Strengthening judicial responses to serious and organised crime and impunity in BiH

Building on the success of the first phase of this project, which ran from 2019 to 2022, the AIRE Centre, with the support of the UK government, continues to work to strengthen the capacity of the judicial system in BiH to fight crime in a more effective and transparent way.

The aims and activities of the project are informed by several studies which were conducted at the outset of the project, in collaboration with the senior courts in BiH, to understand the areas which required the greatest intervention. For example, judicial transparency, the use of special investigative measures in Serious Organised Crime cases, detention standards and rulings in femicide cases.

The core project activities include analysis of judgments and judicial practice to monitor compatibility with relevant international standards, as well as to analyse the level of harmonisation across different entity jurisdictions and at BiH state level. Such analysis is used to inform and create training tools and events where there is an identified need. We collaborate closely with key domestic institutions, such as the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HJPC) and encourage their use of harmonisation panels in the criminal justice sphere as well as assisting to review their guidelines on matters relevant to the project, such as the guidelines for publishing court and prosecutorial decisions.

We have also established an effective working partnership with courts in the United Kingdom, including the UK Supreme Court, who share knowledge and best practice from the UK to inform the development of effective communications strategies and methods of increasing judicial transparency within the BiH courts.

As part of the Project, we have successfully established the annual Judicial Forum for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Legal Chronical, a court decisions in BiH and a Portal of Judicial Practice of the highest courts.

Key aims of the project include:

  • Improve the capacity of the BiH judicial system to effectively and transparently prosecute cases of Serious and Organised Crime.
  • Ensure that BiH criminal justice legislation is implemented in line with relevant international standards, including the BiH’s international human rights commitments, primarily the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
  • Increase the transparency of the judicial system, for example through the development of an effective external communications strategy for the judicial institutions, with the aim to:
    • Prevent engagement in serious and organised crime; and
    • Protect both potential victims of crime and state institutions from political abuse and corruption.
  • Support the judiciary to provide better protection and redress for victims of crime.