the TI BiH stated, the already devastating statistics of the fight against corruption has further worsened in the year of the pandemic, and mostly small cases of corruption were processed.
This is illustrated by the fact that as many as 66.6 percent of corruption convictions ended in suspended sentences, lower-ranking officials in the public and private sectors were tried, and the biggest corruption scandals again have not stood trial.
It is also worrying that the launch of investigations and the opening of cases in prosecutors’ offices are increasingly being used as a means of discrediting political opponents.
In the entire prosecutorial system, only the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH increased the number of indictments filed and verdicts obtained, which was not difficult because in 2019, they had only four indictments and one final verdict where the accused was acquitted.
In 2020, they filed 11 indictments, and only four final verdicts were handed down in these cases, of which three were prison sentences.
According to what they announced in public, the most resounding are the two verdicts against customs officers who received bribes at the Gradiška border crossing and were sentenced to one year in prison each.
“What is especially worrying is the fact that more than half of the criminal charges end with an order not to conduct an investigation, and since these reports, in addition to citizens, are submitted by the competent police agencies, it is clear that there is no adequate cooperation between law enforcement agencies and prosecutors’ offices.
It should also be noted that it takes too long to wait for prosecutorial decisions in cases where citizens or civil society organizations file criminal charges. In investigations, there is a high percentage of those who are eventually suspended.
That percentage last year in the entity of Republika Srpska was drastically higher than in other prosecutorial systems. Out of 77 initiated investigations, 47 (61 percent) were resolved by issuing an order to suspend the investigation, Transparency International in BiH stated.