Applying for a Job without Passing the Bar

Nedim Ćosić was appointed as an expert assistant with the Municipal Court in Sarajevo even though, at the time he applied for the job, he hadn’t taken the bar exam -- one of the position’s key requirements.

Nedim Ćosić (Foto: USSBiH)

Nedim Ćosić—son of Šesenam Ćosić, the Chief Prosecutor in Tuzla Canton—was appointed as an expert assistant in the Municipal Court of Sarajevo in July 2007, although he had not taken the bar exam at the time applied for the job.

This was one of the four necessary requirements that candidates for the position had to meet in order to even be considered for the job, which is a pathway to a carrier in the courts. Other requirements included holding a law degree, being a BiH citizen, and proving to be intellectually and physically able to perform judicial or prosecutorial duties.

The vacancy notice was published in late February 2007. It read that untimely and incomplete applications would not be taken into consideration. After the application period was closed 15 days later, the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) published on its website the list of applicants that did not include Ćosić.

Nevertheless, his name is mentioned on the HJPC”s internal list of the candidates for the position at the Municipal Court in Sarajevo. According to the list, Ćosić had passed the Bar Exam on 29 March 2007, two weeks after the application period was closed.

He was appointed as an associate assistant to the court in early July, along with 12 other candidates. Six of his peers have not been appointed, though they have met the requirements.

Was It or Was It Not Permitted

Sadeta Krilašević, šefica Odjela za imenovanja VSTV-a

HJPC was in charge of the appointing process. Sadeta Krilašević, head of the Appointment Department, said that if he had not met the requirements, his application could not have been taken into consideration. But she added that it was a common practice to phone the candidates who had not provided the complete documentation, and to give them several more days to complete the process.

Two commission members who interviewed Ćosić said that they did not have information about whether some candidates had not met the requirements. Their job was simply to interview them.

Mladen Jurišić, president of the Cantonal Court in Mostar who presided over the commission, told CIN that it was possible that some candidates were accepted with incomplete applications, but only if it concerned the number of years of experience they had.

“There’s no way that he did not meet some of the major requirements. As far as I recall, that could not be,” said Jurišić.

Zahid Kovač, a lawyer contracted by HJPC who interviewed Ćosić, said that he would argue against interviewing a candidate who did not meet the requirements if he had known that was the case.

“If I had in front of me someone without the exam or who had no qualifications for a judge or an expert assistant, no way. Such application would not have been taken into account, it is incomplete and is thrown out and should not be invited for an interview,” said Kovač.

Goran Salihović, predsjednik Općinskog suda u Sarajevu je uskratio pristup informacijama novinaru CIN-a.
Foto: OSS

The third member of the commission was Goran Salihović, the president of the Municipal Court in Sarajevo. He refused to talk with CIN reporters about this issue. Although Salihović originally granted a reporter access to the court employee’s records, he later revoked access to the documents. The reporter received no explanation for why he was denied access, nor has the court responded to the renewed request.

Ćosić refused to be interviewed but sent e-mail stating he met all the requirements.

CIN spoke to five of the six candidates who were not appointed. Four of them were given positions with the attorney general’s offices, where the appointment process is not run by HJPC.

They all said that they were not aware that one could apply with an incomplete application and said that they would not apply had they not met all the requirements.

Samka Zuban, an attorney general with the Canton of Sarajevo, said she was disappointed at not being appointed at the time. “I thought that HJPC was faultless.”

She added that she had filed an appeal with the HJPC and she sought access to the application documents, but was denied.

Prior to his appointment as an associate, Ćosić worked as an intern at the court. He was hired at the beginning of March 2006.

Since May 2008, Ćosić has served as president of the Association of advisers and expert assistants in the courts and prosecutor’s offices in BiH.

Objavljeno: 24.6.2011. godine

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Correction:

In the story titled “Applying for a Job without Passing the Bar” CIN said that Šesenam Ćosić was a former judge of the Court of BiH. Ćosić applied for the office but he was never appointed. CIN is sorry about this error.

The reaction from the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (in Bosnian) can be read here.

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