Erik Larson was a participant in the third international conference of Justice for David, entitled “Anti-corruption campaign and raising public awareness about the work of the Prosecutor’s Office in Republika Srpska”. The conference was held on October 30, 2021 in the conference hall of the Hotel “Jelena” Jovana Dučića 25, Banja Luka, starting at 10:00.
As a part of the conference, Erik Larson gave a lecture on “Integrated investigations into corruption cases, including the role of the Republic of Srpska Prosecutor’s Office.” During the lecture, Mr. Larson pointed out that integrated investigations imply a holistic approach of the entire government and civil society, involving the police, prosecutors and governing bodies, the public and civil society, and open source resources with a primary focus on the use of administrative procedures. Larson emphasizes too much focus on prosecution, which is important but is only part of the process, which, as Mr. Larson points out, there is no need to wait for the purpose of initiating criminal proceedings. It is necessary to use administrative laws and procedures, and more active participation of human resources agencies. It is urgent to dismiss or administratively punish corrupt officials, ensure transparent work and annual contracts. Corruption in BiH, including the RS and the justice sector, is widespread and endemic. It is important to adopt a package of “integrity reforms” and to press the prosecutor’s office and courts to resolve cases efficiently and quickly at all levels. Civil society needs to “stop having relations with corrupt officials”. Every citizen should report corruption. The goal of every corrupt official is to “demotivate” citizens so that they do not act. Larson believes that power is in the hands of citizens implying elections, civic action, and the social isolation of corrupt elites. Larson addressed the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina directly and said that it was important that “false patriots” did not divert their focus from the fight against corruption. There is a use of ethnic nationalism to divert citizens ’focus from their own corruption. He emphasizes that an artificially created crisis is very common every time corruption is discovered, including corruption in the judiciary. It is very important to adopt and implement the Law on Prevention of Conflict of Interest of Bosnia and Herzegovina and thus the Law on Conflict of Interest of the Republic of Srpska. Larson emphasizes the responsibility of prosecutors and points out that prosecutors conduct reactive versus proactive investigations.
Examples of almost all prosecutors are the bad practices of “prosecutors in the office”. Is it the prosecutor’s job to process reports or conduct investigations? Prosecutors are massively conducting preliminary investigations against the initiated investigations. It is necessary to increase reporting on organized crime and corruption, which Justice for David, among other things, has certainly shown and contributed to.