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Judge Radmila Mandić Disciplined for Plagiarizing Verdict

Radmila Mandić, a judge at the Municipal Court in Široki Brijeg, received a 10 percent salary reduction for four months due to multiple violations, including copying portions of another judge's verdict in a ruling against CIN.
Radmila Mandić, a judge at the Široki Brijeg Municipal Court (Photo: Dženat Dreković / CIN)

The First Instance Disciplinary Commission of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HJPC BiH) has sanctioned Radmila Mandić, a judge at the Municipal Court in Široki Brijeg, by reducing her salary by 10 percent for a period of four months. This decision is now final.

The Disciplinary Commission’s decision states that Judge Mandić „carelessly performed her official duties by issuing a verdict that copied parts of the reasoning from another verdict. As a result, the verdict contained content unrelated to the case at hand and did not pertain to the facts established in the proceedings.“

The decision of the First Instance Disciplinary Commission of the HJPC noted that these details had been previously reported by multiple daily newspapers, thus eroding public confidence in the judiciary and its integrity.

As a reminder, in early December 2023, Judge Mandić delivered a preliminary verdict ordering the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIN) to pay BAM 4,000 in damages to Lager from Posušje for defamation, and to remove the articles „Lager’s Faulty Goods“ and „Stockpiling Concessions“ from its website, which shed light on the company’s business operations.

Široki Brijeg Court Holds CIN Liable For Defamation Over Reporting By Another Media Outlet
The Municipal Court in Široki Brijeg has issued a first-instance judgment ordering the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN) to pay damages to the company Lager for defamation related to the allegations presented in texts by Žurnal. In three months, Široki Brijeg courts have delivered three verdicts in favor of the company from Posušje against various media outlets.

Except for the brief overview of the text which was the subject of Lager’s lawsuit, Judge Mandić referred in the larger part of her decision to content that CIN had not even published.

Trying to make sense of a series of unclear and illogical statements from the judgment, the CIN editorial team compared these three judgments and discovered that Judge Mandić to a significant extent copied the judgment of Judge Snježana Parlain, who handled cases against Inforadard and Žurnal, whose conclusions ended up in the CIN judgment.

During the disciplinary proceedings, Mandić admitted to copying sections of the judgment from her colleague Snježana Parlain, who had presided over the case Lager vs. Žurnal five months earlier, and before that in the case Lager vs. Inforadar.

„It was a slip-up“, Mandić responded when questioned by disciplinary prosecutor Dejana Bojanić about whether she had read the verdict after writing it.

Copying Judgment Was a Slip-Up! Said Judge Mandić
Judge Radmila Mandić from the Municipal Court in Široki Brijeg confirmed during the hearing before the Disciplinary Commission of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina that she had copied a portion of someone else's judgment into the verdict against CIN, calling it a „slip-up“.

The Office of Disciplinary Council (ODC) opened the case on its initiative after CIN released an article on the subject, accusing Judge Mandić of the disciplinary breach of „neglect or carelessness in the execution of official duties“.

Apart from copying part of the verdict in the CIN case, the judge made three other errors in carrying out her official duties. These errors comprised delays in decision-making and procedural mistakes while serving on the council. These matters have been combined into a single disciplinary proceeding.

It was determined that she had committed disciplinary offenses of “making decisions that blatantly contravene the law or persistently and unjustifiably violate procedural rules” and “unjustified delays in issuing decisions or in other actions related to the performance of judicial duties or any other repeated failure to uphold the responsibilities of a judge.”

Lager’s faulty goods
Justice institutions are investigating the operations of the company Lager from Posušje due to deals worth around four million BAM. The company has been suspected of delivering altered machines to customers instead of new ones.
Stockpiling concessions
By favoring of authorities, the company Lager from Posušje was awarded concessions for the exploitation of natural resources in BiH, but it does not fully honor its obligations and it owes concession fees.

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