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Project Beneficiaries hail achievements of the War Crimes Justice Project

Press Release
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document)
The Hague, 26 October 2011


Project Beneficiaries hail achievements of the War Crimes Justice Project


At today’s closing event in Sarajevo, held in celebration of the successful completion of the War Crimes Justice Project (WCJP), the Project’s beneficiaries hailed the Project’s achievements at strengthening the capacity of national judiciaries across the region to handle war crimes cases.

The War Crimes Justice Project, a four-million Euro project funded by the EU and co-ordinated by the OSCE/ODIHR in partnership with the ICTY and UNICRI, was launched in May 2010 in order to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and materials from the ICTY to legal professionals in the former Yugoslavia by translating much of the Tribunal's materials into the region's local languages and enabling the exchange of knowledge and expertise between ICTY officials and national legal professionals.

ICTY Judge Fausto Pocar stressed that the Project had provided a unique opportunity for ICTY judges and legal staff to share experiences with their local counterparts, ensuring “that the lessons learned by the Tribunal are passed on effectively to current and future generations of legal professionals across the region.”

Commenting on the achievements of the Project, Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, Director of ODIHR, said: “This project was successful for two reasons: it was designed to provide what judiciaries really need to do their work in line with fair trial standards, and it targeted the full range of professional groups involved in war crimes trials: judges, prosecutors, defence lawyers, investigators and witness support providers.”

Stefan Füle, the EU’s Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, noted that the development of justice systems in the countries of the Western Balkans, in accordance with accepted rule of law standards and the ability of those systems to effectively address their war crimes case loads, are among the key objectives in the European integration process. “By funding this major project, the European Union supports the war-affected states in the region in advancing in this process,” said Füle.

"This ambitious project has considerably contributed to bridge the gap between The Hague and the former Yugoslavia, and this was done in full co-ordination with the local actors. I believe this is the primary factor which made this project successful", said Dr. Jonathan Lucas, the Director of UNICRI.
The Project’s achievements include:

  • The training over 800 legal professionals, including  judges, prosecutors, defence attorneys and witness support providers on international humanitarian law and provision of forums for the exchange of experiences with ICTY judges, prosecutors and victim support providers;
  • The production of a new curriculum on International Criminal Law and Practice for local training institutions, containing ICTY jurisprudence and the region’s developing body of domestic war crimes jurisprudence;
  • The provision of 60,000 pages of ICTY trial transcripts in local languages, to enhance the ability of local judiciaries to access and use testimonies given before the Tribunal;
  • The translation of 200,000 words of the Appeals Chamber Case Law Research Tool into the regional languages to allow court professionals to conduct legal research using the same legal digest tool as is used in the ICTY;
  • The hiring of 30 young professionals as legal support staff in courts and other institutions dealing with war crimes cases, providing the recipient organisations with much needed extra capacity and enabling the young professionals to gain practical experience working on war crimes cases;
  • The development of a Manual on International Criminal Defence comprising an overview of some of the most effective and innovative practices developed by defence counsel practicing before the ICTY;
  • The creation of a training and e-learning portal providing an online platform for legal practitioners and judicial training institutions on issues related to war crimes.


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For more information please call Ms. Sanela Tunović, War Crimes Justice
Project Outreach Officer at ++387 61 539 535 or email at wcjp [at] odihr.pl

A copy of the final newsletter is available at the following link.

More information about the War Crimes Justice Project can be found at the following link.

War Crimes Justice Project Partners

This project is funded by
the European Union
Implemented by:         

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

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