Western Balkans regional conference of constitutional courts on religious freedom

Mirsad Čeman, Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of BiH; Dr. Stefan Pürner, IRZ; Zlatko M. Knežević, President of the Constitutional Court of BiH; Mato Tadić, Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of BiH (at the moderators’ table, from left to right)
Mirsad Čeman, Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of BiH; Dr. Stefan Pürner, IRZ; Zlatko M. Knežević, President of the Constitutional Court of BiH; Mato Tadić, Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of BiH (at the moderators’ table, from left to right)
Bosnia and Herzegovina

From 16 to 18 October 2019, a regional conference on “Religious freedom in constitutional court practices” was held in Teslić in the Republika Srpska, one of the two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The event was supported by the German Foreign Office and organised by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina along with the IRZ.

The participants came from six constitutional courts in South-East European countries: as well as judges and employees of the constitutional court in the host country, presidents and judges from the constitutional courts of Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia also took part in the event.

The event was divided into several panels, which were moderated by the Vice-Presidents of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mato Tadić and Mirsad Čeman, and by the responsible head of section of the IRZ, Dr. Stefan Pürner.

The following speakers presented the case law of their own courts:

  • Zlatko M. Knežević, President of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
  • Dr. Rajko Knez, President of the Constitutional Court of Slovenia,
  • Vesna Ilić Prelić, President of the Constitutional Court of Serbia,
  • Hamdija Šarkinović, a judge at the Constitutional Court of Montenegro,
  • Dr. sc. Mato Arlović, a judge at the Constitutional Court of Croatia, and
  • Dr. Darko Kostadinovski, a judge at the Constitutional Court of North Macedonia.

Prof. Dr. Udo Steiner, a former judge at the German Federal Constitutional Court, was present as IRZ expert to introduce the case law of the German Federal Constitutional Court governing questions of religious freedom.

As is the norm at this kind of regional conference, the lectures provided the starting point for extensive discussions, which were made easier due to the fact that the majority of the lectures, as well as summaries of the cited court decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and the German Federal Constitutional Court, were available in writing.

The sustainability of the event is ensured by a conference transcript bringing together all the materials discussed at the conference and published jointly by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the IRZ.

A report from the President of the Constitutional Court of Slovenia was included in the programme at short notice. A few days before the conference, the Constitutional Court of Slovenia had overturned parts of Slovenian asylum law, in which the individual assessment of refugees could be restricted. This decision and its reasoning are also of interest to the participants from other states, since they are all situated on actual or potential “Balkan routes”.

The protection of human rights as the driving force behind the development of family law

Prof. Dr. Anita Duraković, Professor in Family Law at the Faculty of Law at Džemal Bijedić University in Mostar, during her lecture
Prof. Dr. Anita Duraković, Professor in Family Law at the Faculty of Law at Džemal Bijedić University in Mostar, during her lecture
Bosnia and Herzegovina

The seventh “Family Law” day was held in Mostar on 26 and 27 September 2019. This year's theme for the international conference organised jointly by the IRZ and the Faculty of Law at the Džemal Bijedić University was “Human rights as the driving force behind the development of family law”. The event was aimed at lawyers from both universities in Mostar and at family law practitioners.

The following lectures were given at the conference:

  • Prof. Dr.Zoran Ponjavić (Kragujevac, Serbia): Family law, from institutions to contracts
  • Prof. Dr. Sc. Suzana Kraljić (Maribor, Slovenia): Age discrimination and family law: Examples from the areas of marriage, adoption and child custody in Slovenia
  • Dr. Sc. Mirjana Nadaždin (Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina): The prevention of violence against women and in the family – the relationship between normative and social reality
  • Prof. Dr. Anita Duraković (Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina): The influence of human rights on international family law
  • Prof. Dr. Larisa Velić/ lecturer Dr. Enis Omerović (Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina): The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its protocols, in particular with regards to the legal protection of the child’s assets and interests: Complete and effective protection of the child or incomplete and ineffective obligations of the contracting parties?
  • Prof. Dr. Darko Radić (Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina): Improving the legal capacities of the child – a child’s right to freedom of speech and the capacity of a child to make legal decisions
  • Lecturer Dr. Slađana Aras Krama (Zagreb, Croatia): Some of the procedural aspects involved in granting parental responsibility for child custody to people with disabilities in Croatian law
  • Prof. Dr. Dušica Palačković (Kragujevac, Serbia): The determination of marriage, non-marriage and paternity and the rights of children to find out about their parents; the protection of children’s rights in civil law in court proceedings in the Republic of Serbia (is our legal system suitable for children?)
  • Prof. Dr. Nenad Hlača (Rijeka, Croatia): “Living apart together”
  • Lecturer Dr. Ajdin Huseinspahić (Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina): Protecting the personal rights of the child in Bosnian-Herzegovinian law as a prerequisite for family protection
  • Dipl. Iur. Katja Drnovšek/ Dipl. Iur. Katja Markač Hrovatin (Maribor, Slovenia): From parental rights to parental responsibility: Developments in Slovenian family law

The lectures were met with great interest and discussed in detail by the participants. The welcome speech by the Minister for Education and Science for the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Prof. Dr. Elvira Dilberović, at the start of the conference and reports in the media (Mostar: Znanstveni skup o obiteljskom pravu) underline the importance of this event, which has now become a tradition.

Expert discussions on “Disciplinary law for judges and public prosecutors”

BIH

On 28 May 2019 the IRZ took part in expert discussions in Sarajevo on “Disciplinary law for judges and public prosecutors“ at the Disciplinary Public Prosecutor’s Office for Judges and Public Prosecutors. The Disciplinary Public Prosecutor’s Office is an independent organisational unit within the High Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors. The IRZ was welcomed by several discplinary public prosecutors led by the Disciplinary Public Prosecutor General, Mirza H. Omerović. The Director of the Local Court of Wolfratshausen and President of the Bavarian Association of Judges, Andrea Titz, took part in the expert discussions as German expert.

The event was organised against the background of the recommendations of the Venice Commission to amend the disciplinary law for judges and public prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina in essential points. Therefore, the hosts wanted to learn about the respective provisions in Germany and their implementation in practice.