SARAJEVO, 12 December 2017 – The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina marked the successful completion of the War Crimes Capacity Building Project at a ceremony in Sarajevo today. The project was a part of the OSCE Mission’s long-standing support to the development of the judiciary and its capacity to process war crimes cases.
Over the past three years, the project strengthened the capacities of prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, legal support staff, witness support officers and investigators through over 100 training events on a variety of topics, including investigation skills, legal drafting and evidence review, and prosecuting for conflict related sexual violence.
Additionally, the project provided a comprehensive induction course on war crimes case processing for over 140 new employees hired pursuant to the EU Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) funding. Outside of its training activities, the project also played a leading role in strengthening technical capacities and promoting the use of new investigative techniques to allow a greater ability to reach suspects and witnesses outside of BiH and better ensure that justice is delivered to victims.
“The War Crimes Capacity Building Project was initiated by the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014 and it represents a model for how the international community can partner closely with domestic institutions to ensure long-term improvements in the justice sector,” said Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina Bruce G. Berton. “The project design relied on the Mission’s war crimes trial monitoring programme, which allowed it to tailor its training course and technical support activities to fully meet the capacity building needs of the justice sector in processing these cases.”
Gordana Tadic, Acting Chief Prosecutor of the BiH Prosecutor’s Office said: “During the term of the War Crimes Capacity Building Project, all prosecutors and professional staff, with the help of the OSCE Mission, intensified their work on war crimes investigations, and their acquired knowledge from induction and specialized trainings was applied practically in the field. Another result of this project is the improved quality of the indictments filed, which is why we are grateful to the OSCE Mission to BiH, and we are certainly looking forward to continuing successful co-operation in this field.”
The training events under the project were organized in close co-operation with Entity Centers for Judicial and Prosecutorial Training. Arben Murtezic, Director of the Federation of BiH Center, highlighted the importance of this project. “The significance of this project lies in the fact that it built the skills and knowledge of legal professionals for the processing of the war crimes cases. This was one of the most important projects the Centers were involved in. We will continue working closely with the OSCE Mission to BiH in supporting the BiH judiciary.”
The War Crimes Capacity Building Project was implemented by the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina and financed by the Governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Austria.
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