From July 20-22, ABA ROLI held its third BRRLN regional exchange - this one between the Kosovo Bar (KBA) and the War Crimes Defense Section at the Ministry of Justice for the Federation of BiH, Court of BIH,and the Bar Association in BIH to learn more about their system of ex officio defense, in particular in war crime cases
ABA ROLI’s BRRLN program supported the costs Merita Stubla Emini, a member of the KBA and also the President of Prishtina BAR Association, and the KBA itself supported the costs for additional three KBA members, including the KBA President, to travel to BiH to learn about defense of war crimes and how to organize a support center for attorneys handling ware crimes cases in Kosovo.
The exchange focused on four areas regarding war crimes defense: attorney trainings, case appointment, access to state’s evidence and managing an attorney support center. The KBA lawyers spent three days in BiH in meetings with counterparts at MOJ, prominent BiH advocates who have defended war crimes cases and with the Federation of BiH bar chamber. The delegation also attended a court hearing for an organized crime/corruption case at the Court of BiH and met with the Deputy Court President as well as representatives from the Witness Protection Program and Court Administrator’s office. (See Appendix A for a full agenda and report summarizing the meetings).
One of the KBA participants explained the value of connecting with lawyers who had built their own defense section and handled war crimes cases. “Their insight and feedback is very helpful for the KBA as it creates its own system to support lawyers defending these cases. The most useful aspect of the meetings for KBA was to hear how the the defense section was established, where were the gaps and lessons learned,” noted one of the participants. KBA also valued the connections the exchange afforded and will rely on this Network as issues and challenges arise in their own efforts to defend war crimes cases. The KBA Executive Council has discussed the options and/or ways how to establish the department. Moreover, the KBA has closely discussed with KBA's Training Center on planning for the trainings in order to increase and/or strengthen capacities of Defense on the subject relevant to criminal field (i.e. war crimes). KBA will incorporate what it learned from lawyers in BiH into its planning for war crimes defense.
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