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EU urges Bosnia to amend law targeting organised crime, corruption

by Reuters
Wednesday, 7 March 2018 16:31 GMT

SARAJEVO, March 7 (Reuters) - The European Union urged Bosnia on Wednesday to amend a law that targets crime and corruption and bring it in line with international standards, warning that failure to do so would hinder the country's progress towards the EU membership.

Last week, Bosnia's authorities handed down to European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker a completed questionnaire on the country's readiness to join the bloc, hoping it would help Bosnia gain the status of an EU candidate later this year .

The rule of law and fight against organised crime and corruption are among EU key requirements for the Western Balkan's aspirants.

The EU said it was concerned that Bosnian lawmakers have failed to harmonise the criminal procedure code with a top court's ruling that required stricter "oversight and use" of special investigative measures.

Those measures include the use of undercover police personnel, communication interception, surveillance and use of informants, and must ensure the proportionality between the right to privacy and security of the country.

The Justice Ministry has drafted amendments to the law, but the EU said they are weak and do not satisfy the requests for a more invigorated fight against crime.

"If the legislature only adopts partial solutions or the Constitutional Court quashes the existing provisions as being unconstitutional, Bosnian prosecutors will be deprived of one of the major tools to effectively fight against the most serious crime," the EU delegation in Bosnia warned in a statement.

"This will be considered a detrimental step in light of the forthcoming opinion on Bosnia-Herzegovina's application to EU membership," the statement said.

Squabbling among Bosnia's rival ethnic leaders has nearly halted the country's progress towards the EU and NATO. (Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; editing by Larry King)

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