Schwarz-Schilling: Prosecutors and police must ensure that criminals face justice

In BiH’s fight against crime, “prosecutors and the police are the key links in the justice chain…neither can fulfil their purpose without the other – cooperation is a prerequisite for success”, the EU Special Representative, Christian Schwarz-Schilling told BiH police and prosecutors in Sarajevo today.

The EU Special Representative was speaking at a conference designed to develop cooperation between police and prosecutors, which was organised jointly by the EU Police Mission in BiH, the BiH Prosecutors Office, the BiH Ministry of Security and the EU Special Representative in BiH in Ilidza.

Describing Srebrenica as the worst example of the horrific crimes that took place in BiH, the EU Special Representative welcomed the fact that both Police and Prosecutors have undertaken to focus more of their resources on investigating such crimes. “The volume of cases…will make severe demands, but it is clear that war crimes have to be investigated and those responsible have to be charged”, Schwarz-Schilling said.

Just as the continued liberty of war criminals undermines the credibility of the justice system, so too does the inadequacy of penalties for some crimes, including financial crimes.

Calling for a speedy end to the present situation, which allows a criminal to retain the ill gotten gains, even after being convicted for his crimes, the EUSR called on the courts “to begin to apply the instruments available, such as asset seizure, provided for by recent legislation, to remove the incentives for financial crimes”.

Reforms in the Rule of Law sector have established professional standards in policing and prosecution and developed new institutions such as the State Border Police and SIPA. In addition, Bosnia and Herzegovina now has a State Court and modern Criminal Codes and Procedure Codes. “These are the tools; they have to be used”, the EUSR concluded.