POLITICS

Only four Verdicts for high-level Corruption in BiH

In 2021, 147 final verdicts for corruption offenses were passed in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), of which only four related to high-level corruption, according to data from the Corruption Prosecution Monitoring presented by Transparency International in BiH (TIBiH).

Despite BiH being one of the countries with the highest levels of corruption in Europe according to all relevant research, the judiciary has mainly dealt with small cases and low-ranking officials, while many major scandals have remained unanswered, TIBiH pointed out in a press release.

All prosecutor’s offices in BiH have filed a total of 235 indictments, of which only six or 2.5 percent relate to high-level corruption. One of them refers to the case of former Minister of Defense of BiH Selmo Cikotic, who is accused of a crime committed more than ten years ago, which additionally indicates untimely and inefficient prosecution of corruption in BiH,” it was said in the statement.

The data published by TIBiH on the Interactive Map of Corruption Prosecution show that the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH additionally reduced the already small number of indictments, and the Special Department for Suppression of Corruption, Organized and Severe Forms of Economic Crime at the Republika Srpska (RS) Republic Prosecutor’s Office did not succeed either.

The District Prosecutor’s Office in Istocno Sarajevo has had particularly devastating results for years, having filed the last indictment for corruption in 2018, and in the last seven years,the courts have passed only two convictions for corruption in the cases of this prosecutor’s office. The District Prosecutor’s Office in Trebinje has no better results, which did not file a single indictment for corruption last year. Only one was raised by the Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office of the Central Bosnia Canton, and only three verdicts for corruption were passed before the courts in this canton, and in all three cases the defendants were acquitted,” it was explained.

TIBiH warns that out of the total number of final court verdicts for corruption, 68 percent ended in probation because mostly small cases were processed, while only 41 verdicts (27.8 percent) refer to prison sentences.

At the same time, they state that more than half of criminal charges (57.3 percent) end with an order not to conduct an investigation, “and as these charges are filed not only by citizens but also by law enforcement agencies, it is clear that there is no adequate cooperation between these agencies and prosecutors.”

The recent monitoring of trials in these cases by a TIBiH sample showed that the average prison sentence for corruption in BiH was less than two years, even though the law provides for up to ten years in prison for corruption offenses.

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