The MAXCAP Working Paper No. 24 “Judicial Reform in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina: Is EU Support and Assistance Augmenting Independence?” by Adam Fagan has been published. You can download the Working Paper here.
What is the impact of EU support delivered as part of the ‘new approach’ for judicial independence in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina? The paper focuses on two new institutions - the Judicial Academy in Serbia and the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council in BiH. Drawing on the comparative and theoretical literature on judicial independence, particular consideration is given to the balance between independence and accountability and whether an appropriate balance has been struck. Under the spotlight is the Commission’s new approach as a framework for maximizing the integration capacity of the EU from the perspective of a candidate and a potential candidate country. The conclusion reached is that EU intervention is predominantly geared towards strengthening independence, but this needs to be pursued extremely carefully by the Commission to ensure that new forms of political interference do not occur and that the newfound authority of these judicial institutions is exercized appropriately. Although the new approach requires demonstrable progress towards judicial reform as a prerequisite for opening additional chapters of the acquis, evidence presented here suggests that securing judicial independence is highly complex and will remain a ‘live’ issue throughout the accession negotiations.
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