On January 22, 2010, the Justice Sector Civil Society Network (JSCSN) in Bosnia held its inaugural meeting at the UNITIC Business Center in Sarajevo. Comprised of local civil society organizations, including justice-related professional associations, the network was formed to increase Bosnian civil society’s involvement in the development of public policies and legislative reform initiatives that advance the rule of law, as well as to improve the public’s understanding of justice-related issues. The network aims to increase public demand for the rule of law, as well as public confidence in justice institutions, and therefore promote the integration of BiH into the European Union.
EWMI’s Justice Sector Development Project II (JSDP II) served as a catalyst for the network, working with interested organizations to develop criteria for participation. The JSCSN is comprised of 36 organizations, including 26 NGOs working to improve the rule of law and delivery of justice in BiH and 10 professional membership associations, including groups comprised of judges, prosecutors, women judges, mediators, bankruptcy commissioners and expert associates in courts and prosecutors’ offices. The coordinating organization of the JSCSN is the Association for Democratic Initiatives (ADI), a Sarajevo-based NGO that has been active in justice matters.
At the inaugural meeting participants of the network signed the JSCSN Participation Agreement, which emphasizes their collaborative working relationship based on ethical behavior, prudent use of resources, equity, openness and transparency. The network intends to launch a strategic planning process to identify and prioritize action and ensure the effective use of network resources. JSDP II will support the network through its partnership with ADI, a small grants program for network members, and relevant technical assistance.