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19 Judges and Prosecutors Faced Disciplinary Actions In Past Year

The Disciplinary Commissions of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) have penalized judges and prosecutors with salary reductions and public reprimands for delays and negligence in their work, behaviour damaging to the reputation of their offices, providing inaccurate data in financial forms and public spaces, as well as failure to report fees.
U prošloj godini disciplinski kažnjeno 19 sudija i tužilaca
Foto: Dženat Dreković (CIN)

In 2023, the Disciplinary Commissions of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HJPC BiH) concluded disciplinary proceedings against 23 judges and prosecutors. Ten of them received salary reductions, nine received public reprimands, and disciplinary charges against four were dismissed due to lack of established liability.

Among those penalized are the heads of judicial institutions: Dragan Tomaš, President of the Basic Court of Brčko District; Mato Kulaš, President of the District Commercial Court in Doboj; and Sabina Sarajlija, Chief Prosecutor of the Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office in Sarajevo

Tomaš was penalized with a public reprimand for unjustified delays in issuing judgments in three cases. Kulaš, due to similar oversights and marking cases as completed when they were not, received a 15% salary reduction for six months. Sarajlija received a public reprimand for re-assigning cases, thus enabling a prosecutor to gain points for the quality of indictments.

There were also repeat offenders who had previously faced disciplinary proceedings: Gordana Tadić, a prosecutor at the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Saša Jovanović, a prosecutor at the Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office in Sarajevo. According to the disciplinary committee’s assessment, Tadić posted inaccurate content on the social media platform Facebook, which led to a 30% salary reduction for one year. Jovanović committed multiple infractions, including negligence and carelessness in the performance of official duties, providing false information regarding job applications, and behavior damaging to the reputation of the prosecutorial function. He received a 20% salary reduction for six months.

Gordana Tadić Disciplined For Her Facebook Status
The HJPC disciplined the BiH prosecutor Gordana Tadić with a 30 percent salary cut for one year due to inappropriate status on the social network.

Based on the information disclosed in disciplinary proceedings decisions, the most common cases involved judges and prosecutors being disciplined for unjustified delays and negligence in their work. However, there were also other violations, such as providing inaccurate data in financial forms submitted to the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), as well as undisclosed freelance work.

In a specific instance, Judge Osman Alibabić from the Cantonal Court in Bihać was sanctioned with a 10% salary reduction for six months for publishing judgments with differing court decisions. While serving on the Appeals Panel in a criminal case involving evading a sentence, he forwarded a decision to the first-instance court stating that the accused was found guilty. However, the Panel decided to acquit the accused. During the disciplinary proceedings, he attempted to shift the blame onto his colleagues who were practicing and preparing judgments with differing court decisions, claiming that this resulted in the incorrect judgment being sent to the first-instance court.

The disciplinary committee dismissed disciplinary charges against four judges, concluding there was no liability on their part. Among them were Judges Dženana Škaljić from the Municipal Court in Sarajevo and Sanela Rondić from the Cantonal Court in Sarajevo. They were accused of issuing rulings allowing the sale of property that was under a prohibition due to an ongoing criminal proceeding.

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The disciplinary complaint against Aida Hanušić, the president of the Basic Court in Bijeljina, was dismissed. The Office of the Disciplinary Counsel had accused Hanušić of personally assigning cases to specific judges based on the parties involved in the proceedings, without utilizing the Case Management System (CMS). Additionally, the case against Suad Kurtović, a judge of the Supreme Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was also dismissed. Kurtović had entered a decision into the CMS that was not intended for public access.

Until April 2023, there were no provisions in place to prevent the advancement of judicial officeholders after they had been disciplined. However, amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) were enacted in the meantime. Under these changes, candidates, whether judges or prosecutors are ineligible for appointment to a vacant position in the judiciary for a period ranging from one to eight years following a final disciplinary decision. These rules apply to judges and prosecutors who have been subjected to disciplinary measures such as reprimand, salary reduction, demotion to a lower position, or dismissal from service.

The High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) informs the public about disciplinary proceedings through its website, but without disclosing the names of the disciplined judicial officeholders.

To offer the public a comprehensive overview of disciplinary sanctions, the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN) has compiled a database containing 282 disciplinary decisions from 2010 to the end of 2023. This database includes the names of judges, prosecutors, and expert associates, as well as the institutions where they were employed at the time, descriptions of the violations, and the final decisions.

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