About PO BiH
Code of Prosecutorial Ethics
The purpose of this code is to formulate the principles for ethical conduct for prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is designed to assist prosecutors with the difficult ethical and professional issues which confront them and to assist members of the executive and the legislature, and lawyers and the public in general, to better understand and support the judiciary.
The prosecutors play a crucial role in the administration of criminal justice and the freedom to impartially adjudicate as based on the law and supporting evidence, and in doing so reinforce the confidence of the public of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the integrity of the judiciary.
PRINCIPLES OF ETHICS
The independence of the judicial system is a pre-requisite to the rule of law. A prosecutor shall exercise the prosecutorial function independently on the basis of the prosecutor’s assessment of the facts and in accordance with the law, upholding prosecutorial independence in both its individual and institutional aspects.
1.1 A prosecutor shall be independent in his/her judgment and in his/her actions shall comply with the Constitution and the laws.
1.2 A prosecutor shall not only be free from inappropriate connections with, and influence by, the executive and legislative branches of government, but must also appear to the public to be free there from.
1.3 A prosecutor shall encourage and uphold safeguards in order to maintain and enhance the institutional and operational independence of the judicial process.
1.4 A prosecutor shall promote high standards of prosecutorial conduct in order to reinforce public confidence in the judiciary
A prosecutor shall perform his/her prosecutorial duties without favour, bias or prejudice, honouring the presumption of innocence. Impartiality applies not only to the prosecutorial decisions but also to the process by which the decisions are made.
2.1 A prosecutor shall ensure that his or her conduct, both in and out of prosecutor’s office, maintains and enhances the confidence of the public, as well as that of all other participants to a proceedings in the impartiality of the prosecutor and of the judicial process.
2.2 A prosecutor shall conduct him/herself in his/her personal or business affairs so as to minimise the occasions on which it will be necessary for the prosecutor to be disqualified.
2.2.1 A prosecutor is free to participate in civic, charitable and religious activities subject to the following considerations:
(a) A prosecutor shall avoid any activity or association that could reflect adversely on his/her impartiality or interfere with the performance of prosecutorial duties.
(b) A prosecutor shall not lend the prestige of prosecutorial office to solicit funds unless such is for prosecutorial or charitable purposes.
(c) A prosecutor should not give legal or investment advice
2.2.2. A prosecutor should refrain from conduct such as membership in groups or organizations or participation in public discussion which, in public opinion, would undermine confidence in a prosecutor’s impartiality.
2.2.3. A prosecutor shall refrain from:
(a) membership in political parties;
(b) attendance at political gatherings and events;
(c) contributing to political parties or campaigns
(d) taking part publicly in controversial political discussions except in respect of matters directly affecting the operation of the prosecutor’s offices, the independence of the judiciary or fundamental aspects of the administration of justice;
(e) signing petitions that may influence a political decision.
2.2.4. A prosecutor shall refrain from conduct that may affect public perception that he/she is politically active.
2.2.5. A prosecutor should recognize that the political activities of close family members may adversely affect the public perception of the prosecutor’s impartiality. In any case in which there could reasonably be such a perception, the prosecutor should disqualify himself/herself.
2.3 A prosecutor shall, in his or her personal relations with individual members of the legal profession avoid situations which might reasonably raise doubt as to his/her impartiality.
2.4. A prosecutor shall not make any comment in public or otherwise regarding any case that he/she is in charge of or case that he/she may take charge of that might reasonably be expected to raise doubt as to his/her impartiality.
2.5 A prosecutor shall disqualify himself or herself from participating in any proceedings in which it may appear in public opinion that the prosecutor is unable to decide the matter impartially or if he/she evaluates that he/she is unable to decide the matter impartially.
2.6 A prosecutor shall appoint expert witnesses and experts impartially and on the basis of their expertise, without nepotism or favoritism, and also approve a fair fee to such appointed persons in accordance with the value of the services provided.
A prosecutor shall be aware of, and understand, diversity in society especially regarding race, colour, sex, religion, national origin, caste, disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, social and economic status and other like causes, and shall ensure equal respect to all persons with whom he/she professionally interacts in the due performance of the prosecutorial office.
3.1 A prosecutor shall not, in the performance of prosecutorial duties, by words or conduct, manifest prejudice towards any person or group and shall secure equal treatment to all participants to a proceedings.
3.3 A prosecutor shall not knowingly permit staff or others subject to the prosecutor's influence, direction or control to differentiate between participants to a proceedings, without justification.
4. INTEGRITY AND PROPRIETY
A prosecutor shall act with moral uprightness and esteem and in accordance with the dignity of the prosecutorial office.
4.1 As a subject of constant public scrutiny, a prosecutor shall freely and willingly accept any restrictions imposed by the office he/she holds.
4.2 The behaviour and conduct of a prosecutor must reaffirm the people's faith in the integrity of the judiciary.
4.3 A prosecutor, like any other citizen, is entitled to freedom of expression, thought, belief, religion, association and assembly, but in exercising such rights, a prosecutor shall always conduct himself or herself in such a manner as to preserve the dignity of the prosecutorial office and the impartiality and independence of the judiciary.
4.4 A prosecutor shall not allow his/her financial interests nor the financial interests of the members of his/her closer family to have a negative influence on the dignity of the prosecutorial office he/she holds.
4.5 A prosecutor shall not allow the prosecutor's family, social or other relationships improperly to influence the prosecutor's performance of prosecutorial duties.
4.6 A prosecutor shall not use or lend the prestige of the prosecutorial office nor shall he/she allow others to use such for personal interest.
4.7 Confidential information acquired by a prosecutor in the prosecutor's prosecutorial capacity shall not be used or disclosed by the prosecutor for any other purpose not related to the prosecutor's prosecutorial duties.
4.8 A prosecutor may engage in activities that are not directly related to the performance of prosecutorial duties, if such activities do not demean the dignity of the prosecutorial office or otherwise interfere with the performance of prosecutorial duties in accordance with this Code, e.g. :
(a) write, lecture, teach and participate in activities concerning science, culture and the legal field relating to the law, the legal system and the administration of justice;
(b) participate in a public debate concerned with matters relating to the law, the legal system, the administration of justice;
(c) serve as a member of a government commission, board or advisory body, if such membership is not inconsistent with the perceived impartiality and political neutrality of a prosecutor;
4.9 A prosecutor may form or join associations of prosecutors or participate in other organisations representing the interests of prosecutors.
4.10 A prosecutor and members of the prosecutor's family, shall neither ask for, nor accept, any gift, bequest, loan or favour in relation to anything done or to be done or omitted to be done by the prosecutor in connection with the performance of prosecutorial duties, nor shall the prosecutor knowingly allow such conduct by the prosecutorial staff and others under his/her supervision.
4.11 Subject to law and to any legal requirements of public disclosure, a prosecutor may receive a token gift, award or benefit as appropriate to the occasion on which it is made provided that such gift, award or benefit might not reasonably be perceived as intended to influence the prosecutor in the performance of prosecutorial duties or otherwise give rise to an appearance of partiality.
4.12 A prosecutor shall not allow a member of the legal profession to use his/her house or apartment as an office.
4.13 A prosecutor shall, in the performance of his/her prosecutorial duties in the court, wear the prescribed robe and shall be dressed appropriately for all other occasions.
5. COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE
A prosecutor shall maintain a high level of professionalism and execute his/her prosecutorial duties in a professional, conscientious, diligent and efficient manner.
5.1 The prosecutorial duties of a prosecutor shall take precedence over all other activities.
5.2 A prosecutor shall devote his/her professional activity to prosecutorial duties, which include not only the performance of prosecutorial functions but also other tasks relevant to the operations of the prosecutor’s office.
5.3 A prosecutor shall take reasonable steps to maintain and enhance his/her knowledge, skills and personal qualities necessary for the proper performance of prosecutorial duties.
5.4 A prosecutor shall keep himself/herself informed about relevant developments of international law, including international conventions and other instruments establishing human rights norms.
5.5 A prosecutor shall perform all prosecutorial duties efficiently and lawfully with reasonable promptness.
5.6 A prosecutor shall perform all prosecutorial duties with patience, dignity and fairness in relation to the participants to a proceedings, as well as in relation to individuals with whom the prosecutor has professional dealings and shall demand similar conduct from others under his/her supervision.