Bosnia and Herzegovina has failed to comply with any of the 15 recommendations made by the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body GRECO, even though BiH, as a member of the Council of Europe, has been obliged to do so, said the GRECO Executive Secretary of the Group of Countries against Corruption (GRECO), Gianluca Esposito.
He stayed in BiH two years ago when he highlighted the problems related to corruption such as public procurement, corruption in the judiciary, but also the lack of a systemic law on conflicts of interest at the state level, but nothing has changed substantially since 2015 when the recommendations were issued.
“We check regularly, in the case of BiH, perhaps every year, we check that the authorities have complied with GRECO’s recommendations, and at this point, none of the recommendations we have given have been fully implemented,” Esposito explained in the interview for FENA agency.
Several areas are of particular concern to him, including the lack of a systemic law on conflict of interest at the state level, noting that it is of utmost importance to prevent corruption before it happens because when it happens, society as a whole is at a loss.
That is why it is important to resolve the conflict of interest problem before it becomes a problem, and GRECO has made very clear recommendations for BiH on this matter, but there is still no visible progress in this regard.
“It is a very risky area and as long as it is unregulated it leaves the door wide open for corruption in the public sector in general, but also in the political system. Therefore, this is an area that requires immediate attention,” Esposito emphasized.
The second area to be addressed is the entire judicial system. Esposito points out that if the judges cannot be trusted, then the question is who can be trusted at all.
Another issue that BiH urgently needs to address is the adoption of the Law on High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), and there has been no significant progress in this regard, but Esposito warns that there is a need for better implementation of the existing laws as well.
All this is needed to build confidence in judicial institutions, Esposito added, but also to ensure that judicial institutions are effective in practice and these are some things that will continue to be monitored in the future.
He announced that the situation in BiH regarding GRECO’s recommendations would be revised in a few months and that GRECO would publish its report, including the Report of the body of the Council of Europe’s for Anti-Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorist Activities (MONEYVAL). It is anticipated that this report would emphasize the same problems.
“BiH is obliged to implement the GRECO recommendations within the timeframe set by this body, bearing in mind that BiH has assumed such an obligation by becoming a member of the Council of Europe. Therefore, it is not a question of whether BiH authorities will do it, but when they will be implemented,” Esposito underlined./ibna