On April 29, 2013, a roundtable“Reducing the fragmentation of the financing of the judiciary in the FBiH as a prerequisite for the establishment of an effective judicial system” was held in Sarajevo. 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 that brings together 64 NGOs active in the justice sector – with technical support from the USAID Justice Sector Development Project II.
The aim of the roundtable is that, through the presetation of the analysis of the existing legal framework for the financing of the judiciary in FBiH and the accompanying discussion, participants make conclusions on key weaknesses and problems in the existing legal framework and to offer possible solutions that would in the shortest time lead to the reduction of the fragmentation of the judiciary and the establishment of an efficient judicial system in the FBiH.
Fragmented financing of judicial institutions is one of key problems for establishing an independent and efficient judiciary in BiH. Currently, budgets for the judiciary are adopted within 14 different budgets (state level, 2 entities, Brčko District and 10 cantons). This funding model puts the courts and prosecutors’ offices in BiH in an unequal position and questions the independence of judicial institutions from the executive. The public perception of the work of courts and prosecutors’ offices is negative, as many as 60.3% of citizens do not believe in the justice system, and 45% believe that judges and prosecutors make decisions under political pressure.
This roundtable is a continuation of activities undertaken by the Common Policy Forum and the members of the Justice Network following the signing of the Letter of Commitment, with the aim of strengthening the partnership between the government and non-governmental sectors, which will be the backbone for restoring citizens’ confidence in the justice system of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the future.
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, a total of 20 participants and lecturers.
During the roundtable, the lecturers gave presentations on topics: “Reducing the fragmentation of the judiciary funding in the FBiH” – Damir Balić, HJPC; “Judicial Effectiveness in Financing Judicial Institutions” – Jasminka Bratić, Ministry of Justice, Administration and Local Self-Government of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton; and Božana Banduka, President of the Federation of Judges of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Zdravko Knežević, Chief Prosecutor of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the topic “Adequate Financing as a Prerequisite for the Smooth Conduct of Regular Judicial and Prosecutorial Activities”.
Based on the previously mentioned presentations and discussions of participants and exhibitors, the consequences of fragmented financing of the judiciary were pointed out and conclusions and recommendations were made:
The consequences of fragmented financing of judicial institutions are:
- Uneven financing of institutions, depending on the source of funding;
- The gap between generating of needs of institutions and sources of funding;
- Inability to establish uniform standards in line with EU standards;
- Inability to implement state-level strategies and policies;
- Inability to achieve the principle of equal access to justice for all parties.
Recommendations and Conclusions:
- Improve the material and technical working conditions of the judiciary in order to increase the independence and efficiency of the judicial system;
- Raise funding from the current cantonal to a higher level (e.g. the federal level) in order to harmonize the working conditions of all judicial institutions;
- Amend the Law on Public Revenue in order to allocate more money to the judiciary in line with the budgetary requirements of the judicial authorities, regardless of the impact of the economic situation in the cantons whose citizens are provided with judicial services;
- Manage responsibly the entrusted resources and/or judicial budgets in order to increase citizens’ confidence in the work of judicial institutions and to convince the legislative and executive authorities of the need and benefits of the proposed changes to the funding system.
The list of participants can be downloaded here: Lista-ucesnika-i-predavaca-okrugli-sto-29.4.2013
 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, the signing of a Letter of Commitment between the Common Policy Forum and the Justice Network on working together on the adoption and implementation of the Law on Free Legal Aid of BiH was held.