The American Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina expressed concern about the changes in the Rules of Procedure of the HJPC that were adopted on January 17th. In the press release, they state that the changes in Article 4, which regulates the way of including ethnic and gender balance in the selection process for positions in the HJPC, represent a big step backwards. The random drawing system referred to in Article 4 provided an important element of impartiality in the selection process.
“The system adopted by the HJPC instead of drawing lots opens up space for discrimination, including discrimination by freezing the current ethnic and gender balance in the Council. This guarantees that the current members can apply for a second term and reduces the chances of electing candidates who do not meet the fixed ethnic and gender conditions that favor the current members of the HJPC,” it is stated.
The American Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a long-standing partner of the BiH authorities in the judicial reform process, joins partners from the international community and warns the HJPC that these changes could increase the possibility of corrupt activities and create the impression that HJPC members are manipulating procedures for personal interests.
“It is an unfortunate circumstance that, in a period when the HJPC is expected to implement reforms and increase the integrity of the judiciary and help restore public trust, some members of the HJPC make decisions that even more influence the formation of negative public perceptions of the HJPC and the judiciary in a wider context. The American Embassy therefore calls on the HJPC to change that decision. We acknowledge a small number of members of the HJPC, led by President Lagumdžija, who worked to strengthen the integrity of the judiciary in accordance with international standards by voting against that wrong decision,” the American Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina stated today.