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Tailor-made laws in the Western Balkans and Turkey

Amendments to the Law on Conflict of Interest - Tailor-made laws in the Western Balkans and Turkey

Amendments to the Law on Conflict of Interest

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Introduction

In 2013, amendments to the Law on Conflict of Interest changed the body supervising the law’s implementation from the Central Electoral Commission to the Special Parliamentary Commission for Deciding on Conflict of Interest.

Country
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sector
Public institutions

Description of the law

In 2013, amendments to the Law on Conflict of Interest changed the body supervising the law’s implementation from the Central Electoral Commission to the Special Parliamentary Commission for Deciding on Conflict of Interest.

Under the amendments, the new parliamentary commission consists of nine members: three members from the House of Representatives, three members from the House of Peoples (a minimum of one member must come from the opposition), and three members from the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption and Coordination of the Fight Against Corruption.

The commission decides by a qualified majority of six votes that must include at least two members from all three constituent peoples. This means that a decision requires both a majority and a national consensus, which makes decisions on conflict of interest a political issue rather than an impartial process. Because the commission is made up of members of parliament, the commission’s term in office is tied to the tenure of the sitting parliament.

The amendments do not define the experience or qualifications that commission members should have. As a result, the commission might have no members with a legal background able to decide whether the law has been breached.

Finally, the amendments contain provisions stipulating that both houses of parliament of BiH should approve the commission’s rules of procedure and other regulations. This puts the commission’s work and decision-making under the direct control and influence of political parties in the Parliament of BiH, according to Transparency International Bosnia and Herzegovina (see here). It also enables commission members to block the identification of a conflict of interest in cases involving fellow party colleagues and it brings into question the members’ impartiality (see here).