Over 70 young people, judiciary and non-governmental organisations took part today in the “Youth Rule of Law” event in Sarajevo which highlighted the findings of a two-year project aiming at building knowledge and increasing the participatory role of CSOs and youth in the promotion and protection of basic human rights and the rule of law in the country.
Over 500 young people and dozens of representatives of the judiciary and CSOs collaborated and discussed together the key issues like the need to deliver on the rule of law, to rebuild trust in the judiciary, address corruption as well as protection of freedom of assembly and media freedoms.
“This was an opportunity for enthusiastic young people and civil society to learn about the rule of law both in a theoretical and practical way and to see how important it is to their daily lives and shared future. It has encouraged citizens to be informed about the ongoing judicial reform process and it has strengthened civil society efforts to ensure participation and representation of citizens instances. This project has brought the concept of the rule of law closer to the lives of youth and enabled them to be actively involved in these important processes”, said Enrico Visentin, Programme Manager on behalf of the EU Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In fact, the project opened the door of the courtrooms to the new generation and contributed to bringing together law and other students, civil society organisations and professionals in exploring modalities of further cooperation in the sector.
“It is a pleasure and a great honour to be at today’s event that concludes the Project Youth for the Rule of Law. In the Association of Women Judges, we recognized the importance and very gladly responded to the invitation to participate in the project, wishing to transfer our knowledge to these young people on judicial system, the fight against corruption, but above all about the protection of human rights, strengthening the integrity of each individual so that s/he can freely exercise his rights and express his/her opinion”, said Amela Mahić Samardžić, president, Association of women judges in BiH.
In addition to participating in activities, trial simulations, the presentation at the faculties, the Association of Women Judges in BiH has created a Youth RoL manual that is understandable way to explain to young people the judicial system and the roles of prosecutors, judges and emphasize the basic principles of the rule of law.
“Even though everything seems to be common knowledge, we realised that we needed to expand our knowledge about the judiciary, but also about our rights and freedoms, and thus be more actively involved in the reforms. This project inspired us to continue the work initiate and further explore this topic and understand the importance of respecting the rule of law in society”, said Mia Selena Lerch, project participant from Banja Luka while Mirjana Ćuskić from the RS Helsinki Committee for Human Rights emphasized: “It was said that the project involved directly 500 young people, but I can tell you that many more young people were involved and used the materials produced in this project. For some of us, the project was an inspiration to stand up for our rights”.
During the panel discussion “Youth and judiciary – regaining the trust”, the participants had an opportunity to talk to Ajla Papović- Mujan, a judge at the Municipal Court in Sarajevo, Nives Ćetojević, a judge at the Basic Court in Banja Luka, Mirjana Ćuskić, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Republika Srpska, Sarajevo Maša Fazlić, the winner of the competition on mock trials from Sarajevo, and Jovana Mišikić, a project participant from Banja Luka.
“Our aim is to ensure that young people who come to our courts feel that they have the right to a fair trial and that their perspectives are considered. We want young people to feel included in decision-making processes and to have confidence in the justice system.” said Ajla Papović-Mujan, a judge in front of the Association of Women Judges in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The panellists emphasised that rebuilding young people’s trust in judicial institutions is key to ensure justice and the rule of law functioning.
Many judiciary associations and CSOs and institutions provided support and participated in the project: Association of Women Judges in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Association of Prosecutors of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Law Association of RS, the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture of Canton Sarajevo, ELSA, Perpetuum Mobile, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of RS, etc
For more information about the project please visit www.jabiheu.ba