BIRN BiH holds round table on War Crimes Chamber in Bihac

BIRN BiH organised a round table in Bihac, north-west BiH, on October 13 as part of its Transitional Justice project to stimulate dialogue between the new War Crimes Chamber and the Bosnian public.

More than 40 representatives from non-governmental organisations, local government, victims associations and lawyers from BiH’s two entities attended the event for a day-long discussion on the role of the WCC in dealing with Bosnia’s past.

Speakers included representatives of the state court’s registry, prosecution, defence and Ootreach sections, as well as Hague tribunal officials, cantonal judges and prosecutors from the Bihac region.

They addressed an audience from Bihac, Cazin, Prijedor, Banja Luka, Drvar, Jajce and Sanski Most. Other events within this phase of BIRN’s Transitional Justice project are scheduled to take place in Brcko on October 27 and Sarajevo on November 10.

The Transitional Justice project is supported by the Swiss embassy in Sarajevo with the assistance of the Office of the Registrar and Prosecution within the State Court of BiH.

For more information, please contact Nerma Jelacic

War Crimes Debate in Brcko District

BIRN BiH’s series of Transitional Justice events for civil society leaders continued last week with a round-table debate in Brcko on October 29.

Designed to stimulate dialogue between the new War Crimes Chamber and the public, the event brought together more than 40 representatives of non-governmental organisations, local government, victims associations and lawyers from BiH’s north-east.

The Transitional Justice project is supported by the Swiss embassy in Sarajevo with the assistance of the Office of the Registrar and Prosecution within the State Court of BiH. For more information, please contact Nerma Jelacic.

War Crimes Conference

BIRN BiH is organising a conference on November 10 entitled “In Pursuit of Justice: An overview of progress in the transitional justice system of BiH”.

The conference is the concluding part of the 2005 Transitional Justice Project, run by BIRN to prepare the media and civil society sector in BiH for the start of trials at the State Court of BiH and the transfer of cases from the Hague tribunal, ICTY, to Sarajevo.

Speakers include Carla Del Ponte, chief prosecutor of the ICTY, Medzida Kreso, president of the State Court of BiH, Marinko Jurcevic, BiH chief prosecutor, Slobodan Kovac, BiH Minister of Justice, Michael Johnson, chief registrar at the State Court and Nicholas Koumjian, special adviser to the BiH chief prosecutor.

The event, sponsored by the Swiss Embassy in Sarajevo, will take place on November 10 at the Sarajevo Holiday Inn hotel. For more information, contact BIRN’s office in Sarajevo on 033 444 951 or e-mail Nerma Jelacic.

Norway to Fund BIRN BiH Justice Project in 2006

The Norwegian Embassy in Sarajevo has generously provided BIRN BiH with funding to launch the next phase of its Justice Project.

In 2006, BIRN BiH plans to produce a weekly report on local war crimes trials and facilitate wide public debate on the war crimes justice process amongst Bosnians at home and in the substantial diaspora.

For more information on how to get involved in supporting this project, contact BIRN BiH Director Nerma Jelacic.

BIRN BiH to Launch War Crimes Legal Manual

BIRN BiH will this month publish its manual on the War Crimes Chamber in Sarajevo.

The guidebook, in both Bosnian and English languages, will be distributed to media outlets and civil society groups throughout BiH as well as selected organisations in Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro.

Designed to aid journalists and NGO representatives following local war crimes trials, the book explains the statute, structure and mandate of the newly formed court, as well as legal issues, changes to the country’s criminal procedure and special provisions recently introduced for witnesses.

Publication of the guidebook will mark the end of BIRN BiH’s year-long Transitional Justice project which was kindly sponsored by the Swiss Embassy in Sarajevo. The guidebook as well as BIRN BiH’s plans for the following year will be launched at a special event in January.
For more information on BIRN BiH’s Justice Project, please contact BIRN BiH Director Nerma Jelacic.

BIRN BiH Launches Guidebook to Local War Crimes Court & Court Reporter’s Association

More than 70 representatives of the Court of BiH, the media and local governmental and non-governmental organizations attended the promotion in Sarajevo’s Art Gallery, which was sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, KAS.

The guidebook was produced by BIRN BiH as part of its 2005 Justice Project during which more than 30 journalists and 200 NGOs were trained and prepared to follow the work of the local War Crimes Chamber.

So far the only text on the new court, it has been given out to media and NGOs throughout the country and the region. It will soon be accessible on-line on BIRN’s website.

At the same event, BIRN and KAS, together with local journalists announced the formation of a Court Reporter’s Association, CRA. Under the guidance of BIRN and in partnership with KAS, CRA will in 2006 keep working to improve the relationship between the media and court.

BIRN BiH also presented its activities for 2006, which include creating a specialised news agency to follow trials at the Court of BiH, a series of conferences on justice and reconciliation throughout BiH, and engagement of the country’s considerable diaspora in the justice process.

For more information on BIRN BiH’s Justice projects, please contact Nerma Jelacic.

BIRN Regional Network Board to Meet

The members of BIRN’s regional board are to meet in Sarajevo from February 18 to 23.

At this, its first official meeting since BIRN was fully launched last autumn as an independent organisation, the Regional Network Director Anna McTaggart will report on activities to date and issues for 2006.

The Board will also instruct the Director on the further strengthening of inter-organisational relations between the seven members of the BIRN Network.

For more information on the BIRN Network, please contact BIRN Regional Network Director Anna McTaggart.

Justice Report launched in Bosnia

BIRN BiH on March 6 launched a specialised news agency, designed to cover war crimes trials before Bosnia and Herzegovina’s State Court.

The new service, Justice Report, is dedicated to bringing local war crimes trials closer to the citizens of BiH and the wider region through accurate, objective and prompt reporting.

Besides covering the trials and their impact on society, the agency will also concentrate on developments within the Bosnian judiciary, and the impact of the country’s transitional justice model on other states facing similar daunting tasks.

Produced in the Bosnian and English languages, Justice Report will be available free of charge to local and regional media and interested individuals.

Justice Report is an integral part of BIRN BiH’s activities in 2006 aimed at promoting truth, justice and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

If you are interested in receiving Justice Report by email, or for more information, please contact BIRN BiH country director Nerma Jelacic.

This project is currently funded by the Norwegian foreign ministry.