On September 10, 2009, EWMI and USAID formally launched the new Bosnia-Herzegovina Justice Sector Development Project II (JSDP II) at a ceremony at the Holiday Inn in Sarajevo. In his opening remarks to the large audience of Bosnian justice sector officials and NGO representatives, USAID Mission Director Allan Reed stated that the launch of JSDP II reflected USAID’s continuing commitment to the achievement of comprehensive justice reform in BiH in cooperation with its Bosnian partners. While noting the successes of the previous JSDP project, he stressed that critical work remained to be done in the justice sector for Bosnia to achieve its ultimate goal of EU integration. JSDP II Chief of Party Richard Gebelein described the components of the new project and introduced its key staff. The event was well attended by the media and was featured in both television and newspaper reports.
The new project will build upon the success of its predecessor project, JSDP, which contributed substantially to justice sector reform in the country. JSDP assistance strengthened key justice sector institutions, introduced ‘best practices’ on a sustainable basis in the courts; and united the judiciary to assert its rightful place as an independent third branch of government alongside the executive and legislative branches. JSDP II will build upon these past successes while expanding USAID assistance into key new areas.
The BiH Ministry of Justice and the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) will remain key institutional counterparts for the new project, as JSDP II will serve in a partnering role to help them implement their mandates. JSDP II will include an important new effort to support prosecutors, often overlooked by donor programs. JSDP II will launch a Model Prosecutor Office Initiative that will seek to improve the management and efficiency of prosecutors’ offices. Another key new area of work is an ambitious engagement with civil society. Working closely with local NGO partners, JSDP II will help strengthen the capacity of NGOs to conduct ongoing oversight, analysis and advocacy in relation to the justice sector in order to enhance both the effectiveness and credibility of justice system institutions.