Transparency of Judiciary and Responsibility of Media

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Bosnia and Herzegovina
2005 - Present


Through its judicial transparency project, BIRN BiH aims to increase understanding of and support for the work of the State and Cantonal and District courts processing war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


The project, which was launched in 2005, provides in-depth analysis of local courts and training to journalists. BIRN BiH analyses the level of transparency at local courts and prosecution offices and formulates recommendations for the smoother and more efficient processing of war crimes.

Through these activities, BIRN BiH promotes public awareness of war crimes trials, bringing the country closer to establishing truth and reconciliation. By dealing effectively with issues of the past it also contributes to Bosnia’s progress with Euro-Atlantic integration.

With this project, BIRN BiH works to maximize awareness of the work of local courts dealing with war crimes through objective, fair reporting.

As part of this project, the BIRN BiH team founded and runs the Bosnian Association of Court Reporters, and has conducted more than 50 workshops and trainings in local communities for representatives of the judiciary and media.

The project is supported through institutional grants from the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, and the MATRA Program of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition, the project has received support from the United States Agency for International Development – Justice Sector Development Project II, and Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

Information Sheet

Main Objective:
BIRN BiH works to provide a comprehensive source of information open to the public, researchers and media, and involve Bosnian citizens and the wartime diaspora in the justice and reconciliation process. By making information available to the public, BIRN BiH advocates for a more efficient and transparent judiciary and public trust in judicial institutions.

Specific Objectives:

To maximize the awareness and knowledge of the work of local courts dealing with war crimes, among the target groups through objective, and fair reporting.

To conduct a progress report on the work of the local courts dealing with war crimes, ensuring that they are not left behind in the judiciary reform processes.

To seek common solutions to sector-wide needs and problems.

To incite constructive dialog between stakeholders including the judiciary, civil society, media and international community.

To involve BIH citizens and the wartime diaspora in the justice and reconciliation process, as key victims and witnesses, but also a vital factor in BiH’s community and future development.

Main Activities:

The BIRN BiH team also conducts progress reports on the work of the local courts, and seeks common solutions to sector-wide needs. BIRN BiH encourages constructive dialog between stakeholders in the judiciary, civil society, media and international community through workshops and trainings in local communities.
Target Groups:
The judicial transparency and media responsibility project targets the general public as well as local, regional and international media and judicial institutions, and civil society groups, local governments, and international policy-makers.
They include local journalists, editors of media outlets, public relations officers of the courts, prosecutor offices, and police, judges and prosecutors, as well as an OSCE representative.

BIRN BiH’s advocacy programme has been a leading facilitator of the dialogue between media and judiciary at the local and state level.BIRN BiH founded the Association of Court Reporters (AiS). Together we organize a series of meetings between local media and representatives of the judiciary each year. In 2013, BIRN BiH – AiS meetings were held in Travnik, Eastern Sarajevo, Doboj, Trebinje, Brcko District, and Sarajevo. Since the start of the project, BIRN BiH organized more than 70 workshops in local communities for representatives of judiciary and media.

BIRN BiH was the first organization in the country to notice the Court of BiH’s adoption of the Rulebook on Access to Information, and Instructions on Anonymization of Courts Decisions, Audio/Video Recordings from Trials and publicly address it.

Through the transparency project and consistent campaigning against censorship, BIRN BiH has succeeded in making the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council in BiH (HJPC) to adopt a decision that should put an end to anonymisation of indictments, verdicts, and other courts’ audio-visual material. The decision is expected to be released in 2014.

BIRN BiH and AiS managed to introduce amendments to the existing Press Code of the BiH Press Council and the rules for journalists reporting on war crimes trials. It has also been a leading facilitator of the dialogue between media and judiciary at the local and state level.

In September 2009, BIRN BiH organised the first regional conference dedicated to judiciary transparency and the responsibility of the media, which brought together all the major actors from ex-Yugoslavia.

BIRN BiH established a partnership with FBiH Association of Prosecutors in order to have better impact on judiciary representatives over workshops that will be organized in the following years.