Rule of law expert: Bosnia lacks progress in judiciary, it is 'frustrating'

NEWS 20.11.2019 10:24

Bosnia lacks progress in judiciary and situation is nearly the same as a decade ago, European Union's independent rule of law expert Reinhard Priebe said addressing a public debate on the judiciary in Bosnia's State Parliament on Wednesday, calling the current situation "frustrating."

Priebe spoke on occasion of the State of Judiciary Report for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is being prepared.

“This is the ideal chance for all of you to provide inputs for our report and make your contribution. Our group is looking forward to this discussion and congress. We held many meetings and read many documents while preparing the report, and we will continue with that,” the law expert was quoted as saying.

According to him, competent bodies pointed out the serious problems concerning the rule of law in Bosnia, which will be mentioned in the report.

“We will need resoluteness of judges, prosecutors and we need the involvement of the NGO sector and public. Political will is still missing despite strong efforts to change things. The rule of law is not primarily linked to conducting the tasks during the accession process, it is a safe framework for citizens and their benefit to make a prosperous future in the country for their families. Many young people are leaving the country, not only due to economic reasons but also due to the lack of legal certainty and they see the problem in how the law works in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Priebe, as quoted by the official interpreter.

He said it was frustrating to see that Bosnia made no progress and that situation is just the same in the judiciary sector as over ten years ago. Many of the impressions he had are similar to those from 2000 and earlier, he added.

“Due to the lost time, many impressions I am reading now are identical to those that my colleagues wrote in the early 2000s. That's why I ask you to speak today, to share your opinion and suggestions in order to overcome the problems. We will draw the conclusions, this debate is not the time and place for individual cases but some of the individual cases will help us identify the problems in the system,” he stressed, adding that experts can assess the situation but it is on local authorities to make changes.

Prior to the start of the discussion, an informal group of citizens ‘Justice of David’ gathered in front of the Parliament's building, to recall of tragic death of Dravid Dragicevic, a young man who died in March 2018 under still unresolved circumstances. The group members and Dragicevic's parents have been seeking justice for their son, often blaming the authorities in Bosnia's Republika Srpska entity of being involved in what they claim was a murder.