Commenting on the recent US sanctions against former BiH Chief Prosecutor Gordana Tadic, the former advisor in Bosnia’s High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), judge Kees van der Weide told N1 that there are some high profile judicial officials that are marked by the US as unreliable and that the higher up the chain one goes, the more political pressure they feel.
” If you look through the European glasses, this is very abnormal, of course. A prosecutor being sanctioned by one of the most important relations of BiH and remaining in office. But then, we have a member of the presidency who stands in the same corner meanwhile, who has also been sanctioned, together with, for that matter, the previous president of the HJPC. So we have here some really high profile officials of the judiciary being marked as unreliable and unworthy for the office by the United States. And I think altogether that would be reason enough to resign really, instead of denying the obvious,” Judge Van der Weide noted.
Judge Van der Weide, therefore, believes that the only one who can dismiss Tadic is Gordana Tadic herself or the HJPC BiH.
“You must remember that, it was less than a year ago and the council decided that she had to be removed from that position but she was kept in position as a general prosecutor. So I don't know what this sanction is really based on that if we are talking about substantial evidence. But once the Council is provided with some substantial evidence, it could of course be considered that an urgent step should be taken to remove her altogether from the prosecution. But that's up to them and they should value what is the basis of the decision of the US government,” the judge said.
Speaking about the political patrons that the State Department’s announcement regarding the sanctions mentions, Weide said that there is great political pressure in the BiH judiciary, in general.
“It is my strong opinion that the higher the authorities in the judiciary are ranked, the more they are under the influence of political powers. This is very obvious, everyone can notice that. I have noticed that as well in my time in the council – that everyone is moving as if they are walking on eggs, and not rocking the boat too much not to change things, because change, of course, could jeopardise people's position inside and outside the HJPC,” he said.
When asked if there could be similar decisions regarding BiH judicial officials, Van der Weide said:
“I think that this move from the US government, first against Dodik and Tegeltija and now against Tadic and the other person, together with the, let's say, waking up of the High Representative, who suddenly is aware of the Bonn powers and the need to intervene, it opens up a new chapter between the international community and the internal political powers within BiH.”