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Dialogue between Civil Society and Justice Sector

A public discussion on “structured dialogue between civil society organizations and justice sector institutions” was organized as part of USAID’s “Justice Sector Development Project II”, JSDP.

Prior to the discussion, presentations and technical evaluation of plans for six advocacy campaigns by NGOs, members of the Justice Network of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and USAID’s partners took place.

BIRN BiH presented an advocacy campaign titled “Transparency of Judiciary and Responsibility of the Media”, which it implements in collaboration with the Association of Prosecutors of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Anisa Suceska-Vekic, Director of BIRN Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that the primary goal of the campaign was to raise awareness and improve the public perception of war crimes trials. As said by Suceska-Vekic, another important goal was improving the transparency of courts and prosecutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina through an improved collaboration between judicial institutions and the media.

The activities implemented by BIRN within the scope of this project include the continuous monitoring of trials for war crimes held before entity courts, preparation of analysis and investigative reports, which are published on its web page and broadcast via radio and TV, and production of a documentary dedicated to processing of war crimes before entity courts aimed at presenting all the challenges and influencing the general public.

Round tables for representatives of the media and judiciary from five local communities - Banja Luka, Bihac, Travnik/Novi Travnik, Doboj and Bijeljina – will be organized in collaboration with the Association of Prosecutors of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to acquaint representatives of the media and judicial institutions with the terms responsible media and transparent judiciary in an educative and informative manner by sharing examples and holding discussions.

BIRN BiH and the Association of Prosecutors of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina organized a one-day workshop on that specific subject as part of this year’s Symposium for Prosecutors from Bosnia and Herzegovina that was held in Neum in October. More than a hundred prosecutors from the country and region had a chance to get acquainted with the importance of giving information about the work they do and the mechanisms for acquainting the public with their work. Recommendations and conclusions of this workshop will soon be made available to the public and judicial institutions in the form of guidelines for offering timely information to citizens.

The importance of the activities undertaken by BIRN BiH, in collaboration with partner organizations, was highly valued by participants in the public discussion today, representatives of USAID and international community, as well as state judicial institutions, who offered future cooperation aimed at further developing the project and improving the flow of information related to transitional justice processes.

The activities that form part of the “Transparency of Judiciary and Responsibility of the Media” campaign are implemented with the support from USAID and other donors: Governments of Switzerland and Norway, the National Endowment for Democracy, NED, and Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Those activities are part of a sustained programme on the work of judiciary implemented by BIRN since 2005.

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