Joint statement of the Ministerial meeting in the framework of the EU-BiH Structured Dialogue on Justice

Director for Western Balkans at the European Commission, Mr Jean-Eric Paquet, co-chaired a ministerial meeting in the framework of the EU-Bosnia and Herzegovina Structured Dialogue on Justice. The meeting was co-chaired by the Minister of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Josip Grubeša. The meeting was attended also by the Ministers of Justice of the Entities, Mr Mato Jozić for the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Mr Anton Kasipović for Republika Srpska, as well as by the President of the Brčko District Judicial Commisison, Mr. Safet Pizović. The meeting was concluded with the adoption of a joint statement:

“The European Commission requested to engage with relevant ministers in the framework of the EU-BiH Structured Dialogue on Justice, with the objective to review progress, but also operation, agenda, format and perspectives for reform of the judiciary. The request to engage in a restricted fashion with representatives of executive authorities was made in the backdrop of the entry into force of the SAA, and also of the recent decision of the BiH Council of Ministers on the working arrangements and chairmanship of the Structured Dialogue.

Overall, there is agreement and consensus on continuing and intensifying work within the Structured Dialogue on Justice and refocus it on the key items related to war crimes cases processing and institutional reform of the state level judiciary, which were those priority issues that determined the kick off of the dialogue. The broader set of items related to other aspects of the functioning of the judiciary will be addressed in the framework of the subcommittee meeting on Justice, Home Affairs and Security.

The Structured Dialogue on Justice is place for debate and consensus building to develop key reforms needed for the country; however, final decision making lies obviously with relevant executive and legislative authorities from BiH.

Ministers shall continue playing a pivotal role in the platform, but their work shall be continuously informed by practitioners, academia and international experts.

We looked at procedures and participations to streamline efficiency of this platform.

The European Commission took positively note of the ambition amongst BiH authorities at state, entities, and Brčko District levels to move forward on judiciary reform.

A joint working agenda and plan shall be finalised in the coming days.

Preliminary exchanges on the state of play of key matters and reform perspectives also took place.”

In the afternoon, selected updates were discussed in relation to war crimes backlog and processing, in particular in the frame of the EU budgetary support, as well as to immediate priorities in the work of the HJPC with Chair of the Supervisory Body for implementation of the National War Crimes Strategy, Mr. Milorad Novkovic and the President of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council Mr. Milan Tegeltija.