World News

Envoys accuse Bosnia lawmakers of undermining crime fight

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - International envoys have accused some Bosnian lawmakers of damaging the fight against organised crime, corruption and terrorism by failing to pass a criminal code in line with international standards.

A deadline to bring the code into line has already been missed and the upper house of parliament on Friday further delayed a decision on the issue.

Measures to bolster the rule of law and the fight against organised crime and corruption are among the European Union’s key requirements for countries aspiring to possible membership.

“Rather than passing amendments ... that would have allowed police, prosecutors and judges to better investigate, indict and convict criminals, the House of Peoples delayed the decision,” top peace envoy Valentin Inzko and the U.S. embassy said in a joint statement.

“This is unacceptable.”

The lower house of the parliament has already passed the relevant amendments.

The measures passed by the lower house covered the use of undercover police personnel, communications interception, surveillance and the use of informants.

The envoys accused opposition parties which objected to these changes, including the largest Bosnian Serb SNSD party and the Croat HDZ, of being more interested in party politics than protecting the safety and security of the people.

Disputes among Bosnia’s rival ethnic leaders have nearly halted the country’s progress towards the EU and NATO.

Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Andrew Bolton