JUSTICE PROJECT IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

The Justice Project (Project) in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) is a fourth generation project in a succession of justice sector projects carried out by USAID in BiH. The country has undergone an intense transformation of the judiciary with massive international mentoring and assistance. Despite this, international donors neglected the role of prosecutors. This imbalance began to hinder the judicial reform process and created instability. To address these issues USAID awarded the Justice Project, a 5 year $9.4 million project, to DPI (with our joint venture firm Millennium DPI) in September 2014. The Project focuses on three major components: 1. Strengthening the Professional Status and Performance of Prosecutors, 2. Improving the Efficiency and Enforcement of Judgments; and 3. Strengthening Justice Sector Institutions to Uphold Public Integrity and Combat Corruption. The Project workplan has just been approved allowing implementation to begin in these areas:

Prosecutor Partnership Program (PPP): The Project will establish a multi-year PPP, which will allow for intensive management and direct skill-building assistance in prosecutor offices in BiH. The Project will work with the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) of BiH on how to share, capture, and apply best practices developed in the prosecutor offices to support possible system-wide reforms over the life of the project. These will include interventions in areas such as management, prosecuting crime, and public information and outreach. Management will be strengthened through the development of strategic plans, performance standards, quarterly performance reports focused on the prosecution of corruption and standards, and provision of resources to prosecute corruption and serious crime. Strengthening the prosecution of crime will involve developing guidelines and skills for prosecutor, police and other agency cooperation, developing uniform standards for investigating and prosecuting corruption and serious crimes, and mentoring and training of new prosecutors. Public information and outreach will be developed to promote greater transparency, accountability and public access to prosecutor offices.

Prosecutor Office Assistance Plans (POAPs): The Project will develop POAPs as an operational document to coordinate Project assistance with prosecutor offices participating in the PPP. The POAPs will describe and sequence of Project assistance to the prosecutor offices, concentrating on three areas of prosecutor office capacity building: (1) organizational management/performance, (2) prosecuting corruption/serious crime cases, and (3) office transparency and public information/outreach.

Improving the Efficiency of Enforcement of Judgments: The Project will work with key local counterparts to streamline the procedures for enforcing judgments and reducing backlogs. This will be achieved by improving the capacity of court enforcement agents through training staffing and evaluation, oversight and management. The project will also work with the courts to assist them to secure and control assets.

Combatting Corruption: The Project will provide mentoring, training and technical assistance to the HJPC, and the Office of Disciplinary Council (ODC), prosecutor offices and other key stakeholders to investigate and prosecute high profile corruption and economic crimes cases free from political and improper influence. This will be achieved through the facilitation of increased cooperation among state, entity and local justice sector actors. The Project will also work with ODC to ensure that they are properly resourced and that disciplinary procedures are impartially and fairly decided.

Special Prosecutor Office (SPO) of the Federation of BiH (FBIH). A recent law calls for establishing a SPO in the FBiH prosecutor’s office to fight corruption. In 2015, the SPO will face many challenges in office set-up, staffing, prosecuting cases, and coordinating with cantonal prosecutor offices. In particular, the Project will leverage its assistance under the PPP to support the SPO to conduct prosecutor-guided investigations that lead to the prosecution of corruption/abuse of public office cases, among many other areas of intervention.

 

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