Access to justice, a central tenet of democratic governance, has become a salient marker of judicial operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina since EWMI began its Justice Sector Development Project II (JSDP II) in 2009. Prior to 2009, political expediency—rather than principles of fairness and transparency—drove the appointment process for top prosecutors and judges. This practice not only undermined public faith in the judiciary but also created a vacuum of qualified lawyers able to enforce judicial precedent and act within the scope of their powers. The introduction of a more merit based system for judicial appointment stood to strengthen the rule of law in the country.
EWMI Programs in Bosnia
2004 – 2009
On May 29, 2009, EWMI completed implementation of a five-year USAID-funded Justice Sector Development Project (JSDP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). JSDP’s overall goal was to improve the efficiency and fairness of the justice system in BiH by building the capacity and sustainability of two key local institutions, the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) and the State Ministry of Justice (State MoJ), and improving court administration so as to develop a more just, effective and efficient system of justice. During the first half of the project, EWMI also actively promoted indigent criminal defense reform, to help Bosnian counterparts improve criminal legal aid for the poor.
EWMI’s USAID-funded Bosnia Legal and Regulatory Reform Project (LRRP) assisted the two entities that comprise Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Federation of Bosnia Herzegovina (Federation) and the Republika Srpska (RS), to establish a new legal and regulatory framework, rebuild institutions and commercial systems, create capital markets and implement accounting and auditing reforms. Through a comprehensive program of technical assistance and training, LRRP was responsible for the areas of commercial law reform, capital markets development, and accounting and auditing reform.