The United States will "increase communication with its European partners to ensure effective sanctions against Bosnia and Herzegovina citizens involved in corruption," Croatian state agency Hina said on Friday, citing a press release by the US Embassy in Sarajevo.
Earlier this week, Ambassador Eric Nelson met with the ambassadors of Austria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom “to discuss tools, methods, and best practices in supporting a better future for all BiH citizens by holding corrupt actors accountable,” the embassy said.
“U.S. Embassy Sarajevo committed to increasing information sharing with like-minded partners concerning the activities of corrupt actors and make it more difficult for corrupt BiH actors to take their ill-gotten gains and invest them abroad; to stand up for anti-corruption champions within BiH including public servants, investigative journalists, and civil society; and to continue public engagement against corruption and its negative impact on BiH.”
On Thursday, Nelson announced a resolute enforcement of the Joe Biden administration’s policy to punish everyone in the Balkans involved in corruption.
He said the US saw corruption as a threat to its national security and that it would treat everyone involved accordingly. The sanctions will primarily consist of a denial of travel visas, he added.
“As part of its commitment to holding corrupt actors accountable, US Embassy Sarajevo is implementing new steps to cancel or deny visas for travel to the United States for business or tourism for individuals involved in corruption,” the embassy said.
BiH Presidency member Milorad Dodik has a ban on travel to the U.S. since 2017, when he was marked as a person obstructing the implementation of the Dayton peace agreement. His close associate Nikola Spiric, a former BiH prime minister, is also banned from travelling to the US, which marked him as involved in serious corruption, although no criminal proceedings have been instigated against him in BiH.
Amir Zukic, a former secretary-general of the Bosniak Party of Democratic Action, can’t travel to the US either due to involvement in corruption.