Statement by the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina about the conclusions of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council BiH

Sarajevo, 27 October 2017 – The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina expresses its deep concerns about the nature of statements expressed in the conclusions of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HJPC), at its session on 26 October 2017, in relation to the information submitted by the Centre for War Research, War Crimes and Search for Missing Persons of RS.

Independence of the judiciary is a fundamental principle of international human rights law, including through several major international instruments. While the functioning of judiciary may be legitimately scrutinized, the Mission’s assessment is that the HJPC conclusions, due to their content, constitute undue pressure on independent judicial institutions.

The HJPC’s conclusions, requesting among others, from all courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina to provide data on the ethnicity of defendants in ongoing and completed war crime cases, as well as the proposal to amend the Law on HJPC by introducing the exceptional possibility of dismissal of a judge or prosecutor without prior disciplinary procedure, do not reflect the meaning and purpose of an independent judiciary as a paramount principle of rule of law.

The Mission urges the HJPC to establish consistent practices to defend members of the judiciary from undue pressure and protect public confidence against unfounded attacks, especially in view of the fact that judges and prosecutors who have been criticised are sworn to discretion which precludes them from replying.

Acting within the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (“Dayton Agreement”) the OSCE Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina is mandated to implement the OSCE’s tasks in the fields of elections, human rights monitoring, and to facilitate the monitoring of arms control and confidence-building measures. Co-operation between the Mission and the BiH authorities on Rule of Law, Democratization and good governance is longstanding.

Contacts

Željka Šulc
Chief
Press and Public Information Unit
OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina
Fra Anđela Zvizdovića 1, UNITIC Tower A
71000 Sarajevo
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Office: + 387 (0)33 752 238
Mobile: + 387 (0) 61 131 625
zeljka.sulc@osce.org