First graduates receive their diplomas for a supplementary study course in German law in Sarajevo

On 16 June, the first graduates were awarded their diplomas for passing a supplementary course in German law, which the IRZ organised together with the Faculty of Law at the University of Sarajevo. Following an intensive course of lectures and exams, all of which were conducted in German, as well as study visits to Germany, a special ceremony took place to hand over the diplomas to the first generation of graduates.

German ambassador Dr Christian Hellbach took the opportunity to highlight the significance of young legal talent for the future of the country and emphasised the importance of this additional qualification. This was also confirmed by the Dean of the Faculty, Prof Dr Boro Petrovic, and the Vice Dean for international relations, Prof Dr Meliha Povlakic. Both underlined the importance of the cooperation with the IRZ and the support provided by the Foreign Office for this work.

The main part of the ceremony was taken up by reports from Ezmana Turković, Mia Softić Vinšalek and Harun Nović in presentations on the supplementary course. Ezmana Turković emphasised that she had gained a lot of knowledge that would help her in her legal practice and with her work with German clients. Harun Nović pointed out that he had learned a great deal, in particular from the regular oral discussions of legal issues in the German language. There were also positive comments about the Summer School in Brühl, which also provided an opportunity to make friends with young lawyers from other countries. The studies in German law led in particular to very good relations with colleagues from other successor states of the former Yugoslavia.

Musical accompaniment for the ceremony was provided by Aja Vincalek and Ekrem Softic, with examples of the cultural exchange between Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Germany. They performed dual language interpretations of the poem "Der Asra" by Heinrich Heine, which has become part of Bosnian folk music as a Sevdalinka (love song), and performed the Bosnian ballad "Hasanaginica", which J.W. Goethe translated into German in his time. For the latter, a musical arrangement was compiled based on the folk blues song, "House of the Rising Sun".

The ceremony, which was also attended by many IRZ project partners and representatives of other German organisations in the country, finished with some intense discussions over a buffet.

Vice-Minister of Justice and Deputy President of the Judicial Council

From 23 to 27 March 2014, Srdjan Radulj, Vice Minister of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Jadranka Lokomic-Misiraca, Deputy President of the High Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors of Bosnia and Herzegovina, came on a working visit to Berlin organised by the IRZ, together with further multipliers from different fields of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian legal system. The comprehensive programme included expert talks at the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV), the Bundesrat, the German Association of Judges and the Higher Administrative Court of Berlin and Brandenburg amongst others.

These talks aimed at getting to know the structure of the judicial system and the legislative competences in the federal system of the Federal Republic of Germany. This can be an inspiration for creating a more efficient judicial system in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The insights gained in Berlin will be discussed and followed up in the "Forum for Joint Policy" (FJP). The FJP is a working group dealing with the harmonisation of the activities of the Ministries of Justice at the different levels in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the High Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This working visit, which took place under the headline "Cooperation and Coordination of the Justice Sector Institutions in the State with a Complex Structure", was part of the activities of the American organisation USAID within the programme "Justice Sector Development Project II". USAID had commissioned the IRZ with the implementation of this measure upon the successful participation in a respective invitation to tender.

The BMJV, in particular by Dr Ivo Thiemrodt and Dr Stephanie Krüger (INT-COR: International Legal Cooperation; Rule of Law Dialogues), supported the IRZ in the preparation of the visit. Presentations were furthermore given at the BMJV by Ministerialdirigent Dr Matthias Korte, Ministerialrat Dr Host Heitland, Regierungsdirektor Dr Tim Sporrer, Desk Officer in the Division "Organisation", Dr Meik Lange, Ministerialrätin Sabine Hilgendorf-Schmidt, Public Prosecutor Dr Aleksander Müller-Teckhof and Erik Christl, Judge at the Regional Court. Claudia Keller represented the German Association of Judges in her function as Deputy Director and attended the event at the BMJV, during which Lothar Jünemann, Judge at the Regional Court, gave a presentation. During the visit to the Higher Administrative Court of Berlin and Brandenburg, the former President of the Constitutional Court of the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt, Dr Gerd-Heinrich Kemper, accompanied the delegation in his function as permanent expert. The President of the Higher Administrative Court, Joachim Buchheister, welcomed the delegation, followed by an expert talk with Dirk Marsch, Judge at the Higher Administrative Court. The programme ended with a reception by State Secretary (ret.) Lutz Diwell.

Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Conference dealing with the new Property Law

In early March 2014, the new Act relating to rights in rem has entered into effect in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, introducing, inter alia, the land charge along German lines. The Act furthermore removes many relicts from Socialism, which are replaced by regulations along German and/or Austrian lines. Two days after this Act had entered into effect on 7 March 2014, the IRZ organised the conference "The New Property Law in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina" in cooperation with the Law Faculty of the University of Sarajevo and the Regional Austrian Cooperation Office in Science and Culture. This conference covered in particular the German, Austrian and Croatian experience with the new legal institutions of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The international speakers were Andreas Luckow of Verband Deutscher Pfandbriefbanken in Berlin, Professor Dr. Tatjana Josipovic of the Law Faculty of the University of Zagreb and University Professor Mag. phil. Mag. Dr. iur. Tomislav Boric of the Law Faculty of the Karl Franzens University of Graz. Furthermore, the Director of the Open Regional Funds for South-East Europe, Legal Reform of GIZ, Mr Christian Athenstädt, gave an overview of the counselling given by his organisation in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the reform of the commercial law, in particular property law.

The representative of the German Embassy, Mr Christian Reissmueller, highlighted the good cooperation of different German organisations with their Austrian counterparts in his address. After all, this shows the high significance which these organisations attach to the setting-up of a system governed by the rule of law in the country. All speakers emphasised the importance of the Act, however, they also pointed out that this Act should have been adopted years before. The event which also generated broad media coverage is another milestone in the long-standing successful cooperation between the IRZ and the Law Faculty of Sarajevo.