The roundtable was organized by the Association for Democratic Initiatives (ADI) and the Human Rights Center in Sarajevo on behalf of the Justice Network – an informal network bringing together 64 non-governmental organizations active in the justice sector – with technical support from the USAID Justice Sector Development Project II. The roundtable was attended by leading representatives of the judiciary and the executive, as well as representatives of civil society, media and international organizations in BiH.
This roundtable is the first activity undertaken by the Common Policy Forum and the members of the Justice Network following the signing of a letter of commitment, aimed at strengthening the partnership between the government and non-governmental sectors.
During the roundtable, participants and exhibitors presented analyzes of the current state of legal aid in BiH and identified deficiencies in the existing legal framework regarding the Law on Free Legal Aid in BiH.
At the roundtable participants discussed the most important aspects of access to justice, namely access to legal aid for all categories of population, including the most economically disadvantaged, who cannot afford to pay for legal services. Furthermore, it was emphasized that there is still no framework law on free legal aid at the level of BiH that would give all its citizens equal access to justice.
The conclusion and recommendation from the roundtable is that the Offices and Centers providing free legal aid are very important and that it is of great importance to support their work, and that it is important to foster stronger partnerships between the government and non-governmental sectors, which will be the backbone in the future citizens’ trust in the justice system of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Common Policy Forum is a body composed of representatives of the Ministry of Justice of BiH and the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of BiH, formed with the aim of achieving better coordination, advancing policies and accelerating the development of reforms in the justice sector.
On February 5, 2013, a Letter of Obligation was signed between the Common Policy Forum and the Justice Network on working together to adopt and implement the Law on Free Legal Aid of BiH.