US Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Michael Murphy published a new blog post on Monday dedicated to the state of the justice system in the country. The title of the post is “A fair and independent judiciary is essential to any democratic system of government.”
Citizens’ trust in the ability of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s judiciary system to tackle corruption is at an all-time low. The public’s perception of the level of accountability of public officials, of judicial impartiality, and of the conduct of judges and prosecutors has also deteriorated significantly in the past year.
Some prosecutors and judges even acknowledge that they are part of the problem, believe that their own profession is highly susceptible to bribery, and see the system as compromised by political influence and corruption.
In short, BiH’s judicial system is not working, and citizens – and the judiciary – know it.
These statements are backed up by data contained in the U.S. government’s most recent Judicial Effectiveness Index for BiH (JEI-BiH), a survey conducted annually by the United States in partnership with the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) designed to monitor and evaluate judicial performance.
The United States and other friends of BiH fund programs in the judicial sector because significant change is needed to achieve an acceptable level of respect for the rule of law. But our funding is not indefinite. We must see progress and a commitment by the HJPC, judges, and prosecutors to reform. That means the judiciary must prosecute corrupt actors. Before it can do that, however, it must clean its own house.
I am not satisfied. Indeed, no one should be satisfied when the most corrupt are free and when those in power are untouchable at the expense of ordinary citizens.
A fair and independent judiciary is essential to any democratic system of government. It ensures accountability, equality, and access to justice for all. Respect for the rule of law reassures citizens that all rights are respected and protected. It also empowers them to make a positive contribution to the economy and society.
The rest of the post can be read at this LINK.