Transparency International chapter in Bosnia and Herzegovina forced to suspend operations due to safety concerns
International anti-corruption movement deplores the situation and hopes for a resolution
Transparency International (TI) is deeply concerned about the safety of the staff of Transparency International Bosnia and Herzegovina (TI BiH), which was forced to temporarily close its office and suspend operations due to ongoing unwarranted and damaging attacks that have recently escalated with Prime Minister Dodik’s claims that staff of TI BiH are engaged in racketeering and organised crime.
“It is one of the few times in Transparency International’s history that a national chapter has been intimidated to the point of having to suspend operations. We are deeply concerned and saddened, and stand in solidarity with our colleagues in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Cobus de Swardt, Managing Director, Transparency International.
Following a meeting with the European Union Police Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Board of Directors of TI BiH, in an emergency meeting, decided to temporarily suspend the chapter’s operations and evacuate the staff from the office. The EUPM pledged to monitor developments, in the absence of any meaningful local police protection.
The ongoing public accusations against the only independent anti-corruption watchdog in the country and the leading NGO combating corruption provides an accurate landscape of Bosnia and Herzegovina today: a very dangerous place for voices of criticism calling for accountability and transparency in the work of the ruling powers. Despite progress made, it is still practically impossible for anti-corruption watchdogs to operate in the country.
TI hopes that the rule of law will prevail and that these accusations will be handled by an independent judiciary in the Republika Srpska in full accordance with principles of due process and impartiality; and we believe firmly that such intimidations, with their implicit threat of legal action, are unacceptable in any country or entity based on democracy and the rule of law.
On Wednesday 09 July, the Principal Deputy High Representative provided evidence to the BiH Chief Prosecutor suggesting that the Republika Srpska executive establishment was planning accusations against TI BiH late in 2007. It took some months until the action was put in motion and today, the staff of TI BiH lives in an extremely uncertain environment.
Transparency International is the civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.
- Transparency Deutschland fordert Sicherheitsgarantien für die bosnische Schwesterorganisation
- Human Rights Watch speaks out on TI BiH: Protect Civil Society From Harassment
- Office of the High Representative press release: Gregorian met with acting BiH Chief Prosecutor Milorad Barasin
See TI’s previous statement here.
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