ENSURING CONTINUITY OF THE REFORMS IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA THROUGH BETTER COORDINATED JUSTICE SECTOR POLICY DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION

With its complex governmental structure and a multitude of justice sector stakeholders all of whom are burdened by ambiguous inter-institutional mandates and responsibilities, and sometimes rival agendas and opposing interests, the justice sector in BiH faces a myriad of problems. The fact that the Justice Sector Reform Strategy 2014-2018 (JSRS) was adopted in September 2015, the second year of the period covered by the same strategy, while the JSRS Action Plan outlining the implementation of the reforms was adopted in March 2017 indicated that, from the very beginning, the justice sector reform has been plagued with the coordination problems and the lack of true dedication to the reform.

Experience of European countries with complex governmental structures has shown that proper coordination and consultation mechanisms and capacities are the key prerequisites for a functional and coherent sector. These mechanisms need to be based on the regular sharing of information and a solid framework of formal and informal relationships at political and technical level between all relevant sector stakeholders. However, the justice sector in BiH is currently largely missing such mechanisms and capacities, although they have been layed down in the strategic documents.  Therefore, it is crucial to support their establishment and to make these capabilities operational in the shortest possible period of time.

Vasa prava BiH and the coalition of civil society organizations(CSO) have established a strong foothold in the justice sector through its monitoring and assessment of reform process so the Ministry of Security has signed the Memorandum on Establishing the Mechanism for Monitoring and Evaluation of the JSRS with the CSO coalition. The CSO conclusions and policy recommendations on the necessity of prolonging the implementation of the JSRS Action Plan until the year 2020 were adopted by the ministers of justice at the Third Ministerial Conference in March 2018. These efforts have leveled the ground for further more proactive activities of the CSO coalition, primarily aimed at streamlining the reform processes through the support of justice sector stakeholders, strengthening their capacities and coordination. The proposed project is based on these premises and as such has the support of the Sector for Strategic Planning, Aid Coordination and European Integrations, The JSRS Technical Secretariat and the High Judicial and Prosecutors Council.

Overall objective

Overall objective of the project is to increase the coordination and to strengthen the capacity of the BiH justice sector institutions ensuring the continuity of the reforms so the targets and the benchmarks for implementing the BiH Justice Sector Reform Strategy (JSRS) can be met.

Project goal(s)

In order to achieve the overall objective, Vasa prava BiH expects to achieve the following goals:

Goal 1.             To accompany the reform by capacity building of BiH justice sector stakeholders in order to enable them to implement the reform;

Goal 2.             To facilitate the monitoring and the review of the BiH justice sector reform progress;

Goal 3.             To contribute to ensuring public information and debate with civil society on the justice sector reform with a view to achieving broad understanding of and support for the reform.

Project results

By accomplishing these project goals, Vasa prava BiH expects to achieve the following results:

Result 1.          Streamlined the implementation of the BiH JSRS and the reformed justice sector in line with the targets and the benchmarks set in the Revised Action plan for the implementation of the JSRS in BiH

Result 2.          The mechanism in charge of planning and coordinating the justice sector reform supported in its coordinating and monitoring function, in particular through assisting the Sector for Strategic Planning, Aid Coordination and European Integrations to carry out its role on implementing and coordinating the justice sector reform

Result 3.          Public awareness of and support of the civil society to the reform fostered through supporting discussion platforms for reform modalities enabling exchange of views between justice sector institutions and the civil society.