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CIN Wins its 16th Verdict Against Institutions

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina found that the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina did not follow due process, and ordered them to reconsider the CIN’s request for access to information.

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina ruled in favor of the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN) in the administrative dispute against the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

The court found that the Prosecutor’s Office “infringed the procedural rules, which affected the legality of their decision”, so it annulled the decision refusing access to information from March 2021, and sent the case back for reconsideration.

Based on the Freedom of Access to Information Act (FOIA) reporters asked for information about indictments and investigations against a group of people, but the Prosecutor’s Office refused their request.

The Prosecutor’s Office claimed that it was personal data, although similar information about the indictments has been published on this institution’s official website for years.

In rendering their decision, they failed to take into account the factor of public interest, since the request pertained to individuals who hold important positions in society.

Therefore, CIN sued the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina for not following due process when deciding on the request.

This is the 16th verdict in favor of this media organization in the fight to obtain information of public importance.

Through these rulings, courts around the country have been drawing the attention of institutions for a decade about the need to follow due process when refusing requests, i.e., to conduct a public interest test and prove unequivocally that the data under their control must not be disclosed to the public.

Of these, in three cases it was the judicial institutions that failed to comply with the Freedom of Access to Information Act.

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