Director for the Western Balkans at the Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission, Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, paid on Wednesday, 13 July 2016 her first visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina since her appointment as director.
Director Calavera co-chaired with BiH Justice Minister Josip Grubeša a Ministerial Meeting in the framework of the Structured Dialogue on Justice.
The meeting, attended by Deputy BiH Minister of Justice, Nezir Pivić, FBiH Minister of Justice, Mato Jozić, RS Minister of Justice, Anton Kasipović, President of the Judicial Commission of Brčko District BiH, Safet Pizović, and the President of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of BiH, Milan Tegeltija, focused on the state of play of the reform priorities in the judiciary, particularly the progress made in drafting the Law on BiH Courts.
Director Calavera welcomed the consolidated draft of the Law on BiH Courts prepared by the Working Group chaired by BiH Deputy Minister of Justice Pivić, and positively noticed that the options concerning the issue of criminal jurisdiction are closer than before, in particular thanks to the outcome at the meeting of ministers that took place in Banja Luka last March upon initiative of RS Minister of Justice Kasipović.
The draft was shared with the European Commission and assessed by EU expert. Director Calavera presented to the participants the findings of the EU expert legal analysis of the key features of the draft law. The legal analysis shows that, building on the elements of complementarity and convergence of the options on the table, it is possible to come with a sustainable solution – aiming at improving legal certainty and ensuring a better functioning of the state judiciary. Director Calavera concluded that it is now up to BiH proponents – under Justice Ministers’ political guidance – to reflect on the EU expert’s analysis and finalise the draft Law.
Participants also discussed the implementation of the National War Crimes Strategy. Director Calavera encouraged the authorities to update the Strategy, particularly with new deadline for completing the processing of the most complex war crimes cases and to reinforce the role of the Supervisory Body in monitoring the strategy’s implementation. Responsible institutions were also encouraged to adopt the Action Plan and set up the bodies in charge of monitoring the implementation of the Justice Sector Reform Strategy. Director Calavera was pleased to note that pending the adoption of the Action Plan, the implementation of some measures has started under the guidance of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, in particular measures in the areas of integrity, professionalism, accountability and efficiency of the justice system that are part of the Reform Agenda.
Director Calavera concluded this ministerial meeting with an exchange of views on future reforms of the rule of law, underlining that “the Structured Dialogue on Justice and the SAA Sub-Committee on Justice, Freedom and Security are complementary and mutually reinforcing processes“. The European Commission is equally keen on supporting BiH efforts, notably through financial assistance and expert advice.