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27 April 2012

Bihac: Judiciary and Media want open information

Anonymization of court documents related to war crimes cases will lead to lower confidence of people in judicial institutions – this was said by representatives of the Cantonal Court and Prosecution in Bihac and local journalists.

The Balkans Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Association of Court Reporters, AIS, in collaboration with the Association of Prosecutors of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized a meeting with judicial institutions and media from the Una-Sana Canton on April 26 this year.

The meeting participants expressed hope that judicial institutions in Bihac would not be forced to anonymize data about indictees and other persons mentioned in documents related to war-crimes cases , or names of municipalities and institutions, as is done by the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The State Court issued an instruction for anonymization, which protects data related to public institutions, in addition to personal identification data. The instruction was issued after the Agency for Protection of Personal Data of Bosnia and Herzegovina had requested it to anonymize personal data in court documents.

The Bihac meeting participants said that it was necessary to ensure that the anonymization of court documents would be standardized, which means that it should be put back under the scope of the Code on Criminal Proceedings of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has already defined what type of data is considered public or protected.

Representatives of the media and judiciary expressed hope that they would continue the existing good cooperation and that they would respect the norms of professionalism in their work.

On the other hand, they said that the cooperation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Una-Sana Canton needed improvement. The Ministry does not have a spokesperson at present. This brings the media into an unfavourable position.

The workshop in Bihac was organized within a project implemented by BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Association of Prosecutor of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina with support from USAID’s Judicial Sector Development Project.

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