Report from the third international conference “Justice for David”

“Anti-corruption campaign and raising public awareness of the work of the Prosecutor’s Office in the Republic of Srpska”

October the 30th 2021
Hotel “Jelena” Banja Luka

“Anti-corruption campaign and raising public awareness about the work of the Prosecutor’s Office in the Republic of Srpska” was the topic of the third international conference of the citizens’ association “The Path of Justice” Banja Luka and the association “Justice for David and all children in Bosnia and Herzegovina” from Vienna, Austria. The conference was held on October the 30th 2021. in the conference hall of the Hotel “Jelena” Jovana Dučića 25, Banja Luka, starting at 10:00.

Citizens’ Association “The Path of Justice” Banja Luka was founded in 2019 by human rights activists “Justice for David”. Some of its goals are: creating an institutional environment for a final solution to the murder of David Dragicevic and all unsolved crimes in BiH, promoting the rule of law and advocating for the harmonization of the laws of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the laws of the European Union, promoting civic activism, educating members of the Association on laws, citizens’ rights and protection of human rights and freedoms, educating citizens on their rights to participate in changes to the system. in the function of the citizens themselves, cooperation with international organizations and organizations throughout the EU in the direction of achieving the goals of the Association, raising public and society awareness of civic activism and the importance of citizen participation in creating the system in which they live, promoting the right to access information important to citizens, performing all ancillary activities in the direction realization of the goals of the Association.

The conference is part of a public awareness campaign on the work of the prosecution, supported by the USDA, the United States Agency for International Development, and is part of a broader project “Supporting Citizens in Fighting Corruption” implemented by Centers for Civil Initiatives (CCI) as an implementer with partner organizations Transparency International in Bosnia and Herzegovina (TI BiH) and the Center for Media Development and Analysis (CRMA). The content of the research and conference presented is the responsibility of the “Path of Justice” Association and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government. Also, all subsequent presentations and further discussion represent exclusively the views of the organizers.

The conference participants were Davor Dragicevic, Justice for David activist from Banja Luka, Diana Radović from the Center for Civil Initiatives in Sarajevo, Erik Larson, international prosecutor and anti-corruption expert, Sarajevo Anti-Corruption Office, Dejan Lucka, from the Banja Luka Center for human rights, Ozren Perduv, “Justice for David” Activist, president of the political party “Movement of Justice”, Ifet Feraget, lawyer, Zana Gauk, journalist, Journalinfo, Srdjan Blagovčanin, Transparency International BiH, the panel discussion was moderated by Prof. dr. Danijela Majstorovic, University of Banja Luka, then representatives of the citizens’ association “The Path of Justice” Banja Luka and numerous Justice activists for David.

Participation in the conference was possible via Zoom and live streaming via social media channels. The conference was attended online by over ten thousand visitors.
In his introductory speech, Davor Dragicevic made a chronological overview of all his activities aimed at the prosecution during 2018. As Davor Dragicevic points out on March the 30th 2018, Sasa Labotic, then prosecutor in the Banja Luka District Prosecutor’s Office, forwarded the indictment, which was allegedly filed on February the 28th for confirmation against murdered David Dragicevic. The indictment was made after the accused David Dragicevic was brutally killed and his body was found on March the 23th 2018. The indictment was withdrawn on April the 27th 2018, based on the Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Srpska in agreement with the Chief District Prosecutor Zelimir Lepir.

As Dragicevic further states, on June the 14th 2018, he received a response from the Chief Republic Prosecutor Mahmut Svraka. The response signed by the Chief Republic Prosecutor Mahmut Švraka states, among other things, that “the Banja Luka District Public Prosecutor’s Office and the prosecutors of that prosecutor’s office, in this particular case, undertook a series of pre-investigation actions in order to establish all relevant facts and circumstances.” therefore, it would not be expedient or justified to exclude the case from the work of the District Public Prosecutor’s Office of Banja Luka, nor to exclude the case from the work of the already acting prosecutorial team “.
On June the 15th 2018, Davor Dragicevic submitted a request to the District Public Prosecutor’s Office to initiate a disciplinary process and dismiss Sasa Labotic and initiate disciplinary proceedings against Zelimir Lepir and Mahmut Svraka.

As can be seen from the introductory speech, Davor Dragicevic exhausted all legal and other means in order to communicate with the District Public Prosecutor’s Office Banja Luka, which unfortunately did not give any results. Davor submitted various requests, publicly lobbied and pointed out all the problems of the work of the prosecution at the local level precisely through the case of the brutal murder of his son David Dragicevic.

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.

During the plenary lecture given by Jelena Marjanović, Justice for David activist, project activities of the anti-corruption campaign and raising public awareness about the work of the Prosecutor’s Office in Republic of Srpska and the research “Knowledge of the Prosecutor’s Office, degree of institutional trust and perception of corruption” – Marjanović, J. , M.Sc; Grmusa, S., B.Sc; Ostojic, R., & Ivic, M. The goal is to raise citizens’ awareness of the inadequate work of the judiciary, pointing out the possibilities through which citizens can act, which would result in greater involvement of civil society in this problem and ultimately establishing more adequate work of the prosecution. justice. The specific goals include involving as many citizens as possible in these activities, continuing the informal work of Justice for David through formal activities, reducing corruption in the work of the prosecution, animating the wider community about the importance of corruption and organized crime in the prosecution, involving young people in these activities and media promotion .

The campaign was successfully implemented in 8 cities. All the stands in all cities were very well attended, the citizens reacted positively, the frequently asked question was: “How can you speak so publicly, how are you not afraid?” and etc. The ctivists explained all the problems of the prosecution’s work through the murder of David Dragicevic. Informative material was distributed at the stands, as well as organizing the filling in of the petition and answering the questions of the survey for the purpose of qualitative and quantitative research, the results of which were presented at the conference.
As Jelena Marjanović points out, the research contains a qualitative analysis of the number of unsolved murders, 20 unsolved murders are described in detail, concluding that the District Public Prosecutor’s Offices did not act in order to initiate adequate investigations, but covered-up crimes or the investigations were suspended. The arbitrariness and criminal behavior of prosecutors is very noticeable.
The research examined the concept of general information about the Prosecutor’s Office as a judicial institution, trust in the institution of the Prosecutor’s Office of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the perception of corruption in the work of this institution. The survey covered 256 citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. A total of 48.8% of female respondents and 51.2% of male respondents were surveyed. We conducted the research in the period from April to September 2021. In the research part of the paper, a questionnaire designed for the needs of the research was used, which consists of 30 questions. The first 4 questions refer to the socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents, mostly of the closed type. Other questions are designed to examine the level of general information and trust in the institution of the Prosecutor’s Office of the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina as perceptions of corruption in the work of this institution. SPSS statistical software was used for data processing. To describe the sample with respect to numerical variables, measures of mean and standard deviations were calculated, as well as frequencies of responses for categorical variables. In order to test the set hypotheses, a correlation was used to check the differences on the achieved scores. Spearman’s and Pearson’s correlations were made and the degree of statistical significance was calculated.

The results show that there is a positive correlation between the examined variables of institutional trust and knowledge of the work of the prosecution, statistically significant at the level of 0.05 (r-, 138, p <.05). Spearman’s correlation coefficient for variables of degree of institutional trust and perception of corruption. There is a negative correlation between the examined variables of institutional trust and the perception of corruption, which is not statistically significant (r- -.024 p <.70). Such results show that citizens have less trust in institutions if they gain greater insight into the corrupt activities of this institution. In order to generalize these results to the general population, further research on the same topic is needed. Negative correlation is present on the items of corruption in the work of the District Public Prosecutor’s Office and the items of the position of prosecutors statistically significant at the level of 0.01 (r- -.218, p <.01), which implies that citizens think that a high level of corruption is present in the District Public Prosecutor’s Office, because the positions of prosecutors include individuals of dubious morals and with a criminal past. Such results are also in line with the pilot research where it was shown that citizens believe that there are individuals in the positions of prosecutors in judicial institutions who are linked to organized crime and corruption. Out of the total number of surveyed citizens (N – 256), 69% believe that such individuals are in the positions of prosecutors.
Pearson’s correlation coefficient for variables of perception of corruption and knowledge of the work of the prosecution. There is a positive correlation between the examined variables of corruption perception and knowledge of the work of the prosecution, which is statistically significant at the level of 0.05 (r- -.158 p <.05). These results show that those citizens who are better informed about the activities of the prosecution are at the same time citizens who have a greater insight into the corrupt activities of this institution. Based on the results of the examination, we can conclude that the hypotheses of the research have been confirmed and that it is clear to citizens that there is a high degree of corruption in the prosecution but they do not have enough self-initiative to act on this problem.
A panel presentation on the topic “Knowledge of the work of the Prosecutor’s Office, the degree of institutional trust and perceptions of corruption was given by Sofija Grmusa and Merlina Ivic, president and vice president of the citizens’ association “The Path of Justice” Banja Luka. As Merlina Ivic points out, the examined citizens believe that due to the unregulated work of the prosecutor’s office, the presence of nepotism, corruption, and primarily politics, there is a conscious and deliberate obstruction of investigations.
Citizens believe that the prosecutor is not subject to criminal or any other responsibility if he intentionally obstructs the investigation and that they are not responsible for that. The results of the analyzes imply that citizens who have used the services of the police, the prosecutor’s office and the court to a greater extent in the last 10 years also consider that the prosecutor’s office works inadequately and does not bear any sanctions for such actions.
As Merlina explains, more pronounced distrust in the institution of the prosecution implies a higher degree of perception of corruption in the work of this institution. Citizens are not instructed in the manner of reporting and sanctioning non-professional prosecutors and do not know enough about the procedure for reporting to the office of the disciplinary prosecutor. It is not entirely clear to the surveyed citizens what the Office of the Disciplinary Prosecutor deals with, what its competencies are and how reporting to this institution is carried out in general. Citizens do not know the competencies of the office of the disciplinary prosecutor or the reporting procedure. Citizens believe that there is a great abuse of office in the prosecutor’s office in the process of deliberate obstruction of investigations, and that this is due to the involvement of political actors and that no responsibility is borne for such actions, and sanctions for such actions of prosecutors do not exist.

Sofija Grmusa points out that the reason for this situation is in the office of the disciplinary prosecutor, which is the only measure to punish unscrupulous and unprofessional prosecutors, where there is also a high degree of corruption and unprofessionalism, which is confirmed by the correlations of our research. These results indicate that citizens who are better informed about the work of the prosecutor’s office, who are interested in the activities of this institution and who follow the work of the prosecutor’s office are also citizens who believe that there is a high level of corruption and abuse of office in the District Public Prosecutor’s Office. These results indicate that the surveyed citizens were informed about the presence of corruption in the office of the disciplinary prosecutor, but did not know the systemic mechanisms of action in this direction. Once again, the results show that the citizens are not clear about the sanctioning procedures or the directions through which applications are submitted.

The results of our research indicate that the citizens have a clear knowledge of the dynamic and connection between corrupt practices and non-prosecution of crimes due to the presence of corruption. A certain percentage of citizens know to whom the inadequate work of the prosecutor’s office is reported, but they believe that there is abuse in the work of these parts of the judiciary and that these reports will have no effect. A small percentage of respondents who are adequately informed are aware of the alarming level of corruption in this institution as well. The results of our research are in line with the general problem of the judiciary of Bosnia and Herzegovina and information coming from a neutral and impartial side such as Reinhard Priebe’s report. One of the reasons for such a catastrophic situation in prosecutorial institutions is the lack of coordination and cooperation among participants in the criminal justice system (i.e. law enforcement agencies, prosecutor’s offices and competent courts at all levels in Bosnia and Herzegovina). (Report of experts on the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brussels, December the 5th 2019).
The presence of representatives of the executive and the legislature in the judicial regulatory body opens up space for additional political influence over the judiciary. The influence of the representatives of the executive and legislative power in the work of the prosecutor’s office is especially problematic, because the local prosecutor’s office is the first step in initiating an adequate investigation and sanctioning of crimes, and this first stage does not function adequately, thus disrupting the entire further process. The key issue of the presence of the ruling political factors in the work of the judicial institution of the prosecution is the main problem which further complicates and complicates the complete functioning of the prosecution, which results in non-punishment of crimes and lack of justice.
In conclusion, the president and vice president of the citizens’ association “The Path of Justice” Banja Luka emphasized that citizens who are better informed about the activities of the prosecution are at the same time citizens who have a greater insight into the corrupt activities of this institution. While the degree and level of corrupt actions in the prosecutor’s offices is clear to the citizens, they are not ready to openly oppose and act against certain negative phenomena in the prosecutor’s office. It is clear that this is a consequence of the subservient culture which is a consequence of structural conditioning. These deeply ingrained structures in the consciousness of citizens are one of the main reasons for insufficient engagement and anti-corruption activities. So we believe that in the Republic of Srpska and in Bosnia and Herzegovina there is a lot of room for raising awareness and civic culture to a higher level, which will lead to greater anti-corruption action, strengthening democracy and human rights in the country and overall prosperity. Citizens are not instructed in the manner of reporting and sanctioning non-professional prosecutors and do not know enough about the procedure for reporting to the office of the disciplinary prosecutor. It is not entirely clear to the citizens what the Office of the Disciplinary Prosecutor deals with, what its competencies are and how reporting to this institution is carried out in general. Citizens do not fully know the responsibilities of the disciplinary prosecutor’s office or the reporting procedure. There is a lack of coordination and cooperation among the participants in the criminal justice system in the institutions of the prosecution. The quality of many criminal investigations is very low. In some cases, prosecutors do not prosecute even when there is evidence to that effect. The influence of the representatives of the executive and legislative power in the work of the prosecutor’s office is especially problematic, because the local prosecutor’s office is the first step in initiating an adequate investigation and sanctioning of crimes, and this first stage does not function adequately, thus disrupting the entire further process. The key issue of the presence of the ruling political factors in the work of the judicial institution of the prosecution is the main problem which further complicates and complicates the complete functioning of the prosecution, which results in non-punishment of crimes and lack of justice.
Based on the conclusions of the research, the presidents and vice-presidents of the citizens ‘association “The Path of Justice” Banja Luka proposed a series of anti-corruption measures that specifically refer to further activities of the citizens’ association “The Path of Justice” Banja Luka:
There is an urgent need to educate the general public about how the prosecutor’s office works, what its competencies are, what is the hierarchical organization of prosecutor’s offices from the local to the state level, what are the competencies of each individual prosecutor’s office and what topics it deals with.
It is necessary to conduct special education of the general public about the office of the disciplinary prosecutor, which is a hierarchical organization of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, what are its competencies and how the office of the disciplinary prosecutor works, how to compile and submit reports for inadequate work of the prosecutor’s office.
The described trainings can be conducted in a number of different ways: round tables and workshops in which, among others, people from the field of law and criminal procedure law will participate, organize lectures, print flyers, brochures, manuals and books on the described topics, make videos, photos, schemes , diagrams and graphs through which the described topic will be approached to the citizens in a simple way. Through this material, it is necessary to bring the topics of the work of prosecutors’ offices as close as possible to the public through the media, portals and social network channels.
In the same way, it is necessary to educate citizens on how they can, without a lawyer and without large financial costs, compile and submit applications themselves. This process is not complicated and citizens can do it themselves.
Through education, media and presentation of basic information on a given topic of the prosecutor’s office, it is necessary to empower citizens to be actively involved and report the inadequate work of prosecutors.
Through an active educational and media campaign, it is necessary to motivate citizens to formally organize themselves into associations that have the purpose of more adequate work of the judiciary, and primarily the prosecutor’s office.
As part of the educational and media campaign, it is necessary to explain to the citizens in a picturesque and clear way that there is a possibility of seeking a court decision on every misdemeanor order and that they can ask for it at any time.
The educational and media campaign needs to draw the public’s attention to the targeted delay of the process by judicial institutions.
Due to such long-term processes, citizens give up taking an active role in anti-corruption activities.
In this context, it is necessary to launch an initiative to amend the law on the duration of criminal proceedings, and to rationally limit the work of the prosecution and decision-making.
Access to prosecutors’ information through their public relations services should be sought. It is necessary to launch an initiative to organize round tables and panels with representatives of prosecutor’s offices
The public does not know who the republic prosecutors are, how they are elected and to whom they are accountable for their work. It is necessary to go public with data related to the work of the Republic Prosecutor’s Office, the number of taken over and resolved, or in most cases unresolved cases and the number of conducted investigations.
Initiating the arrival of an independent prosecutor to monitor the work of prosecutors’ offices in Republika Srpska. The purpose of the arrival of an independent prosecutor is to monitor the work of prosecutor’s offices and provide guidelines to improve the work of the prosecutor’s office.
There is an obligation for holders of judicial office to submit property records to the public, and the public does not know the property of prosecutors. The research showed a large interference of the executive in the legislative power (political actors in the work of the prosecutor’s office), and the property records would clearly show whether there was an illegal acquisition of property benefits by the prosecutors. To this end, it is necessary to launch an initiative of public access to the property records of each individual prosecutor from the local to the entity level.
The Department for the Integrity of Judicial Officers of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council was established in 2020 for the purpose of verifying the integrity of judges and prosecutors. It is necessary to launch an initiative of access to information and direct cooperation with the said department.
The general civil society is not aware of the methodology for evaluating the work of prosecutors, it is not known how their work is evaluated and where this data is available. Statistical analyzes of the number of cases taken over, investigations conducted and other data for each prosecutor’s office and all prosecutors need to be made publicly available to the general public.

Participants in the panel discussion were: Dejan Lucka, from the Banja Luka Center for Human Rights, Ozren Perduv, activist in Justice for David and the president of the political party “Movement of Justice”, Ifet Feraget, lawyer, Zana Gauk, journalist, Zurnal Info, Srdjan Blagovcanin, Transparency international BiH , and the moderator of the panel discussion was Prof. dr. Danijela Majstorovic, University of Banja Luka, representatives of the citizens’ association Path of Justice and numerous Justice for David activists

As Professor Dr. Danijela Majstorovic points out, from 2018 until now formal activities of Justice for David, we constantly encounter the concept of “Absence of Justice”. With the social movement Justice for David, there was a deviation from the current course of human rights and a shift of focus to specific problems of the rule of law. These are some things we as a society need to talk about in order to ensure lasting peace, and it is very difficult to talk about all this from the position of the European periphery, from the position of a post-war, transitional society where we do not really know the right course of action. that ignorance buries us deeper and deeper. Prof. Dr. Majstorovic asks the open question “Why is social justice important to us and how is it important for a healing process?”.
Activist and president of the political party “Movement of Justice” Ozren Perduv points out that one of the main questions is how to animate people to become aware that they are the key to the solution and that all power is actually with the citizens. The main thing we need to say from the conference is this appeal. We all gathered because the monstrous murder of David Dragicevic happened. Ozren points out that he is afraid that the critical mass is not large enough, but he hopes that in the next activities we will be able to animate the citizens.

Dejan Lucka from the Banja Luka Center for Human Rights points out that as a center in 2015-2016, they conducted a research with a questionnaire at law faculties where they came to the data that students enrolling in law faculty, about 30% of them have never met e.g. provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights. Therefore, a convention that is strongly embedded in the Constitution of BiH and which is directly and as a matter of priority applied in BiH. We are talking about people who went to study exactly that faculty. Later, in the higher years, things improved, in the fourth year, 90% of them became acquainted in some way with the provisions of the European Convention. But what does that mean now, should all citizens now enroll in law schools in order to know what rights they have and what they are referring to. Dejan Lucka believes that the reason for this situation lies in the fact that the state is not interested in having citizens who know what their rights are. That it is not interested in having citizens who want to fight for their rights. Unfortunately, Justice for David is an exception to the rule that exists in BiH, that when it comes to the pressure of politicians, to the pressure of various interest groups and lobbies to actively start fighting against them. Most people, especially those who do not have the support of their environment, stop there and everything stays there at that first initial action. They are not suing, they are not reporting to the Office of the Disciplinary Prosecutor, which should be reported. They want to put everything under the carpet, sort of speak. In that sense, I really think that in BiH not only is there no rule of law or rule of law.

Emphasizing the importance of the media and especially investigative journalism, the respected journalist Zana Gauk emphasizes that the Zurnal Info also leads this fight, the fight for justice. After publishing their stories and documenting them, they do not get cooperation with the Prosecutor’s Office, but receive persecution, their journalists are summoned for informative talks, they are threatened with snipers, they receive parts of grenades at the editorial office, they are threatened with rape, their children also live in fear. This behavior of the prosecution is in line with the data that Justice for David obtained through its research. We must first have the courage to fight for a better and more just society.

Srdjan Blagovcanin emphasizes that the research conducted by the association “Path of Justice” detected the central problem of captivity of the judiciary by political elites. Power is concentrated in the hands of a handful of people. This is the most complex problem and in the theory of corruption it is called a captured state. Srdjan emphasizes that Justice for David detected the problem of local prosecutor’s offices very well. Why are local prosecutors’ offices a key issue? Because the discretionary power of prosecutors is unlimited. There are two key mechanisms for how prosecutors are captured and brought into a relationship of subordination to political elites. First is the appointment process, that’s the essential part. Therefore, prosecutors do not work according to the responsibility provided by law, but according to the responsibility towards the center of power that is outside the judiciary. Another type of problem and what affects such a situation in prosecutor’s offices is self-censorship. Various surveys have been conducted among prosecutors. Prosecutors themselves say that self-censorship is a huge problem because people are afraid. They are afraid that they will lose their job, they are afraid that their family members will not be able to exercise some of their rights that they want to exercise, they are afraid that they will not push or they will simply not resent it.

All judicial office holders should be subject to thorough scrutiny. Checks on links to organized crime, checks on their assets and checks on relations with political parties. Domestic political elites alone will never give up on capturing and controlling this state.
Professor Danijela Majstorovic pointed out that “the judiciary is the scene of a political struggle”. Which is why it is perhaps the only other space where we place the impulse, because if we lose that battle then we have lost everything. Question to prominent lawyer Ifet Feraget: “How do you see the judiciary as the center and scene of a political struggle over the things we talked about?”

Ifet Feraget points out that the key reference for change in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the public Square and the passage through the squares. In the “Memić”, case the protests started in April 2016, and at the joint protests “Justice for David and Dzenan” in May 2018. Ifet emphasized that then there was a correct reaction of judicial institutions. David would be alive today.

Before the goddess of justice took on this role and with a veil over her eyes adjudicated certain cases and established some important facts in an objective and impartial way, people went to the squares and had the opportunity to see for themselves if someone was killed to see and hear people who have witnessed the murder and thus come to appropriate conclusions. And then, based on that, people named the scientific discipline after the Latin word “forum” or square. So let me see, let me conclude on my own and only then can I believe that something happened.
“In the Dragicevic case, we could see what it means to go to the square.” Ifet points out during the panel discussion. “We have to be aware that we have made one big step no matter how small. We have started something that no one should and certainly will not stop. The fact that the judiciary is politicized is a logical consequence of our so-called transitional justice which I call injustice. So, there is no justice this way or that, there is only one justice. Whether it is happening in transition or regulated EU countries. Otherwise we would have to be content depending on which country we live in with that justice that can be achieved. However, the justice that Davor has achieved so far is injustice. Although we have won great battles and some great victories. However, they are still minor for that final result, and that is the truth about who carried out the kidnapping, who hid David, who tortured him and, in the end, who killed him. We are still not close to getting answers to those questions but we are on the right track. Why has the judiciary become a stage for the reckoning of these political interests? So I think the answer is somehow logical and familiar to each of you. That justice that you will or need to receive is somehow inverse proportion to endangering the interests of those from whom you seek that justice. So, in no way does that justice suit the authorities in RS, and in no way does that justice suit those who are in charge of administering that justice.

We have a whole series of examples of prosecutors who are completely invisible and then become great in some negative context, we don’t have them yet in some positive context. So, obviously someone created the system, and I would call it the illusion of the system. The judiciary means a system that has its own whole and its constituent parts. The constituent parts are the entity judiciary, their parts are competencies by levels, republic, district, etc. in the Federation – cantonal, federal, etc. However, the logical consequence of the omission that occurs at the level of the District Public Prosecutor’s Office in Banja Luka would be for the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office to react. With the fact that you have another problem here now. In David’s case, the obvious jurisdiction of the first original belonged to the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office, given the position of the people in relation to which there are circumstances that they were involved in the case. No, the jurisdiction has been lowered to the new District Public Prosecutor’s Office in Banja Luka. I was shocked when I had my first interview with Zelimir Lepir and when he literally told me, “We were establishing the existence of suspicion for those first 100 days.” So you are waiting for something that is your obligation to find. Erik Larson spoke about it and said that he does not recognize those prosecutors who sit in the office. However, it should be said very clearly that our prosecutors more or less only conduct office investigations. So, it does not occur to our prosecutors to invest intellectually or emotionally in any case. So, not in a way that violates their objectivity, but to show professionalism and, in the end, humanity, and to say, I want and I have to determine who killed David. And what prosecutor Ozrenka said yesterday, aware of the weight of her words when she said: “Davor, I’m sorry, I’ll do it for David!”. Because of David, I will investigate who killed him. We must not be paranoid, we have given a certain dose of trust to her and the Chief Prosecutor, Mr. Milanko Kajganic, although Davor and I have had some tactics and strategy from the beginning, and that is that there is no promise and no trust.
There is only what would be called “acta non verba” which means “Give us the result.” But we must be patient, because such a system is ready to suffer all possible consequences at the cost of those who have power, still retaining that power. So, this is amazing what we do. If you presented this in an adequate way in any European country, people would wonder if it is possible for you to gather because of that, for you to find a way to solve something that must be solved because you have a state, and the state has an apparatus, and so on. So, it is logical that the judiciary is a stage for the reckoning of political interests. When they determine under whose control which chief prosecutor is, whether state, federal, district, entity, it doesn’t matter, I say, so it was resolved a long time ago. These three national politicians are afraid of these truths and they control every prosecution. Because if one prosecutor’s office acted independently, you would have at least at some cantonal or entity level to solve cases of high corruption. There is no such thing at the state level. We still have a situation of tacit agreement of the national parties, that the only thing they should not argue about is the

judiciary, which should be left under the control of the three of them. So, we can solve everything else and be dissatisfied with the election law and forests and hydroelectric power plants, but let’s not argue too much about the judiciary. It would be good to create the impression in the public that we are opponents, but control belongs to everyone.

We have named a number of cases, unsolved murders have been said. Unsolved murder is not a problem and everyone should know that: I beg you to understand. Sometimes in life, despite your best will, you are not really able to find out what your own child is doing to you in every situation. You have a break somewhere, you didn’t get all the information and in the end you sit down with your wife and say, “Maybe he didn’t do it”. So you did the investigation, but you didn’t come up with the results. However the problem is when you as a parent say, I don’t care what my child does. That is the problem of our prosecutors, I don’t care who killed David and I will conduct an inadequate investigation. So these are not unsolved but uninvestigated murders. We have a problem with unsolved murders. When you apply every essential tool and you do not reach the goal, no one will object to you, because as a professional you have tried everything possible. What is important for all of us, we did not join corruption, what you talked about, we did not exclude ourselves from the system and we were not bribed. We are at the service of citizens who support us, and we actually give them, through the fight for truth and justice about David and Dzenan, the opportunity to understand that we are actually fighting for their interests. So, to none of us, as Muriz said the other day when they and Davor were guests at “Crvena olovka” on Avaz: “Davor and I can’t wait to stop coming.” None of us care about fame and popularity. We see that we are all in the same problems. No problem will bypass us if we do not understand that the only way is to support each other as citizens and that is why it is very important that we have such great media attention and that we have. I would say that this is the most positive change that can happen, and that is Justice for David that truly and actively works and something that was unthinkable 4 years ago is now happening right where it all began. So, because of that, the situation has changed, as Davor himself said, do not be afraid that he will be arrested because nothing good has ever happened to us in this fight. Davor would come into the public spotlight again, and the authorities who would arrest him in some way only gave a signal that they intended to go all the way. Obviously they don’t, because they can’t. Now they are afraid of us. Thus, civilization long ago adopted some norms that became a barrier against arbitrary arrest. You may think that you can arrest anyone when you want. But you can’t. There is a dam, it is called “habeas corpus akte”, which is 350 years old. So when ordinary little people sent a message, “Well, you’re not going to arrest me when you’re bored. I’m going to send people to the square, I’m going to resist.” If that is not a sufficient motive for the citizens to fight together for each of us, to show solidarity and give support, because that is the only way out of this situation, neither this independent prosecutor, nor Reinhard Priebe, nor Christain Schmidt, although we we expect support because we cannot do without them because we are a kind of natural allies. They participate in our struggle only until they feel we are strong enough.

The Prosecutor and his powers, the 2003 laws in which Mr. Larson also participated. In any case, it is a positive change, but a small omission was made, which they tried to compensate by giving our judges the authority where in each case the judges can ask a question to each of the witnesses and experts. However, one thing has been neglected here. When you have an indictment, where a certain person is tried for a certain event, but if that indictment is the result of a deliberate inadequate investigation then the benefit of the judge questioning that deliberately false accused is zero. So, we need that judge in the investigation to control the work of that prosecutor, and that injured parties like Davor or Muriz have the right to an ex-officio lawyer in addition to the fact that the accused has one. This is the corrective factor that I proposed to Mr. Schmidt, we need it until the prosecutors are strengthened. We have enough lawyers, I hope that there will be more and more of them who are brave and determined to represent the interests of citizens in the right way. So, the lawyer appears in the investigation on the side of Davor and on the side of Muriz and says to the prosecutor: “What you are doing is a crime and to cover up the murder. I will now inform the judge not to give me evidence at the cost of my obligation. keeping an official secret so as not to jeopardize the investigation. ” Then that prosecutor will say, “This one is not kidding,” and then the judge will say, “Prosecutor, it is your obligation under the Convention on Human Rights to conduct an investigation, an effective investigation that will lead to results. And here, people have been conducting a completely inappropriate and completely ineffective investigation from the beginning. And that’s why I say, the judge who will examine that accused in court, if we let them work that way, would not be any satisfaction. We need a judge to get the prosecutors back on track. The complete responsibility lies with the HJPC and we should not ask ourselves who will help us. We need to think about how to get rid of this HJPC. So, it is a model that we cannot change every five years, that model works in Italy, it works in EU countries. The problem is that these 15 people sit together very often every day and get to know each other a little better over time, so maybe they can influence each other when choosing judges and prosecutors, but he did not allow you to have a 7:6 vote when choosing the chief prosecutor. So in the professional community, all 13 people did not recognize who was the best. 7 are looking for the best Serb, and 6 are looking for the best Croat or vice versa. We do not have people in the council who have integrity, and then we demand that people who will have integrity be elected. I mean, it’s a mission that’s completely missed. If I am a professional, then I will raise my hand for Ozren or Daniela. If someone approaches me and says vote for Aida, then I will ask him if you are ill, because I know that Ozren is a better prosecutor and that I can entrust him with every task. We made a model, that is, we transferred it from European countries, but foreigners forgot that we have a problem of nationalism and constitutivity. So that model needs to change but in a way that the entire council resigns if we are not able to elect the chief prosecutor unanimously. So agree, send a message to the public that you are able to choose, because there cannot be three best. Then there are no good ways to measure the results of their work, not to mention other details. What was very interesting was the question to the citizens and 7% gave the answer that the Office of the Disciplinary Prosecutor awards recognitions. That is the correct answer. Inadequate prosecution of prosecutors who cover up murders and by no prosecution do you actually hand over a reward to that prosecutor for covering up murder. The system did the wrong thing too. No one controls the UDT, the proceedings are not open to the public, the injured party does not participate in those searches and hearings where they are tried. Dalida Burzic was tried and she was released and promoted. It was a farce from disciplinary proceedings. There were no disciplinary proceedings against Zelimir Lepir, Dalibor Vreco, etc. So it wasn’t there at all. In the Memic case, the statute of limitations of 5 years has come into force, and in the Dragicevic case, the statute of limitations will appear and none of them will ever be disciplined, and you have the HJPC.

I just have to comment on the procedure in Banja Luka. The indictment against Marjanc and Bosniaks for missing underwear David Dragicevic shows how complex these mechanisms are and how much someone predicts the development of the situation. I can’t say that anyone knew that the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH would take over the case, so he hurried to file the indictment, but you can think like that. Whether it is possible to withdraw was also a question of what the consequences are. It is possible to withdraw the indictment, as the proceedings are in the main trial phase if the trial judge or the panel confirms. But then you can no longer accuse those people, and the procedure you are leading can lead to a verdict of acquittal because it is led by someone who should be prosecuted for trying to cover up the murder. I am not saying that Dalibor Vrećo is guilty, but just like for Dalida Burzić, he must be prosecuted. He has no interest in convicting people who could threaten him. He has an interest in their being released and never being tried again. The question is, how can we get out of this. The prosecutor said it would be good to end this. I would like it to be terminated, I also told Davor before that, but the law does not have an interruption. The law has a withdrawal, the law has a withdrawal and now the only possible way in my humble opinion, given that we have somehow paved the way for the Dragicevic case. Therefore, in the Memiccase, we received decisions from the Court of BiH that the Court of BiH has jurisdiction over the Memiccase. I based my criminal report on the famous Article 7, paragraph 2, item B of the Law on the Court of BiH, which is by definition a provision that says that if a crime occurs that may cause harmful consequences to the interests of the state, then the case will be taken over by the state level. However, I always come back to the fact that when formulating such important laws, in regulated countries, a large number of lawyers sit in parliaments. So when it comes to discussing the draft law on the state court, it is completely different with due respect for everyone who sits in parliament, it is completely different when a lawyer who does that job says for a long time why that provision was not stated in a situation when there is reason to suspect conducted an adequate investigation the case will be taken over by the state prosecutor’s office. So when there is some basis of suspicion, and that basis of suspicion is that there are missing pants, the phone is not found by the coroner. The items were found, and they come from a place where David was not, footage of David from Vladimira Janje Janjetovica Street was found, and David was not there. You have a whole spectrum of illegal evidence and that would be enough to send to the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH and say these are more than clear circumstances that connect Prosecutor Vreco with a possible cover-up, and then they say, clearly, we take over. The most harmful consequence for any state is that criminals are sitting in the prosecutor’s office, and I have repeatedly said that I unfortunately had such a situation.

The feeling of fear left us a long time ago, but still I think we should be optimistic and happy that Davor is with us again and believe that we will reach the final goal. So, this case that is being conducted in Banja Luka and the parallel with the case that has already been initiated in Sarajevo, 5 people related to the Memiccase which is the result of the way I formulated the “investigation of the investigation” a long time ago, I don’t know how I came to those phrases, but in fact she is the key. By investigating prosecutors who conduct an ineffective investigation, you come to potential knowledge about the principals. The consequence of this is that the prosecutor must be held criminally responsible. Well, in exchange for a long prison sentence he could offer information about the principal. Let’s never think that the prosecutors are so stupid, nor insolent, that they would dare to cover up the obvious murder, but as Srdjan said, they are “sleepers” who have now got their five minutes. So, if the panel of the Court of BiH, and it did, made a special decision, considering that the lawyers put a whole series of objections to Article 7, and that is what we rightly call the rigid application of the law. When you need the right, e.g. the case of Sejdic Finci, then you break down the election law into the smallest components and say that some people are endangered, and when you don’t need that right, then the obvious interpretation of one legal provision is that the prosecutor is obliged to conduct an investigation and then you bring the inadequate investigation and cover-up of the murder by the prosecutors under that investigation, and that is not it. So, if the court has already determined jurisdiction, and it has, in the Memiccase, and I expect the defense to file an appeal these days and go to the appellate panel of the BiH court again, I hope, in fact I expect it to be a positive decision because that panel has already confirmed several times that the Court of BiH has jurisdiction in those cases of detention against Alisa Mutap, Zijad Mutap, the Constitutional Court has confirmed this. If the court of BiH has jurisdiction, and Judge Branko Peric also mentioned the murder case, he said the murders of Dzenan Memicand David Dragicevic. He did not prejudge anything, but spoke about those two cases in the context of cases that ended in a series of international reports and which certainly harm the interests of the state, because if the judiciary does not work for you, you cannot even think about candidate status. So that’s more than clear. If the court of BiH is competent, and it is, then this court cannot be competent for you, so you should now in some way send a public invitation to the court that judges. It may be unprofessional, but it is in the interest of justice. The trial court, as well as the prosecution conducting the procedure, should delegate the issue of the jurisdiction of the Basic Court in Banja Luka, because the disappearance of the underpants is an integral part of the investigation into the murder of David Dragicevic. Thank you very much once again. ” – Ifet Feraget, the lawyer of the “Dragicevic” and “Memic” families, finished the presentation.

When asked how further activists can be organized in order to act as concretely as possible, Srdjan Blagovcanin points out that all institutional mechanisms available to us must be used. In the professional community, there is a good portion of people of integrity. They should be sought, alliances should be made, not only in this judicial sphere. Alliances should be made with the academic community, with political parties. Another very important thing is advocating and constantly repeating these things that we are talking about today. Every holder of a judicial office should be subjected to scrutiny and his integrity should be verified. It is further important to organize protests and direct civilian activities through projects and public lobbying towards the prosecutor’s office and more responsible work of prosecutors. It is also necessary to educate civil society through an educational and media campaign on ways to act against the described problem and ways to file complaints against the inadequate work of prosecutors.

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