In addition to two final verdicts for committed crimes, Saša Radulović comes to work every day in the department in Nevesinje of the Basic Court in Trebinje. Although colleagues are indignant, and the public in a small town, where everyone knows everyone, comments on “that miracle”, everyone is staring at the Basic Court in Foča, before which the lawsuit of the Basic Court in Trebinje against the Board of State Administration for Appeals. The employees mostly blame this state body for the situation in which they found themselves.
The highest judicial body incompetent
We asked questions to the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (VSTV) of BiH, which said in a short answer that it was not competent.
“The VSTV BiH has the authority to appoint only expert associates to municipal courts, ie in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, after the competition procedure, while expert associates of basic courts in Republika Srpska are appointed by court presidents after the public competition procedure, in accordance with the Law on courts of Republika Srpska. Having in mind the above, the VSTV BiH has no authority in this particular case “, they conclude at the end of the answer in this institution.
From the Basic Court in Trebinje, we tried to get answers to the questions what is the current status of the employee Saša Radulović? How long was he employed in the Basic Court? What jobs did he do? Was his work evaluated and what were the evaluations?
In the answer they submitted to us, they somewhat deny the answer VSTV submitted to us because they state that this highest judicial body appointed Radulović to the position of expert associate, at least “in the first term”.
“Saša Radulović by the decision of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 01.04.2009. was appointed an expert associate in the Basic Court in Trebinje for a period of six (6) years, starting from 01.05.2009. The Law on Courts of the Republika Srpska, which entered into force on 05.05.2012. It is envisaged that expert associates who have been selected in accordance with the regulations that have been applied until the adoption of this law will remain employed for an indefinite period of time. “, reads the answer signed by the court secretary Jelica Ijačić.
What did Radulović do?
This expert associate was convicted because he committed two criminal acts at work, both for an extended period of time.
He was first sentenced by the Basic Court in Foča in September 2018 to 8 months in prison, suspended for two years for forging a document in probate cases.
In the meantime, the Basic Court in Trebinje passed a Decision on termination of employment. In March 2019, Radulović appealed to the Municipal Assembly in Foča, which rejected his request, but in the appeal procedure, the District Court in Trebinje annulled the decision from Foča and ordered that Radulović return to work and get compensation. The explanation states that a procedural omission was made because in the given case, the Labor Law could not be applied, but the Law on Civil Servants.
Thus, on January 31, 2020, Radulović returned to work, but also to his old habits – instead of falsifying, he turned to fraud and found himself before the Basic Court in Foča again.
“In the position of expert associate, participating in probate proceedings in the Court Department in Nevesinje, in order to obtain an illegal benefit, he misled several people,” the verdict reads.
Even after this verdict for KD fraud, the Basic Court in Trebinje initiated disciplinary proceedings against Radulović and in August 2021 imposed a measure of termination of employment with the assessment that his behavior damaged the reputation of the court.
Radulović then addressed the State Administration Board for Appeals, which rejected his appeal on September 10., declaring itself incompetent. In the Basic Court in Trebinje, this was the expected move of the Committee, since they declared themselves incompetent in all similar situations. Therefore, on September 14, 2021, they officially deregistered him “from taxes and contributions” and, they thought, put an end to this case.
Seven days later, on September 21, the State Administration for Appeals Board annulled its decision of September 10. and asked the court in Trebinje for a complete file to re-decide on the appeal. On November 1., the Board annulled its original decision and ordered the court to return Saša Radulović to work.
That is how Radulović returned to work for the third time, from which he committed two crimes!
How is this possible?
Lay people would say that this case is impossible in serious, regulated countries. Maybe this is too much even for ours. Experts, on the other hand, believe that the omission was made by the prosecutor and, of course, the Board.
Lawyer Sead Temim is of the opinion that in this case, it is important to separate criminal and disciplinary proceedings.
“So, we are talking about two things – the procedure of the body itself, the institution in which the person works, which initiated the disciplinary procedure. There is a rulebook on the employment of every institution, including the court. Minor and more serious breaches of discipline may be such as to give rise to disciplinary liability. The criminal procedure is separate, it has its own rules defined by the criminal law. When it comes to criminal responsibility, the competent prosecutor should have put forward a proposal to impose a security measure prohibiting the performance of duties. That would be a way to prevent people with such a biography from continuing to perform their duties “, explains Temim.
We can only speculate whether the prosecutor, out of negligence, ignorance, or knowingly, failed to act as required by law. To the question: What are the reasons for annulling the original decision, the Board of Appeals answered that “The Board declared its original decision null and void at the request of the party in accordance with the provisions of the General Administrative Procedure Act, and that it issued a new decision within the statutory deadline which was delivered to the parties in the proceedings ”and referred us to the Basic Court in Trebinje for additional information.
What is the message to the public?
Court employees also feel helpless. Almost all institutions and bodies – from the Ministry of Justice, through the NSRS Judiciary Committee, to the VSTV in the “Radulović case” proved to be useless. In their answers to “Direkt”, everyone stated that they were not competent in this particular case. The response of the Committee for Justice, signed by President Dragan Čavić, says that they are not familiar with the case, but also that they do not have the authority to influence the work of judicial bodies, as well as the work of the Board of Appeals.
And how such examples affect the public, and whether it is possible to preserve the dignity of the judiciary if such examples happen, lawyer Temim says:
“It is necessary that everyone involved in the case treats cases that are corrupt in nature professionally and with great care. I do not want to teach anyone how to do their job, but in our laws, the Criminal Procedure Code, and the Criminal Code, everything is clearly stated. The imposition of security measures in these cases is imperative, and no reward should be given to those who receive suspensions and often continue to do their work, especially when it comes to the part of the return, which should be sanctioned more severely “, Temim is decisive.
It is now up to the Basic Court in Foča to decide on the lawsuit of the Trebinje court.