The Organization for Security and Cooperation within Europe (OSCE) has criticized Bosnia and Herzegovina for its poor handling of corruption cases. The organization indicated that it was worried that the conviction rate of corruption cases had seen a drastic decline in the last few years.
The head of OSCE mission in Bosnia, Kathlene Kavalec, indicated that the judicial system in Bosnia had completely failed in prosecuting corruption cases and that it was not accountable for why it was failing to deliver justice. She further added that the country’s judicial system could not escape its failures since the international community could not overlook them.
She indicated that it was imperative to ensure that integrity, accountability, and impartiality were key components in ensuring that Bosnia’s judiciary prosecuted all corruption cases presented to them.
The report was being represented digitally in Saravejo, and it was the third time that the conference was being held to discuss corruption in Bosnia’s courts and society. After the organization assessed all the corruption cases and the judicial response to them in 2019, the report was put together after monitoring about 300 cases. The cases were tried in various courts across Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it’s where the judicial system’s failures were noticed.
Various reports from 2018 to 2019 presented some recommendations on how corruption cases could be prosecuted well in Bosnia’s courts. However, according to the OSCE, the way the judicial system operated made the situation worse, especially in exposing the country’s corrupt system. As a result of poor prosecution, many of the country’s elite escaped justice for very serious corruption charges.
Francesco de Sanctis, who heads the Rule of Law of OSCE in Bosnia, indicated that the result was a decline in accountability of Bosnia’s justice department. He also indicated that the prosecutor offices had failed in prosecuting cases compared to 2017 and 2018. The conviction timeline in Bosnia decreased to 21% in 2018 from 100% in 2017, and the verdict date increased to almost 1400 days in 2018. The result indicated the level of incompetence in the judicial system of Bosnia.
The country’s judicial system was also accused of prosecuting a low number of cases per year, which was seen when the report indicated that it had only prosecuted 15 cases in 2017. While addressing the conference digitally, Ambassador Johann Satler, who heads a delegation of EU in Bosnia, indicated that many Bosnian citizens were alarmed by the incompetence levels of corruption, which have been linked to criminal activities in the country.
Mr. Satler also indicated that it was high time that legislation is passed to ensure that all government officials, particularly the judicial officials, are held accountable when they fail to prosecute cases. The U.S ambassador to Bosnia, Eric Nelson, said that combating Bosnia’s corruption was important for the European Union integration. The report was released as part of a peace agreement’s remembrance in 1995 to end the war in Bosnia which had resulted in the death of many civilians.