SARAJEVO ─ At the parliamentary session held on April 25, the Federal Parliament of BiH ignored – once again – the positive legal regulations related to the obligation of conducting the parliamentary oversight over police work.

Source: klix.ba / Photo: Federal Ministry of Interior (Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina)

The Centre for Security Studies (CSS) announced that a lack of political will or the persistence on narrow party interests cannot and should not be the reason for the two-year long democratic deficit within the police sector. This deficit is reflected in the failure to appoint new members to the Independent Committee of the Federation BiH, the body that – on behalf of citizens – performs democratic oversight over the work of the federal police.

Also, CSS reminded that “with the entry into force of the Law on Internal Affairs of the Federation of BiH in October of 2014, the work of the Citizens’ Complaint Board acting within the Federal Ministry of the Interior ceased its work. The new legal provisions provide the establishment of this Board within the Parliament of the Federation BiH, but this task has not yet been completed. This definitely points to the fact that the federal lawmakers do not pay any attention to the interests of citizens to which this mechanism should be available in the event that their rights are violated by abuse of authority or conduct of police officers at the level of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

The Centre for Security Studies has already on several occasions pointed to these flaws in the security sector, and encouraged the authorities to achieve full democratic control by establishing the Independent Committee and the Citizens’ Appeal Board, as the bodies envisaged by the law. Also, it was emphasized that these mechanisms of democratic control protect citizens, increase the trust of these citizens in the work of the police, and must be in the interest of the police structures to advocate for such responsibility and transparency in their work.

“Democratic oversight of the police sector and the accountability of institutions of this sector are a prerequisite for democracy, and the Independent Committee, as the oversight body, is tasked to monitor the performance of the director of the Federal Police and to oversee the work of the Federal Police Administration” said Mirela Hodovic, CSS researcher.

Sanjin Hamidicevic, CSS researcher, further emphasizes that the work of the Citizens’ Complaint Board aims to ensure objective and impartial conduct of the proceedings in relation to appeals to the work and conduct of police officers, thus ensuring the protection of human rights and freedoms.

“Furthermore, the Board has wide competences in relation to the work of the professional standards units within the Federal Ministry of Interior, as well as the implementation of disciplinary commission measures, which is of great importance in overseeing the work of internal control mechanisms.”, said Hamidicevic.

All of the above points to the conclusion that the existing mechanisms of control of police work are insufficient. Furthermore, it is necessary that the Parliament of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina complies with the legal provisions and appoint the Independent Committee and the Citizens’ Complaint Board, so that these bodies, in accordance with the legal powers, ensure the professional, impartial and objective performance of the police agencies, states CSS.

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