The construction of a building intended to house the offices of the prosecution in Zenica has been postponed indefinitely due to the costs.
Although the Zenica-Doboj Cantonal Government announced last year that it would use a Development Bank loan to finance the construction of a new building and began preparing the project, the works have still not started due to “unexpected expenses”.
Romana Brkic, the Minister of Justice and Administration of the Zenica-Doboj Canton, told BIRN that the construction has been postponed indefinitely.
She said that the biggest problems were big expenditures related to the relocation of a power substation and electric lines to the future construction site and a lease for construction land, which were not planned in the original budget.
“We are talking about 350,000 euros, which had not been included in the budget. The Ministry has filed an urgent request to include these expenditures in the amended budget or in next years’ budget, because the construction of the prosecution's building in Zenica was and still is a priority,” Minister Brkic said.
The Zenica-Doboj Cantonal Prosecution says that they will insist on the new building, adding that prosecutors work in extremely difficult conditions.
“The prosecutors work in too small offices. We do not have space for hiring new staff members, as approved by the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council. No interns, associates or volunteers are working with the prosecution at present. Once the space issue has been resolved, the Cantonal Government should plan the budget for recruiting additional staff,” says Redzo Delic, the Assistant Chief Prosecutor.
Delic expects that “the space occupied by the Prosecutor's Office in the current building will be expanded soon and that, following the reconstruction of the building, it will be easier for them to work, particularly on more sensitive cases, such as war-crimes cases”.
As part of the implementation of the State War-Crimes Processing Strategy adopted in December 2008, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has referred 18 war-crimes cases to judicial institutions in Zenica for further processing.
According to the State War-Crimes Processing Strategy, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina processes highly sensitive cases, which also include command responsibility, while the cantonal and district courts and the Brcko District Court are responsible for handling less sensitive cases depending on crime locations.
The Zenica-Doboj Cantonal Prosecution told BIRN that it plans on filing three indictments for war crimes committed in the Zenica, Maglaj and Visoko areas by the end of this year.
Ten war-crimes trials have been completed before the Cantonal Court in Zenica since 1995.