The functioning of the International University in Gorazde is the subject of interest for numerous institutions in BiH. According to our sources, many agencies have already visited the university premises, and the Prosecutor’s Office of the Bosnian-Podrinje Canton has conducted three investigations. Without results.
On just one floor of a building in Goražde, there is a university with 14 licensed study programs. Problems with the functioning and management of the International University in Goražde have escalated at the last university session held in November last year, where there were certain disagreements between the rector, Prof. Dr Hajriz Bećirović, and the general manager of the university, Edina Brutus, whose daughter, Elma Brutus, is one of the founders of the mentioned university. The session ended with the rector Bećirović leaving and vetoing the adopted decisions.
Our editorial team has obtained a letter sent by the rector of the University, Hajriz Becirovic, to the relevant ministry, in which he claims that at the aforementioned Senate meeting, Edina Brutus wanted to pass certain illegal decisions and appointments by bringing in people from the street to be appointed as deans and selected as teaching staff, even though these people did not meet any of the requirements. The letter states that she controlled the Senate, even though there is a Senate chairman, and made decisions at that meeting, claiming that she would work “as she wanted” and that she was the “owner of the University”.
“Out of revolt against her behaviour at this Senate meeting, as well as some other events before this meeting when she said she could hire and fire whoever she wanted, I submitted an irrevocable resignation. Otherwise, I did not receive any notice about whether and how my resignation was considered”, the letter addressed to the Ministry of Education, Youth, Science, Culture and Sports of the Government of the Bosnian-Podrinje Canton states, to which we did not receive a response to our inquiries regarding this case.
In the meantime, the term of Rector Becirovic expired in February 2023, and it is unknown whether a competition has been announced for the selection of a new rector, who made the decision to announce it, and how it was all implemented. The fact is that academician Šefket Krcić has been appointed as the new rector.
Rector Bećirović accuses the management of many unlawful actions
Rektor Bećirović calls for preventing further erosion of higher education in the Bosnian-Podrinje Canton, which, he says, is being self-initiated by “one of its founders, Elma Brutus, and self-proclaimed ‘general manager’ of the University, Edina Brutus“, as this position is not known in academic work of any university.
He states that Edina Brutus has completely ruined the work and reception of administrative staff at this university through various methods.
“This will also be confirmed by employees who have made a full contribution to the accreditation of the University, and as a ‘reward’ have been fired. With Edina Brutus, cooperation was possible until the accreditation was obtained, but immediately afterwards she began activities to tarnish the reputation of the University. After obtaining accreditation, the academic staff of the University was also systematically ‘driven away’, because anyone who did not want to ‘obey’, or who thought for themselves, had to leave, so the University, despite having 14 licensed study programs, has only a few teachers in permanent employment, and almost no assistants. All of this indicates that the University currently does not have a satisfactory number of employed teachers, or as many as required by law”, said the rector.
He also claims that, given that he is registered in the court register as the authorised person for representation and representation of this University, Edina Brutus illegally manages all processes at the University, to the extent that she represents this educational institution without authorization in the capacity of the rector.
When asked to comment on the situation at the university, he said he was sick and recovering from surgery.
“If you have received the letter in any way, it says what it says, and I have nothing more to say. I wrote it to protect myself, and that’s it. I am a serious person, I just warned about things”, Bećirović said in a phone conversation.
He couldn’t answer our questions, as he says, because he’s recovering from surgery.
“I would like to be left alone, I have given the information to whom it was necessary”, he added.
Additionally, he accuses Edina Brutus of illegally issuing diplomas and states that the University’s Teaching-Scientific Council and Quality Assurance Committee have not been formed, which puts the reaccreditation of the University in question.
Threats to former employees
The situation at the University, which should educate future academic citizens, is alarming, as evidenced by the threats to former employees who tried to oppose numerous irregularities at this educational institution. Former secretary Melvedin Jašarević resigned due to numerous irregularities. This was the reason, he tells us, for the threats his family received.
Melvedin Jašarević claims that he received serious threats by phone, where even his child was cursed, from Nina Brutus, the son of Edina Brutus.
Jašarević says he reported this threat and believes it is a consequence of his disagreement with irregularities taking place at the university.
“Teaching barely takes place. The Senate, Scientific-Teaching Council, and Quality Assurance Committee are not functioning. The accreditation process has not been functional. There are not enough students in the management bodies of the faculty”, Jašarević said.
We also attempted to obtain a comment from Nina Brutus regarding the alleged threats, but he did not answer our calls.
Edina Brutus, the general manager, denies threats
Former rector’s allegations that Edina Brutis is the real manager of the university who has carried out numerous illegal actions are denied, and she points the finger at Bećirović.
“I can say whatever I want now because they are trying to get out of it and they don’t know how to get out of it now. They are trying to get out of this crime, but they can’t because they have entered into crime deeply. They are trying to wash me through the media, but in fact, they are the ones involved in the crime. I will publicly say at the Senate that the doctor of legal sciences should have his associate professorship removed from this university because he received it here and engaged in criminal activities”, said the general manager of the University.
She claims that she is the one fighting for everything to be in accordance with the law, mentioning the inactivity of Rector Bećirović who did not reside at the university but came occasionally and that the personnel he brought in are questionable.
When we point out that Bećirović is not the only one who is warning about irregularities and illegal actions, and that Secretary Jašarević is also involved, she says that it is because the two of them were working together.
“Because the two of them are in the same package. They did such a criminal act and when we have evidence, all of you journalists will get it. This will be public information because they are now attacking me because they did not work in accordance with the law. I am a general manager where it is not even my job to interfere in the work of the university, neither of the general secretary nor the rector”, Brutus concludes in a telephone conversation with the SPIN info journalist.
Attempted takeover of the university?
During the months of mutual accusations of criminal activities at the university, on December 30, 2022, the Municipal Court in Goražde received a request from the proposer of the International University in Goražde, represented by Rector Hajriz Bećirović, for a change in ownership. The request seeks to replace the current founders, Emir Duranović and Elma Brutus, with the founder of European Education, Research, and Development d.o.o. Zenica in the court registry.
On the other hand, on March 17, 2023, the proposer, the International University in Goražde, represented by Rector Prof. Dr Šefket Krcić, filed a request with the court for a change of authorized representative.
“Informing you that no decision has been made on any of the mentioned applications yet”, says Judge Lejla Ferhatović in response to the University’s request for a confirmation of the change of authorized person (rector).
Founders Elma Brutus, who is the daughter of Edina Brutus, and Emir Duranović asked the court to withdraw the request for a change of ownership because the founders did not give their consent.
“They had to forge the seals of the founders. Someone at the notary did that for them, obtaining the forged signatures of the founders so that they could even file a request for the change of ownership of the University. I will sue anyone who publishes anything to the contrary, against me, and he can have evidence for me, with evidence he can do anything, and I have evidence against him. He has no evidence against me, he can submit all the evidence he has and anything that anyone writes against me will end up in court”, said Brutus.
She believes that Bećirović did everything to take over the university, and was offered a monthly fee of 7,000 KM for the next five years from the new potential owner of the University for this purpose.
Prosecution suspends three investigations
The operation of the university has been the subject of interest and judicial institutions in the past period. The Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office in Goražde received five reports against individuals related to the operations of the International University in Goražde.
“The same related to the criminal offence under Article 390, paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina – Unlawful Collection and Payment, the criminal offence under Article 383, paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina – Abuse of Position or Authority, the criminal offence under Article 369, paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina – False Representation, and the criminal offence under Article 347, paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code of Bosnia and Herzegovina – False Reporting. In three cases, the prosecuting attorney decided to suspend the investigation, while in two cases, the decision was made not to conduct the investigation”, the Prosecutor’s Office stated for SPIN Info.
Regarding the appointment of the teaching staff at the university, the Prosecutor’s Office states that the basic rights and duties of prosecutors include the discovery and prosecution of perpetrators of criminal offences that fall within the jurisdiction of the court, as well as taking necessary measures to investigate and uncover criminal offences as soon as there are grounds for suspicion.
“Given the above, the prosecutor’s office acts when there are grounds for suspicion that a criminal offence has been committed, and grounds for suspicion may arise from witness statements as well as material evidence. In this regard, if there are no grounds for suspicion that a criminal offence has been committed, the prosecutor’s office is not able to act, and therefore cannot verify all the claims that appear in the media space,” they stated.
From the statements of our interlocutors, it is clear that there has been criminal activity, but as for why this is only now being discussed and who is right, the responsible institutions do not yet know. On the other hand, questions arise about the diplomas issued by this university, re-accreditation, and the evaluation of knowledge given the state of the education system in Bosnia and Herzegovina.