PODGORICA, 20 December 2011 – Representatives of judicial training institutions from the region met in Podgorica today to discuss how to step up their contribution to achieving justice in war crimes cases by providing effective training to judicial staff involved in such cases.
The meeting was organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in co-ordination with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the OSCE Mission to Montenegro and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI).
The meeting participants shared experiences on the tools developed as part of the EU-funded War Crimes Justice Project, which was carried out, until its conclusion this October, by ODIHR, ICTY, UNICRI and OSCE field operations in the region. These included a new curriculum on international criminal and humanitarian law developed by the International Criminal Law Services which was delivered to training institutions in Pristina, Zagreb, Belgrade, Sarajevo and Banja Luka in October. The training curriculum integrates relevant jurisprudence of the ICTY, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia and was developed by international and national war crimes justice experts.
Directors of the judicial training institutions discussed their training programmes and co-operation specifically in relation to international criminal justice and war crimes issues.
“Enhanced regional co-operation through common and joint training approaches is indispensable to thoroughly addressing the adjudication of war crimes and respecting fair trial principles, thus ending impunity and bringing justice to victims,” said Thomas Vennen, the Head of ODIHR’s Democratization Department.
“The OSCE Mission to Montenegro provides continuous support to the Judicial Training Centre in Montenegro, as an overall institution for training judges and prosecutors. Through close co-operation with the Centre, the Mission supported the organization of a number of training courses, in notably criminal law and criminal procedure law, organized crime and corruption, with the assistance and participation of international trainers and experts. Those events provided a good forum for sharing knowledge and experiences with Montenegrin colleagues,” said Ambassador Sarunas Adomavicius, the Head of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro.
Judge Fausto Pocar of the ICTY said: “Associating the ICTY to training programmes of judicial training institutions in the region will build on the successful partnership between international and national judges promoted by the War Crimes justice project, and extend its effects to a new generation of national judges, with a view to enhancing their regional co-operation.”
“The regional co-operation of judicial academies and centres, direct presentation of experiences of ICTY judges, use of existing expertise and the exchange of a good practice will significantly increase institutional knowledge about international criminal and humanitarian law, which will contribute to a more qualitative response from the national courts to current and future challenges in dealing with war crime cases,” said Montenegro’s Supreme Court President Judge Vesna Medenica.