World Justice Project Rule of Law Index: BiH ranked 60th in the world, but third in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia

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The World Justice Project published the Rule of Law Index 2019, which measures rule of law adherence in 126 countries and jurisdictions worldwide based on more than 120,000 household and 3,800 expert surveys. 

Bosnia and Herzegovina is ranked 60th in the world with the overall score of 0.53, well below Slovenia (ranked 26th), Croatia (42nd) and Macedonia (56th), but way above Albania (ranked 71st) and Serbia (78th). Montenegro and Kosovo were not included in the survey.

Furthermore, Bosnia and Herzegovina is ranked third in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, behind only Georgia and Macedonia, as well as 17th in the group of ‘Upper Middle Income Countries’, behind the likes of Costa Rica, Namibia, Mauritius, Botswana and South Africa.

The WJP Rule of Law Index measures countries’ rule of law performance across eight factors: constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice, and criminal justice.

‘Constraint on Government Powers’ measures the extent to which those who govern are bound by law. “It comprises the means, both constitutional and institutional, by which the powers of the government and its officials and agents are limited and held accountable under the law. It also includes non-governmental checks on the government’s power, such as a free and independent press”, explained the World Justice Project. Bosnia and Herzegovina is ranked 96th among 126 countries included in the survey.

The second factor, ‘Absence of Corruption’, considers three forms of corruption: bribery, improper influence by public or private interests, and misappropriation of public funds or other resources, which are examined with respect to government officers in the executive branch, the judiciary, the military, police, and the legislature. BiH is ranked 72nd in the world.

‘Open Government’ measures the openness of government defined by the extent to which a government shares information, empowers people with tools to hold the government accountable, and fosters citizen participation in public policy deliberations. Bosnia and Herzegovina is ranked 73rd.

Factor No. 4, ‘Fundamental Rights’, focuses on a relatively modest menu of rights that are firmly established under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and are most closely related to rule of law concerns. BiH is ranked 53rd in the world.

‘Order and Security’ measures how well a society ensures the security of persons and property. Bosnia and Herzegovina is ranked 48th among 126 countries included in the survey.

The sixth factor, ‘Regulatory Enforcement’, measures the extent to which regulations are fairly and effectively implemented and enforced. “This factor does not assess which activities a government chooses to regulate, nor does it consider how much regulation of a particular activity is appropriate. Rather, it examines how regulations are implemented and enforced”, stated the World Justice Project. BiH is ranked 71st in the world.

‘Civil Justice’ measures whether ordinary people can resolve their grievances peacefully and effectively through the civil justice system. It measures whether civil justice systems are accessible and affordable as well as free of discrimination, corruption, and improper influence by public officials; whether court proceedings are conducted without unreasonable delays and if decisions are enforced effectively; and accessibility, impartiality, and effectiveness of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. Bosnia and Herzegovina is once again ranked 71st.

And finally, factor number eight, ‘Criminal Justice’, evaluates country’s criminal justice system, taking into consideration the entire system, including the police, lawyers, prosecutors, judges, and prison officers. Bosnia and Herzegovina is ranked 50th among 126 countries included in the survey.  

The new WJP Rule of Law Index scores show that more countries declined than improved in overall rule of law performance for the second year in a row, continuing a negative slide toward weaker rule of law around the world.

The top three overall performers in the 2019 WJP Rule of Law Index were Denmark, Norway, and Finland.