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.

MDLF Assistance at BIRN Board Meeting Takes Network Forward

The Media Development Loan Fund generously granted assistance to BIRN at its February 19-22 board meeting, with legal expert Milan Lukic advising on corporate structuring to respond to BIRN’s strategic plans.

Board members who gathered in Sarajevo, BIRN’s regional headquarters, successfully put in motion a process which will refine Network relations and establish a commercial subsidiary.

BIRN, a close group of six territorially-based non-governmental organisations, plus a regional coordinating ‘hub’, plans to part-finance its projects by generating income through its expanding editorial output.

For more information on BIRN’s sustainability plans, contact BIRN Regional Network Director Anna McTaggart.

Kosovo Documentary in High Demand

Following the final regional premiere of Does Anyone Have a Plan? on February 20 in Sarajevo, BIRN has received dozens of requests for special screenings and debates, as well as television broadcasts.

Already shown at primetime on Radio Television Serbia, Radio Television Kosovo, Macedonia’s Channel 5 and Bulgaria’s bTV, the film is now to be broadcast on all main BiH channels and dozens of local stations throughout the region.

A large number of embassies, NGOs and international organisations in the Balkans are making special screenings and debates, while internationally, prestigious academic institutions such as the Central European University in Budapest, University College London, the London School of Economics, and Oxford University are doing the same.

BIRN is furthermore actively entering the documentary in international film festivals, and will get its first such showing on March 23 at the “It’s All True” Documentary Film Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

All requests for information about the film, screening or broadcasting it, as well as DVD copies in English, Bosnian, Serbian, Albanian and Macedonian languages, please contact BIRN Regional Network Director Anna McTaggart.

This project was financed by the Swiss foreign ministry.

Nerma Jelacic Takes Part in an Expert Panel in the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina

BIRN BiH director, Nerma Jelacic, took part in an expert panel at a training session of young Bosnian lawyers in the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina on May 20.

Organised by the Criminal Defence Section, the conference gathered students of law from across the country and examined the role of the state court in trials for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Jelacic spoke about the need for open trials and the role of the media and civil society groups in the rule of law.

Other speakers were judges, prosecutors, defence lawyers and international experts on humanitarian law.