The Annual Prosecutorial Symposium, which, due to the pandemic, took place in an online format on 8 and 9 October 2020, gathered some 150 prosecutors, judges and other criminal justice professionals who took part in a number of panel discussions on criminal matters.
The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) supported the organization of two panel discussions on the processing of cases related to trafficking in human beings (THB) and war crimes. The panels were an opportunity for prosecutors and experts to discuss issues and share experiences in these areas.
“Combating trafficking in human beings is one of the OSCE’s priorities as THB affects virtually all its participating States, either as countries of origin, transit or destinations. This modern form of slavery is an affront to human dignity, often involving psychological terror and physical violence. The human rights of trafficked persons have to be at the centre of all efforts to combat human trafficking, prosecute traffickers and provide redress to victims of trafficking,” said Boris Topić, National Anti-trafficking Officer at the OSCE Mission to BiH.
The war crimes panel discussion, jointly organized with Trial International, focused on the overview of progress and challenges still facing Bosnia and Herzegovina judiciary in processing of war crimes cases, particularly the distribution of cases in line with the goals of the Revised National Strategy for War Crimes Processing. The panel also addressed legal and procedural challenges in prosecuting and sentencing sexual violence cases, as well as appeal processes related to these types of crimes.
Šeila Heljić, President of the FBiH Association of Prosecutors stated: “The Annual Prosecutorial Symposium has become one of the most important training opportunities for prosecutors and other criminal justice professionals. The symposium and the panels provide participants with insight into the present state in this field and enable the exchange of experiences. Continuous training is of crucial importance for enhancing the capacity of the criminal justice sector, including its effective processing of THB-related and war crimes cases.”
The panel discussion on THB was jointly supported by the OSCE Mission to BiH, the Judicial and Prosecutorial Training Centres of the entities, the USAID BiH through International Organization for Migration Mission in BiH, the European Union and Council of Europe Joint Project Horizontal Facility, the US Embassy and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training, and the International Forum of Solidarity-Emmaus