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Conference on Special Investigative Measures in BiH

16 November 2018


for Bosnia and Herzegovina

Second Annual Conference of the Highest Bosnia and Herzegovina Courts on "Special Investigative Measures"


Banja Luka, 15 November 2018 – The AIRE Centre and the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in cooperation with the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HJPC) and the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), co-organised the Second Annual Conference of the Highest Bosnia and Herzegovina Courts. The Conference was organised within the Judicial Forum for Bosnia and Hercegovina and took place in Banja Luka on 14-15 November 2018.

The Conference aimed at facilitating the practical implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It focused on the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) standards regarding the rights enshrined in Articles 6 and 8 of the ECHR in the context of special investigative measures.

After thanking the Judicial Forum organisers and participants, the President of the Constitutional Court of BiH, Zlatko Knežević, emphasised that:“In my opinion, nowhere is the line between protected public interests (in the field of criminal law) and violations of fundamental human rights as fluid as it is here. Apart from classical judgments as established “court truths”, this topic is perhaps one of the rare ones that reflects the complexity and professionalism of judgeship to such a great extent. At what time and to what extent a human being’s privacy needs to be denied or restricted in order to protect the “greater good” is the most complex decision that can be taken in criminal proceedings, pending the final judgment.” 

“The use of special investigative measures is extremely important because they are a powerful tool for proving crime, above all organised crime. On the other hand, their overuse can be extremely detrimental the stability of the legal system,” HJPC President Milan Tegeltija explained at the outset of the Conference.“I am glad we will have the opportunity to hear the eminent experts’ views on the challenges the Bosnia and Herzegovina judiciary has been facing due to the use of special investigative measures to establish criminal liability for the gravest acts of crime, and that we will have the opportunity to contribute to the clarification of the judicial community’s dilemmas on this issue in our Conference conclusions,” he added.  

 AIRE Western Balkans Programme Manager Biljana Braithwaite spoke about the use of special investigative measures, a pivotal tool for fighting organised crime and corruption and safeguarding national security. She emphasised that “the fight against corruption and organised crime is prerequisite for advancing the rule of law, but it has to be accompanied by the respect for fundamental rights, such as liberty, security, privacy and the right to a fair trial. Otherwise the legitimacy of such a fight may be compromised. Precisely by applying the case-law of the Strasbourg Court can we best ensure the respect for such rights, whilst simultaneously striving for effectiveness and fairness.” 

Teodora Fuior from DCAF Geneva stated that judicial authorization of the use of intrusive methods for information collection is one of the strongest safeguards for human rights and the rule of law, being at the core of effective accountability systems. She underlined that “accomplishing this task is today a big challenge for judges in all democratic states. Judges act as arbiters of government secrecy and individual freedoms in a very powerful way. They determine the delicate balance between democracy and security,  which is at the core of our discussion today.”  

The Guide to Reasoned Court Judgments, developed in response to a recommendation issued after the first annual conference -- which focused on the “Right to a Reasoned Judgment – Mandatory Standard in Court Proceedings” and was held on 6-7 November 2017  -- was presented at the Second Annual Conference of the Judicial Forum. This manual, which will be disseminated to the judicial community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was prepared by a team of BiH Constitutional Court judges and domestic and international consultants under the leadership of BiH Constitutional Court Vice-President Mirsad Ćeman. 

The Conference was attended by 60 eminent representatives of the highest Bosnia and Herzegovina judicial authorities: the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the HJPC and the HJPC Secretariat; the Constitutional Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH); the Constitutional Court of Republika Srpska (RS); the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina; the Brčko District Appeals Court; the Brčko District Judicial Commission; the FBiH and RS Judicial and Prosecutorial Training Centres, and national and international human rights law experts. 

The Judicial Forum for Bosnia and Herzegovina was organised with the support of the British Government, with a view to improving the implementation application of the ECHR in BiH and supporting its judicial system in the country’s EU accession endeavours. 


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