Bosnia and Herzegovina - annual report 2018

Participants at the regional conference by the constitutional court on the topic of “Tax law in constitutional case-law“ in Brčko
Participants at the regional conference by the constitutional court on the topic of “Tax law in constitutional case-law“ in Brčko

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU entered into force on 1 June 2015 and that submitted an application for accession to the EU in the following year, started late with the transformation of its legal system due to the war. Implementation of standards that uphold the rule of law must therefore proceed as a matter of particular urgency. The distinctly federal system whose entities cooperate only to a limited extent and therefore provide fertile ground for a fragmentation of the law presents particular challenges for project work in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Moreover, the persistence of internal conflict at political level continues to cause a reform standstill. Given that the legal system in Bosnia and Herzegovina bears strong resemblance to its counterparts in continental Europe, advice from German partners would be especially sensible and sustainable.

Overall Concept

The IRZ works closely with the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Contacts to the country‘s EU delegation also exist and are used to transfer experience of German federalism to the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is because the cantons there are responsible for many areas in which EU legal harmonisation must take place. At present, the IRZ has placed a particular priority on the education and training of lawyers in order to continue providing ongoing legal advice, irrespective of the current obstructions at political level. The IRZ supports education and further training in the areas of civil und commercial law at the education centres for the magistracy and public prosecutors within the two entities and in the faculties of law at the universities in Sarajevo and Zenica in particular.

The legal aid organisation Vaša Prava is an important partner for the IRZ.

Finally, the IRZ has, in recent years, issued a series of law publications in the national language that also target readers in other countries within the region.

As part of its activities, the IRZ consciously seeks to create opportunities for members of different ethnic groups to meet as a means of counteracting internecine conflict.

Foci of Activity in 2018

Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Organisation of a regional conference with the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina “Tax law in constitutional case-law“ in the Brčko District
  • Publication of the talks at the above conference and other materials (including a presentation of case-law by the European Court of Human Rights on questions of tax law) by the IRZ and the Constitutional Court in a separate conference transcript
  • Attendance by the President of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and another judge at the Constitutional Court of the regional conference organised with the Montenegro Constitutional Court in Budva, Montenegro, on the relationship between the constitutional courts and the supreme courts
  • Attendance by the President and a Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina of the regional conference organised in cooperation with the Serbian Constitutional Court in Belgrade, Serbia, on the topic of “Decisions by the constitutional courts in the area of abstract judicial review as a contribution to promoting the rule of law“
  • Publication of the anthology of case-law by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2017

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Regional conference on the topic of “Property consequences of familylaw relationships“ during the traditional annual international conference on family law, organised in cooperation with the Faculty of Law at the Djemal Bjedic University of Mostar
  • Seminars in the education programme at the Centre for Judicial and Prosecutorial Training of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo on the topics
    • Protection of Human Rights in the EU and in Bosnia and Herzegovina
    • Influence of European law on national law
  • Seminars in the education programme at the Centre for Judicial and Prosecutorial Training of Republika Srpska in Banja Luka on the topics
    • Introduction to European law for recently appointed judges
    • Influence of European law on national law
    • Recent developments in the field of property law

Public Law

  • Conference on anti-discrimination law with the legal aid organisation Vaša Prava in Sarajevo

Administration of Justice

  • Continued publication of the journal “Nova pravna revija – časopis za domaće, njemačko i evropsko pravo“, NPR for short (New Legal Review – a journal of regional, German and European law)
  • Operation and development of the website for the above journal (www.nova-pravna-revija.info) with an extensive download area

Basic and Further Training

  • Continuation of the supplementary studies (third generation) on German law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Sarajevo by regular lectures held in German by local lecturers, as well as block lectures by German speakers
  • Attendance by a Bosnian participant of the eighth “IRZ Summer School on German Law“ in Bonn
  • Further expansion of the supporting German language law library
  • Seminar “Introduction to legal methodology“ with regional participation in Zenica

Outlook

In 2019, the IRZ will push ahead with and consolidate its project work in Bosnia and Herzegovina in close cooperation with its partners. A particular focus will be to move forward in its cooperation with the country‘s Constitutional Court and the two centres for judicial and prosecutorial training. Moreover, the IRZ will remain supportive of legal harmonisation, in particular by contributing its experience of German federalism in regard to the legislation that the cantons in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina are required to harmonise.

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina - annual report 2017

Group shot of the “Introduction to German law” block seminar in Zenica
Group shot of the “Introduction to German law” block seminar in Zenica

Legal Policy Situation

Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU entered into force on 1 June 2015, and which applied for accession to the EU in 2016, was late in starting with the transformation of its legal system as a result of the war. Thus, the implementation of the rule-of-law standards of a constitutional state is particularly urgent here. As the law in Bosnia and Herzegovina is traditionally orientated towards the Continental European model, consultation provided by Germany is particularly meaningful and sustainable. Difficulties arise in the project work in Bosnia and Herzegovina due to the distinctly federal system. The entities of that only work together to a limited extent, which also leads to a fragmentation of the law. In addition, domestic political conflicts also result in a standstill of the reforms. In the light of this situation, the IRZ is currently focussing its activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina in particular on the basic and further training of lawyers.

Overall Concept

The IRZ supports basic and further training in the field of civil and commercial law at faculties of law and at both training centres for judges and public prosecutors. Furthermore, the foundation is involved in the field of constitutional law. Finally, the IRZ has issued a number of legal publications in the local language in recent years, which also target readers in other countries of the region. The partners in the country include, in particular, the Constitutional Court on the state level, the Centres for judicial and prosecutorial training of both entities and the faculties of law at the universities of Mostar, Sarajevo and Zenica, as well as the legal aid organisation Vaša Prava. In the course of its activities, the IRZ also creates opportunities deliberately for members of different population groups to meet one another, in order to counteract ethnic tensions.

Foci of Activity 2017

Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Regional Constitutional Court Conference in Jahorina entitled “Theory and practice of the independence of constitutional courts”
  • Publication of a separate conference volume published comprising the presentations of the above-mentioned conference jointly by the IRZ and the Constitutional Court
  • Participation by the President of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and another judge in the regional conference in Budva, Montenegro, entitled “Equality before the law in Constitutional Court Practice” organised together with the Montenegrin Constitutional Court
  • Participation by judges of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the regional conference entitled “Constitutional Court protection in criminal law” organised in cooperation with the Serbian Constitutional Court in Zlatibor, Serbia
  • Publication of the collection of case-law of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2016

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Hosting the regional conference on the topic of “The impact of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights on national family laws” organised in conjunction with the Law Faculty of the Džemal Bijedić University in Mostar
  • Seminars within the training programme of the Judicial Training Centreof the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo on the subjects:
    • “Factoring”
    • “Training the Trainer in European law” and
    • “Influence of European law on national law”
  • Seminar within the training programme of the Judicial Training Centre of the Republika Srpska in Banja Luka on the topic “Influence of European law on national law”
  • Preparation of an introductory volume on the Limited Liability Companies Act (GmbH), Sarajevo

Public Law

  • Conference “Right to asylum and the European influence on national legislation” with the legal aid organisation Vaša Prava in Sarajevo

Administration of Justice

  • Continuation of the publication of the “Nova pravna revija – časopis za domaće, njemačko i evropsko pravo”, abbreviated as NPR (New Legal Review – a journal of regional, German and European law)
  • Developing an own website for the above-mentioned journal (http:// nova-pravna-revija.info), including a comprehensive download section
  • Publication of a translation of the German Act on Senior Judicial Officers with an introductory commentary as part of the IRZ book series with translated and reviewed German laws
  • Participation by a scholar from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the interdisciplinary symposium “Legal transformation in South-East Europe using former Yugoslavia as an example: prerequisites, parties involved, failures and successes” organised jointly by the IRZ and the South-East Europe association in Berlin
  • Participation by a legal scholar from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the regional workshop “Methods of coming to terms with the past” in collaboration with the Munich Institute for Eastern European Law held in Munich, Nuremberg and Regensburg

Basic and Further Training

  • Continuation of the supplementary studies on German law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Sarajevo with regular lectures held in German by local lecturers, as well as block lectures by German speakers
  • Further expansion of the supporting German language law library and graduation of the first generation of successful graduates of this supplementary studies on German law
  • Seminar “Introduction on legal methodology” with regional involvement in Zenica
  • Regional block seminar “Introduction to German law” at the Faculty of Law of Zenica
  • Legal terminology course entitled “German for lawyers” at the Faculty of Law of the University of Sarajevo

Outlook

The IRZ will be continuing and intensifying its project work in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2018 in close cooperation with its partners. The focus here will be on the continuation of the cooperation with the Constitutional Court at the state level and the two training centres for judges and Public Prosecutors.


Bosnia and Herzegovina - annual report 2016

Participants at the Regional Constitutional Court conference in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Participants at the Regional Constitutional Court conference in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

The IRZ has regarded Bosnia and Herzegovina as one of its priorities since 2000 due to the country’s specific situation. As the country, whose Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU entered into force on 1 June 2015, was late starting with the transformation of its legal system as a result of the war, the implementation of the standards of a state based on the rule of law is particularly urgent here. As the law in Bosnia-Herzegovina is traditionally orientated towards the continental European model, consultation provided by Germany is particularly meaningful and sustainable.

Difficulties arise in the project work in Bosnia and Herzegovina due to the distinctly federal system, the entities of which only work together to a limited extent, which also leads to a fragmentation of the law. In addition, domestic political conflicts also result in reform standstill.

In the light of this situation, the IRZ is currently focussing its activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina in particular on the basic and further training of lawyers. In addition to cooperation with practising legal professionals, in particular judges from the ordinary courts and the constitutional courts, the focus is on supporting young lawyers. This is intended to prevent a further brain drain. Furthermore, particular importance attaches to young lawyers, because they can create important impetus for the reform process in the future. In addition, many of them have lived in Germany as war refugees, speak German at native speaker level and feel committed to West European legal standards due to their experience abroad.

Overall Concept

The focus of the IRZ in Bosnia and Herzegovina over the years has been on the rule of law and justice. It supports basic and further training in the field of civil and commercial law at the Faculties of Law and at both education centres for judges and public prosecutors.

Activities in the study and reception of German law have also been added in recent years, each linked to the initiatives of project partners in the country. Finally, the IRZ has issued a number of legal publications in the local language in recent years which also target lawyers in other countries in the region. Last but not least, the subject of human rights remains on the IRZ agenda in the post-conflict area of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The IRZ’s partners in the country particularly include the Constitutional Court of the entire country, the further training centres for judges and public prosecutors of both entities and the Faculties of Law at the Universities of Mostar, Sarajevo and Zenica, as well as the pro bono legal aid organisation “Vaša Prava”. In the course of its activities, the IRZ deliberately also creates opportunities for members of different population groups to meet one another, in order to counteract ethnic tensions which have recently resurfaced once again.

Foci of Activity 2016

Constitutional Law / Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Regional Constitutional Court Conference in Sarajevo entitled “Deci-sions of the European Court of Human Rights and their influence on the national constitutional courts”
  • Participation by the President of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and another judge at the conference in Budva, Montenegro, entitled “Constitutional Court review of elections” organised together with the Montenegrin Constitutional Court
  • Participation by judges of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the conference entitled “Ownership rights protected by the Constitutional Court” organised in cooperation with the Serbian Constitutional Court in Fruška Gora, Serbia
  • Publication of the collection of case-law of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2015
  • Regional conference entitled “Adulthood law, support care, protection against premature declaration of loss of legal capacity, etc.” organised together with the Faculty of Law of the Dzemal Bijedic University in Mostar

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Seminars within the training programme of the Judicial Training Centre of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo on the sub-jects:
    • Interpretation and application of the new Property Act
    • Influence of European law on national law
    • Bankruptcy and liquidation
  • Seminars in Banja Luka within the training programme of the Judicial Training Centre of Republika Srpska on the subjects:
    • Application of international law in business law disputes/focus: UN law of sale
    • Medical liability law
    • Employment law with special consideration for the prohibition on mobbing
  • Publication of a translation of the Limited Liability Companies Act (GmbHG)
  • Preparation of an introductory volume on the Limited Liability Companies Act (GmbHG) in Sarajevo
  • Conference entitled “Prohibition on discrimination in employment law with special consideration for the prohibition on discrimination” together with the NGO “Vasa Prava” in Sarajevo
  • Regional roundtable discussion on insurance law at the Faculty of Law at Zenica University

Administration of Justice

  • Participants at the event on legal protection in employment law
  • Continuation of the publication of the NPR
  • Event entitled “Influence of the German legal tradition” together with the University of Mostar and SEALL (South East European Association of Law and related libraries)
  • Guest lectures on “Dealing with the legal past in Germany” at the Faculties of Law of the Universities of Sarajevo and Zenica

Basic and Further Training

  • Continuation of the supplementary studies on German law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Sarajevo by regular lectures held in German by local lecturers, as well as block lectures by German speakers
  • Further expansion of the supporting German language law library and graduation of the first generation of successful graduates
  • Legal terminology course entitled “German for lawyers” at the Faculty of Law of the University of Sarajevo
  • ELSA (European Law Students’ Association) EX-YU Conference in Sarajevo entitled “Legal challenges in the fight against terrorism”
  • Participation by Bosnian-Herzogovinian lawyers and students at the IRZ-“German law” summer school in Brühl and Bonn

Outlook

The IRZ will be continuing and intensifying its project work in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2017 in close cooperation with its partners. The focus here will continue to be on human rights and support for young lawyers, as well as regional cooperation.

Download the entire IRZ annual report in PDF format here: annual report 2016.