Justice Series: Media, Civil Society and War Crime Trials

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Bosnia and Herzegovina
2005 - Present


BIRN BiH’s Justice Series programme is the organisation’s flagship effort that was launched in 2005, which aims to increase understanding of and support for the work of the war crimes trials in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region.



After identifying the past as the main stumbling block for all major issues affecting the country, BIRN BiH became the pioneer in engaging the media and civil society representatives in the reconciliation process. BIRN BiH does not only produce reports and articles via its thematic programme, but it conducts analysis, engages with experts from the field, and most importantly, investigates the institutional mechanisms for tackling the issues of transitional justice.

The Justice Series programme encompasses three core activities for delivery of news and analysis: Justice Report Agency, Radio Justice, and TV Justice. The programme  offers reliable information about war crime trials and transitional justice issues from all the judicial instances of BiH. This information is regularly published on BIRN BiH’s main website, and distributed to over 300 media outlets in the country and worldwide.

BIRN BIH articles that are written as part of this programme are republished on a daily basis in almost all printed media outlets in the country, region and diaspora, as well as in many electronic media outlets.

In addition to the court-side reporting from the Court of BiH and local Cantonal and District courts, the programme includes the following activities: investigative reporting and analysis on local and regional transitional justice efforts; an online archive; coverage of ICTY trials; training activities for media and judiciary, universities, researchers, NGOs and the judiciary, as well as advocacy efforts to promote dialogue between the media and judiciary representatives.

BIRN BiH’s Justice Series programme targets a wide audience, from victims of war crimes to politicians and the international community.

This programme has received funding from the following organisations: the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, the MATRA Program of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency through Civil Rights Defenders, National Endowment for Democracy, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the British Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Foreign Commonwealth Office, the United States Agency for International Development – Justice Sector Development Project II, the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Open Society Fund.

Information Sheet

Main Objective:
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.

Specific Objectives:

BIRN BiH encourages:

  • Establishing publicly available source of information by fighting impunity and promoting justice at the state and local level
  • Maximizing the reconciliatory factor of war crimes trials within divided communities in BiH
  • Facilitating regional reconciliation by providing cross coverage of domestic war crimes processes in the regional media.
  • Facilitating the exchange of experience with different post conflict countries of the world
  • Inclusion of over one million members of the diaspora in justice and reconciliation process by delivering news and stories via BIRN BiH media partners

Main Activities:

  • Court-side reporting form the War Crimes Chamber of the Court of BiH
  • Court-side reporting from 16 local war crime courts within BiH
  • Reporting on transitional justice issues in BiH and the region
  • Conducting in-depth analyses and upholding the principles of investigative journalism
  • Online Archiving
  • Production of Radio Justice magazine
  • Production of TV Justice magazine
  • Coverage of ICTY trials
  • Organization of conferences, trainings, workshops for the media and judicial representatives
  • Advocacy through Association of Court Reporters
  • Capacity building and encouraging dialogue between the judiciary and media at the state and local levels in BiH

Target Groups:

BIRN BiH main beneficiaries and target groups are:

  • Local and regional media and their audiences (i.e. BHRT, FTV, RTRS, HRT, RTS, etc)
  • International media (Aljazeera, BBC, CNN, the Guardian, NYTimes, etc)
  • The war victims associations from across the country
  • Women victims of war and in search of their missing members of family
  • Former male camp detainees
  • Judicial institutions at the State, local Cantonal and District levels
  • Members of International Community in BiH, especially those directly involved in the rule of law and judiciary (OSCE, EU Delegation, OHR, UN agencies, foreign embassies, etc)
  • National and International non-governmental organizations (i.e. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Center for Transitional Justice, TRIAL, etc)
  • Academic institutions and future generations in the country and abroad (USA, Canada, EU countries)
  • Staff of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia


  • The primary material stored in the BIRN BiH archive includes daily reports on war crime trials from courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. They are the baseline for all our other products, such as TV and radio shows, and also serve as a source of inspiration for analyses, the stories of victims and interviews with relevant stakeholders.
  • BIRN BIH also produced two documentary films, “Missing You…” and “Silent Scream.” “Missing You…” depicts the suffering and harsh reality facing people who lost family members during times of peace and war. “Silent Scream” explores the trauma sexual abuse victims still experience twenty years after the end of the Bosnian war.
  • BIRN BIH publications