PRESIDENT OF B&H COURT

Disciplinary proceedings against Ranko Debevec have ended: He has been hiding real estate in Spain for 14 years

Ranko Debevec is charged with inappropriate and intentional contact with ISA Director Osman Mehmedagić Osmica, putting pressure on prosecutor Vedrana Mijović and hiding real estate in Spain

Admir Aljimi

Closing remarks were made today

Foto: Avaz


Before the Disciplinary Commission of the HJPC, chaired by Avdija Avdić, along with members Srđan Forca and Lejla Hadžić, a closing argument was held today in the disciplinary proceedings against Ranko Debevec, President of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, charged with disciplinary offenses that damaged the B&H Court's reputation.

The Office of the Disciplinary Prosecutor (UDT) filed a lawsuit against him on April 2nd this year. With that report, he was charged with inappropriate and intentional contact with Osman Mehmedagić Osmica, putting pressure on prosecutor Vedrana Mijović and hiding information in his annual financial report, ie the fact that he owns real estate in Spain.

Prior to the hearing, Chairman Avdić spoke at the request of Vasvija Vidović and Senka Nožica, Debevec's lawyers, regarding the exclusion of the public when it comes to the testimonies of two witnesses, during whose testimony the public was excluded. The presiding judge decided not to talk about these witnesses, but that both parties in the proceedings could submit their statements about them in writing.

Couple of disciplinary sanctions

In her closing remarks, Chief Disciplinary Prosecutor Alena Kurspahić-Nadarević emphasized that the UDT had fully proven Ranko Debevec's disciplinary responsibility and suggested to the Commission that one or more disciplinary sanctions be imposed on him.

-In the first point of the lawsuit, we stated that during December 2020, Debevec met in Branilaca Sarajeva Street at number 45 with Osman Mehmedagić, Director General of the Intelligence and Security Agency of B&H, after which they went together to private premises at the entrance to the address at owned by M. A. At the time of the defendant's meeting with the Director of ISA, a criminal case was pending before the Court of B&H, with which the public was informed on the basis of media reports, initiated by the indictment of the Prosecutor's Office of B&H, confirmed on November 4th, 2020. The information about the meeting between the defendant and Mehmedagić was published by several electronic and written media - Kurspahić-Nadarević stated in her closing remarks and continued:

-Before we embark on further analysis of the evidence, it is necessary to state that the defendant has made certain facts indisputable. Thus, in response to the lawsuit, it was stated that the defendant did not dispute that he met with Mehmedagić and that they went to the premises together. The defendant's witness also states that this meeting took place in the described manner. From the evidence, which is a video, it can be seen that Debevec and Mehmedagić meet in front of the house, go inside and return the same way together. As it further follows from the evidence, which is the information of the Prosecutor's Office of B&H, in December there was also the main trial of the accused Mehmedagić, and that search was announced in January. This was reported by the most popular media in B&H and the general public was aware of its existence. It follows that the President of the Court of B&H must have been acquainted with such a high-profile court procedure.

Compromising footage

During the proceedings, there was a lot of controversy about the legality of the compromising video showing Debevec and Osmica, although part of the facts that want to be established by this evidence is indisputable.

The prosecutor then referred to the case-law on the admission of evidence concerning videos excluded from video surveillance.

-Lawyers pointed out that the video of Mehmedagić and Debevec was obtained contrary to the Law on Personal Data Protection, because there was no notice that there was video surveillance in that facility. Contrary to this view, there is no evidence that they approached the Personal Data Protection Agency or that this agency found that their right had been violated. UDT is familiar with the position of the Court of B&H that, if "citizens understood that norm as Debevec understands, then no company, shop or institution would have video surveillance to record who enters and who leaves" - stated Kurspahić-Nadarević.

In her closing argument, the prosecutor further mentioned Debevec's pressure on prosecutor Vedrana Mijović, to whom he sent inappropriate messages.

-Vedrana, I hear you're looking for an insight into my CMS account and file. What are the reasons? Thank you Vedrana for the SC Ministry of the Interior and for terrorizing and checking a woman who has nothing to do with the Lijanović's or buying a small Mercedes from them. Say hello to Gordana. You are doing illegal things that totally have no basis in any law. You take out the documentation and research people who have nothing to do with that story right now. You ask the Court for orders and let the Court approve the seizure of documents if there are grounds for suspicion that I am a criminal - said Debevec in a message to prosecutor Mijović - the prosecutor read.

The evidence presented showed that the content of the messages was indisputable, she added.

Messages with inappropriate content

- As follows from the testimony of prosecutor Mijović, she did not file a complaint because Debevec was threatening her, but because the content of the messages was inappropriate - Kurspahić-Nadarević explained.

Also, the prosecutor said that Debevec during the submission of his annual financial report as a holder of judicial office for 14 years did not list the property in Spain.

- He relented from 2004 to 2020, while he was a cantonal prosecutor and a prosecutor of the State Prosecutor's Office, then a judge and president of the Court of B&H. He did not do so intentionally, although in the form for the financial report he must state the fact that he owns real estate worth 5,000 to 20,000 KM. From the material evidence of the UDT obtained by the RS Ministry of the Interior, it was determined that the value of the real estate in Spain is higher than 70,000 euros, which is significantly more than the legal threshold. We remind you that the holders of first-instance functions sign these forms under full criminal and material responsibility - the prosecutor concluded.

On the other hand, lawyers Vasvija Vidović and Senka Nožica, in presenting their closing arguments, emphasized that during the proceedings, UDT did not prove Debevec's responsibility for the disciplinary offenses for which he is charged.

Lawyer Vidović explained that the nature of the job of the President of the Court of B&H is to have contact with the Director of ISA.

- This footage did not violate judicial ethics. There are no violations of ethics in the factual description of the lawsuit. It is not disputed that they met or that proceedings were conducted against Mehmedagić, but the specificity of the performance of the duties of the two is as follows. At the time, Debevec was not the acting prosecutor in any of the cases. It is also the duty of the President of the Court to collect classified information. At that time, Mehmedagić was not banned from performing any activities. In that situation, Debevec could not turn his back and leave when he saw Mehmedagić. So, these are functions for which there are no working hours. That meeting was not even held in the manner described in the disciplinary lawsuit - Vidović explained.

He took a loan

Defendant Debevec also addressed the Disciplinary Commission, saying that in his case no motive had been established for him to commit a disciplinary offense because he had acquired the property through a loan before entering the judicial office.

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