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02 November 2010

BIRN Attends Symposium for Prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Erna Mackic, a BIRN BiH journalist, attended the third Symposium for Prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, held in Neum on October 27, 28 and 29.

Mackic spoke in front of more than 100 participants, including representatives of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, about public interest in war crimes processing before judicial institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

She stressed that prosecutors from cantons, districts and the Brcko District should be more open to the general public, and particularly the victims testifying at war crimes trials, whose statements are often the key evidence in the cases.

The symposium participants stressed that it was necessary to establish cooperation between cantonal, district, and federation prosecution offices and the ICTY and improve the existing cooperation with the Prosecution of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Cantonal, district and Brcko District prosecutions will complete the largest number of war crimes cases. It is therefore necessary to establish cooperation with the ICTY, which does not exist at present,” Zdravko Knezevic, Chief Prosecutor with the Federation Prosecution, said.

Amor Bukic, Chief Prosecutor with the Republic Prosecution of Republika Srpska, echoed Knezevic's words.

On the second day of the Symposium prosecutors split into two groups depending on whether they were involved in war crimes or organised crime cases. At the break-out sessions they discussed concrete problems related to support to witnesses, use of evidence and other issues that they face in their work.

The third Symposium for Prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina was organised by the Center for Education of Judges and Prosecutors in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska and Association of Prosecutors of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

It was held in cooperation with the USAID's second Judicial Development Project and the “Justice and War Crimes” project implemented by the OSCE Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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