Tailor-Made Training Program Delivery for Judges and Prosecutors in BiH


Bosnia and Herzegovina

judges, prosecutors, anti-corruption, transparency, training

Tailor-Made Training Program Delivery for Judges and Prosecutors in BiH

This past May has been a busy month for the USAID Judiciary Against Corruption Activity (JACA) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As the pandemic restrictions have been widely lifted, and in-person events have gained momentum, the whole month was devoted to different workshops and trainings aimed at both judges and prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and tailor-made for their needs under the training programs delivered by JACA.

On May 11-13, in Neum, JACA gathered select prosecutors for a three-day training on financial investigations. The capacity building activity is intended to provide prosecutors with complementary knowledge in banking and finance, money laundering, and indirect evidence chain theory. Issues discussed included the most frequent forms of fraud committed by white-collar criminals; the role audits play in uncovering fraud and gathering evidence; as well as identifying where does the work of financial regulatory bodies end, and the work of the prosecutors begins. 

What happens when corruption and fraud are uncovered and prosecuted, and courts are handling a high-profile case? Spokespersons from select partner courts and prosecutor's offices had the opportunity to hone their crisis communication skills, and practice their public appearance - including in front of cameras, a first for many of them - during the two day training delivered by JACA in Igman. 

I am very happy and excited that for the first time today I've had an opportunity to stand before a camera. We need more trainings like this and more practical exercises so that we can be better at the work we do“, said Vladimir Šljivić from the Cantonal Prosecutor's Office in Canton 10.

In addition to his primary work as a lawyer, Vladimir is also a spokesperson for the institution, a common occurence in courts and prosecutor's offices in BiH, which are faced with limited resources, so the PR role is often just added to someone who is already performing another core job. Improving communication and public appearance skills for spokespersons in the judiciary is essential for improving the public perception and confidence in the work of judicial institutions.

On May 24, in Sarajevo, prosecutors learned how to react promptly and proactively to all open-source information such as audit reports, investigative journalism and social media posts to detect and investigate corruption. Stevan Dojčinović, investigative journalist and editor of the KRIK portal in Serbia, and Cantonal prosecutor from Bihać, Adnan Tulić also presented the Guide for Proactive Prosecutorial Approach to Open-Source Information during the training.

Trials in complex cases of high corruption and organized crime often last longer than two years. However, this time can be significantly reduced by holding pre-trial hearings to ensure all parties are well prepared for the process. With active guidance from the court, the prosecutors and defense counsels use pre-trial hearings to discuss the scope, plan and time schedule of presenting evidence. On May 27 in Bihać, JACA gathered prosecutors and judges from partner institutions to share their experience on holding pre-trial hearings, and ways these help more effectively prosecute perpetrators of corruption and high-level organized crime.