A roundtable on “Judicial Reform and the Protection of Human Rights in BiH: Slow processes and limited results” was held on Monday, July 22, 2013 at the Grand Hotel Conference Room 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 roundtable presented recommendations from five studies that are an integral part of the publication Human Rights and Justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Report on the Implementation of the BiH Judicial Recommendations of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for the period 2012-2013. These studies were done, prepared and presented during the roundtable by:
- Elma Demir: Presentation of Recommendations from the Study “At What Cost? Court costs, access to justice and free legal aid in BiH ”;
- Adrijana Hanušić: Presentation of Recommendations from the Study “Short Deadlines for Exercising Judicial Protection Against Discrimination – An Obstacle to Effective Protection Against Discrimination”;
- Nina Šeremet and Nedim Jahić: Presentation of Recommendations from the Study on the Position of Human Rights Defenders in Returnee Communities in 2012;
- Amra Mehmedić and Midhat Izmirlija: Presentation of Recommendations from the Study “Right to Compensation for Victims of Crimes with Elements of Violence” and Presentation of Recommendations from the Study “Memorials in BiH – The Road to Achieving Transitional Justice Goals or Stumbling Blocks?”
The aim of the roundtable was to present, through the presentation of the recommendations from the five studies and the accompanying discussion, the possible solutions of public policies in the above mentioned areas and to encourage better cooperation and coordination of activities of all actors from public institutions, civil society and the international community in order to improve judicial protection of human rights in BiH.
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 32 participants and exhibitors.
Based on the presented presentations and discussions of the participants and exhibitors, the following problems in the mentioned areas were pointed out:
- The deadlines for obtaining judicial protection against discrimination in BiH are too short, both from the perspective of victims, as well as international standards and good comparative practice.
- The current Anti-Discrimination Law is as incomplete as the Law on Free Legal Aid, especially in the part concerning the role of NGOs in the process of providing legal assistance in cases of discrimination. Insufficient cooperation with government institutions in monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the Law, lack of a Central database on discrimination cases.
- From the point of view of compensations for the reform of the criminal legislation in BiH in 2003, the position of the victim – the victim in the criminal procedure – was significantly weakened.
- There is no single method of legal regulation in the field of memorialization.
- Social exclusion, unequal access to social services, and a lack of adequate measures to ensure sustainable return were noted.
Additionally, through the presentation, the methodology of the work of the working group on drafting the publication was presented: “Human Rights and Justice in BiH – Report on the Implementation of Recommendations in the BiH Judicial Sector from the United Nations Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council, 2012-2013“.
The agenda of the roundtable can be downloaded here: Agenda-OS-UPP-22072013