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News Flash - 31 January 2007

The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) publishes report on Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Council of Europeís Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has published today its Second Round Evaluation Report on Bosnia and Herzegovina (link to report). The report is made public with the agreement of the authorities.

Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to make substantial amendments to its criminal legislation and the organisation of the judicial and prosecutorial systems to combat corruption. That said, there is a clear need to enforce the new legal framework and this calls for improved coordination, effective cooperation and extensive training of the agencies involved in the detection, investigation and prosecution of corruption.

While significant efforts have been made in recent years to counter corruption through repressive mechanisms, the authorities are currently putting in place a number of measures of a more preventive character, including the adoption of legislation ensuring public access to official documents, the development of a Strategy for the Fight against Corruption and Organised Crime, the launching of public administration reform, etc. Implementation and regular monitoring of the afore-mentioned measures remains crucial for an effective fight against corruption.

GRECO recommends, inter alia, further improvements with respect to efficient monitoring of the implementation of the anti-corruption strategy and its action plan by an independent body, ethics training for public officials, review of financial declarations and protection of civil servants reporting suspicions of corruption. Turning to the registration of legal persons, GRECO stresses that it mirrors the fragmented manner of governance at State, Entity and Canton levels. Registration is therefore a weak instrument for controlling and preventing legal persons from involvement in corruption and other illegal activity. The introduction of corporate liability is commendable; however, the provision of specific training to investigators, prosecutors and judges would contribute to improving the effectiveness of the existing legal framework. There is finally a need for greater collaboration with professionals in the private sector (e.g. auditors, accountants), to encourage and assist them in meeting their obligation to report corruption.

Measures taken by Bosnia and Herzegovina to implement these recommendations will be addressed by GRECO in the context of a specific compliance procedure in the second half of 2008.