Restoring public trust in judiciary is a top priority, requiring commitment from all stakeholders, EU Ambassador David Geer told an online press conference on Wednesday.
Presenting the project “Support to judicial reform process” alongside Justice Minister Bojan Marichikj, Geer pointed out that a functioning justice system is a fundamental process for any country that wants prosperity and progress, while the rule of law and the functioning of the judiciary should be at the core of that policy.
According to Ambassador Geer, demonstrating strong political will and commitment in tackling shortcomings in the justice system is important for progress in the EU accession process.
“In the 2020 October report, the European Commission recognized the progress made in strengthening the rule of law and implementing a strategy for judicial reform, including merit-based appointments. This also includes the Law on Public Prosecution which entered into force last June and provides for sustainable resolution of cases and accountability for crimes arising from illegal wiretapping,” Geer said.
He pointed out that the law should provide an independent judiciary resistant to external pressures. However, he noted, it would also contribute to consistent implementation of the principles of transparency, through which the judiciary should be free from risks and the perception of political influence.
The project, Geer said, supports strategic planning in judiciary, as well as drafting a human resource strategy for the judiciary and the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
In response to a reporter’s question about the EU’s position on the cleansing of judiciary and whether such a process is needed to improve certain conditions both in the judiciary and in the prosecution, Geer underlined that this reform is primarily in the interest of the citizens.
“Judicial reform is basically in the interest of the citizens. Equality before the law, trust in institutions will also contribute to investments in the country. Every investor wants to have a climate of trust and predictability. So, it’s important in every aspect, economic and social,” Ambassador Geer said.
As regards property issues and the work of judges and public prosecutors, the EU Ambassador pointed out that the Judicial Council, the Council of Public Prosecutors, the State Commission for the Prevention of Corruption need to continue to carry out their mandate in order to ensure good coverage of all elements, which means ensuring effective rule of law and restoring public trust.