Ethics and prevention of corruption training for judges of the Municipal Court in Sarajevo

Judges must always place public interest before private interest

Published on: September 28, 2018

"Preventing conflicts of interest in the judiciary implies that the public interest should always be at the forefront," International Ethics Expert Victoria Henley said today (September 28, 2018) in Sarajevo at a training event for judges of the Municipal Court in Sarajevo.

Henley explained that it is important that judgments in the judiciary are made independently and impartially, and that it is necessary to have objective controls for judges and prosecutors when it comes to conflict of interest, such as the filing of property cards and statements on existence of conflict of interest.

The training was attended by 40 participants who discussed, among other things, what is real, what is the potential, and what the alleged conflict of interest, how to take the necessary steps to prevent the conflict of interest, and the importance of continuous education in this area. Participants concluded that judges and prosecutors must always be careful in this regard, and identify, think about, and seek advice on ethical dilemmas in a timely manner.

"We are very proud that the Municipal Court in Sarajevo is the first court in Bosnia and Herzegovina where this kind of training for judges was delivered. Preventing conflicts of interest and giving public interests advantage over personal interests is crucial for preserving the integrity of the judiciary and strengthening public confidence in the judicial system," said the president of the Municipal Court in Sarajevo, Janja Jovanovic.

The training was based on the Guidelines for the Prevention of Conflict of Interest in the Judiciary adopted by the BiH High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) in July 2016. In this regard, participant talked about the incompatibility of certain activities with the duties of judges and prosecutors, property reports, receiving gifts, misuse of confidential information, ex parte communication, and nepotism.

This training was held as part of the implementation of measures aimed at improving integrity as defined in the Integrity Plan of the Municipal Court in Sarajevo. Integrity plans are preventive anti-corruption instruments aimed at reducing the risk of corrupt behavior, ethically and professionally unacceptable acts and other irregularities in the work of the judicial institution, and promotion of ethical behavior, accountability and professionalism in the judiciary.

The drafting of the Integrity Plan for the Municipal Court in Sarajevo and the organization of this training was supported by USAID's Justice Project in BiH.