Jezik / Language:
4 April 2013

Kreso Denies Petar Kovacevic’s Allegations

Marija Tausan BIRN BiH Sarajevo

Meddzida Kreso, President of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, says that, from the very beginning the Court has advocated for treating war-crimes and organised crimes cases as public interest cases, but the Agency for Protection of Personal Data of Bosnia and Herzegovina insisted on an opposite stand.

Kreso said that the Agency did not accept the stand that public interest could overbear the right to protection of personal data in any criminal case.

“Such interpretation of the law is subjected to criticism both by the general public and experts, as it limits the freedom of access to information of public interest,” Kreso said, adding that the Rule book that regulated the access to information would be revised for this reason. 

She reacted to the allegations by Agency Director Petar Kovacevic in his interview to BIRN published on March 20. In that interview he said that the anonymisation of court documents was not implemented in line with the Agency’s recommendations and that public interest could overbear the right to privacy in war crimes cases.

The President of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina points out that Kovacevic’s stand was opposite to the Agency’s opinions previously conveyed to state and other judicial institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Solving a complaint by a convicted person in March 2010, the Agency provided the Court, for the first time, with its opinion that all documents related to cases should be removed from its webpage. A year later the opinion was submitted to all courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina via the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, HJPC, of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

“The HJPC subsequently adopted a policy on publishing of court verdicts, recommending to courts to use restrictive instructions on anonymisation prior to publishing decisions on their websites,” Kreso explained.

According to these rules, the identity of parties, as well as institutions, cities and so on, is protected by using initials only.

At the same time stricter criteria for providing audio and video recordings from trials was introduced as well.

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