FACT SHEET: Judiciary Against Corruption Activity in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Speeches Shim

Fighting Corruption

Through the Judiciary Against Corruption Activity, USAID addresses both external and internal judicial sector weaknesses in fighting corruption. USAID’s implementing partner for this five-year $8 million program is Development Professionals Inc. 

Corruption remains one of the most pressing challenges in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). In Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Perception Index (which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption), BiH received a score of 35 in a range of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). The European Commission noted that in 2020 BiH had made no progress in addressing the EU Opinion’s key priorities, the 2019 EU progress report recommendations on corruption, or the findings of the Expert Report on Rule of Law issues. The judiciary’s response to corruption, particularly in processing cases of high-level corruption and organized crime, remains poor. Improvements are needed in the following areas:

  • Resolving conflicts of jurisdiction
  • Harmonizing jurisprudence on corruption-related offenses
  • Drafting indictments
  • Gathering evidence
  • Oversight of judges during indictment review
  • Reasoning in court decisions and sentencing for corruption crimes
  • Increasing the efficiency and decreasing the duratino of court proceedings

Integrity within the judicial sector is weak, as well. In recent years, BiH has made progress in preventing conflicts of interest and corruption, and in strengthening judicial integrity (some of which was supported through a previous USAID justice program). Yet large gaps remain in:

  • Monitoring compliance with ethics and conduct standards 
  • Verifying the completeness and accuracy of asset declarations
  • Providing adequate resources to judges and prosecutors so they understand the rules and compliance requirements, and have access to confidential counseling when questions arise

USAID ASSISTANCE

In September 2019, USAID initiated a five-year program – the Judiciary Against Corruption Activity (JACA) – with two distinct areas of intervention that: 1) improve the judicial handling of cases involving high-profile corruption and organized and economic crime (HCOEC) and 2) prevent corruption within the judiciary itself.

IMPLEMENTATION  

  1.  Improving the processing and adjudication of the most complex cases of high-profile corruption and organized and economic crime (HCOEC)

USAID is working to address some of the deficiencies in the processing and adjudication of HCOEC cases by both judges and prosecutors. For greater impact, the project will work with selected partner institutions – namely cantonal/district prosecutor offices and the corresponding courts in six geographical areas: Sarajevo, Tuzla, Zenica, Mostar, Bihać, and Banja Luka. USAID will also work with the Supreme Courts and prosecutor offices in the Federation BiH and Republika Srpska, particularly in areas in which processes and practices need to be harmonized.

USAID will implement specialized training and associated activities to harmonize practices and processes for HCOEC and to improve management of resources, quality of indictments and decisions, and public communication of the courts and prosecutor offices. 

  1. Preventing corrupt behavior within the justice sector itself

USAID will build on progress achieved under its previous justice project to prevent corrupt behavior within the justice sector. Associated activities in this area will continue to improve ethics and codes of conduct, implement integrity plans and strengthen integrity principles, and increase compliance with ethics regulations.

 

 

Last updated: October 13, 2021

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