Judges Restituted While Others Wait in Lawsuit against the West Herzegovina Canton

Six judges from the Municipal and Cantonal Court in Široki Brijeg were restituted in 2010 over decreased paychecks, holiday entitlements and meal money owed to them by the West Herzegovina Canton. Other claimants including prosecutors, clerks, typists, janitors, drivers, accountants, execution officers and archive clerks have – are four years waiting to be restituted. The Cantonal Court officials explained that the judges were the first to be paid because their case was ruled first.

A Mostar-based UniCredit Bank is charged with the execution of the ruling by paying out the claimants from an account of the West Herzegovina Canton.

As the Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) learned, the bank pays out the restitution according to a list of claimants and the availability of the money at the account. So far, there’s more judgments than available money. Some payments have been due for as much as five years.

Sixteen employees of the Municipal Court in Široki Brijeg have been waiting since mid-2008 to receive 43.544 KM in dues minus interest from the Canon’s budget. Three months ago, they complained of payment discrimination to the Cantonal government and cited the case of judges. After that, they held a meeting with the officials from the Cantonal Ministry of Finances, but to no avail.

From August 2005 through the end of 2007, the employees at the Municipal Court in Široki Brijeg and the Cantonal Court of West Herzegovina Canton received decreased salaries, vacation allowance and meal money in comparison to what they were entitled according to the Law on the Civil Servants in the FBiH.

During this time period their contributions were paid according to a 1998 Law on Labor Relations and Civil Servants Salaries at the FBiH Institutions that was in effect until 2005 when the new law was passed. Based on the law, the employees of judicial institutions sued the canton and the Cantonal Court in Široki Brijeg ruled in their favor in 2008.