The European Day of Civil Justice

The European Day of Justice was celebrated in the Sarajevo Municipal Court on 23 October 2012. Opening remarks were made by the President of the Municipal Court Sarajevo and the President of the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Lucio Valerio Sarandrea, Legal Advisor at the Delegation of the European Union/EUSR Office represented the EU and said: “Today we are not only celebrating the importance of an accessible civil justice system but we are also trying to strengthen the foundations of the well being and prosperity of many citizens”.

The European Day of Civil Justice is an initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Commission. It is celebrated each year in the last week of October. It aims to bring justice closer to citizens, to inform them on their rights and to promote the work of the European Commission and of the Council of Europe in the field of civil justice, through simulation of procedures and information sessions.

Local institutions and students were invited to attend. The Court was open for the public and a guided tour for media and the students was organized with the objective to present the work and jurisdiction in the country’s largest court. The theme of the Day was “Education as Prevention” in order to indicate that education is a key tool for combating juvenile delinquency. One of the judges of the Criminal Division informed the guests of the Court on such cases and the provisions of the Criminal Code relating to the prosecution of the juveniles. Students were invited to participate in a mock trial and discuss the results.

Legal provisions and prosecution principles and rules are fundamental for civil justice. At the same time, amicable dispute resolutions help in creating an environment of mutual understanding which promotes social cohesion and peaceful outputs. In order to underline the value of this approach, the Day concluded with a Round Table on “Communication skills and a judge’s approach to amicable dispute resolution”.

Strengthening the rule of law is central to the Enlargement process. This underpins and further promotes stability and supports the creation of an environment conducive to growth and dealing with challenges such a the fight against organized crime and corruption. In this context, freedom of expression, equal rights and social tolerance are challenges that lay ahead. The European Day of Civil Justice intends to keep these challenges in the limelight.