BIRN BiH’s objective is to contribute to the establishment of truth and reconciliation by offering impartial information about war crime trials and other pillars of transitional justice.
BIRN’s Justice Series programme aims to bridge the gap between judicial institutions, security organisations and local government, and the citizens of BiH through timely, objective and reliable reporting on the issues of the past.
By dealing effectively with issues of the past it will also contribute to the overall social, political, and economic progress of BiH.
To date through this programme, BIRN BiH has produced over 401 issues of Justice Report weekly magazine and written over 30,000 court-side reports, analysis and investigation in English and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian language The BIRN team has also produced over 2,700 radio reports and investigative reportages, and 48 TV Justice magazines.
During 2013 400,000 people viewed BIRN BiH’s new and redesigned www.justice-report.com website. The majority of visitors were from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United States, Croatia, Serbia, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Russia and Australia. Together with its regional outlet over one million people worldwide read Balkan Insight BIRN BiH’s articles.
BIRN BiH recorded 8,000 republications in other media. Some of the leading web portals indicated BIRN BiH’s Justice Report as the main source of information for war crime trials and transitional justice in BiH. News outlets such as klix.ba, radiosarajevo.ba, avaz.ba, Oslobodjenje, etc receive millions of readers each day. In addition, close to 18,000 direct newsletter subscribers receive BIRN BiH's publications.
Justice Report is republished daily by Orbus magazine, which is read by Bosnian citizens living in Scandinavian countries, BOSTEL radio and television in Chicago and Peta Strana Svijeta magazine in New York.
Over 140 radio stations in the country obtain BIRN BiH's daily and weekly magazines, close to 50% of the stations regularly air the radio programme, especially as a part of their morning and evening news segments.
27 independent stations in BiH broadcast TV Justice, including the BiH public broadcasters (BHRT, FTV, and RTRS), reaching estimated share of 21.6%.
In addition, BIRN BiH has been a leading facilitator of the dialogue between media and judiciary. It successfully realized publicly acclaimed ‘Stop Censorship About War Crimes’ campaign aimed at halting the anonymisation of verdicts, indictments, and other audio-video material at the Court of BiH. Furthermore, it prevented adoption of an amendment to the Freedom of Access to Information Law that would seriously jeopardize principles of transparency and limit access to public records. In the past BIRN BiH was also successful in introducing amendments to the existing Press Code of the BiH Press Council and the rules for journalists reporting on war crimes trials.
In cooperation with other BIRN offices in the region, BIRN BiH released its second feature film this year. The film entitled: The Majority Starts Here was screened in all the capitals of the former Yugoslavia as well as along with the 6 episode serial on Aljazeera Balkans. In September 2009, BIRN BiH organised the first regional conference dedicated to court transparency and the responsibility of the media, which brought together all the major actors from ex-Yugoslavia and worldwide.
BIRN BiH so far published 7 publications about the work of the Court of BiH, and the media coverage of the arrests and commencement of trials to Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic.
BIRN BiH's work in the field of war crimes prosecutions and transitional justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina is featured several times in a new book by Sarajevo-based law professor and human rights activist Goran Simic. The book, entitled: War Crime Trials in BiH is about the issues faced by people living in a post-conflict society.
BIRN BiH’s findings and analysis had been referenced in the official reports of: Impunity Watch, TRIAL, Swiss Association Against Impunity, Human Rights Watch, University College London School of Slavonic and East European Studies, Global Investigative Journalism Network, ICTY.
During 2013, approximately 80 cases were tried before the Court of BiH and 70 cases before the local Cantonal and District courts in BiH. All case pages were added to BIRN BiH’s online and bilingual one of a kind archive. In total, BIRN BiH trial monitors and court reporters covered 691 witness testimonies/appearances in 421 trial sessions over the course of the year.