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Ministerial Meeting in the framework of the EU – Bosnia and Herzegovina Structured Dialogue

A Ministerial Meeting in the framework of the EU-BiH Structured Dialogue on Justice took place on September 10 in Brussels upon invitation by Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Mr Johannes Hahn. It was attended by Minister of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Josip Grubeša, of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr Mato Jozić, and of Republika Srpska, Mr Anton Kasipović, as well as by the President of the Brčko District Judicial Commission, Mr. Safet Pizović.

The meeting was an opportunity to take stock of the results achieved so far in the context of the Structured Dialogue, as well as to build consensus on reforms related to the functioning of the judicial system in BiH. Since the Structured Dialogue was launched in 2011, the European Commission has indeed supported BiH authorities to identify shortcomings in the current system and agree on possible solutions. The ultimate objective remains to consolidate the functioning of the judiciary at all levels throughout BiH, in line with the relevant European standards and acquis.

Following thorough and constructive discussion on the way forward, BiH authorities agreed to sign a protocol whereby they reiterated their strong commitment to the Structural Dialogue and agreed on pursuing, as priority matters, reforms of the state level judiciary (relevant to both the Court and Prosecutor Office of BiH) and the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council. An agreement was also reached to use technical assistance to finalise a sound reform package, which shall be developed within the parameters indicated in the various sets of recommendations issued by the European Commission and the Venice Commission.

Recalling the importance of the Structured Dialogue as the only viable process to enhance key reforms in the BiH judicial system, based on genuine ownership, Commissioner Hahn welcomed the signing of the Protocol.  ‘I welcome the commitment reiterated by the representatives of BiH and its Entities to work together on the key issues of the judicial reform,’ Commissioner Hah said. ‘The European Commission stands ready to actively supporting this process and I expect all sides to contribute to its successful implementation with a constructive approach. Our goal is to strengthen the independence, accountability, impartiality, professionalism and efficiency of the judicial system in line with the relevant European standards.’

Protocol signed at the Ministerial Meeting in the framework of the EU-BiH Structured Dialogue On Justice, 10 September 2015.: http://europa.ba/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Protocol-EN.pdf