The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina concluded on 3 October 2013 a two-day training course for judges and prosecutors on the implementation of the Aarhus Convention – a key UN document on access to environmental information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters. Special focus during the course was on access to justice and related EU legislation.
Thirty-eight judges and prosecutors from cantonal and district level courts and prosecutors’ offices discussed access to justice in judicial review cases that concern violations of the right to information, public participation in decision-making and issuance of environmental permits.
Participants analyzed provisions of the Aarhus Convention and domestic legislation, as well as jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice, and looked at specific cases. Maryna Yanush, Legal Adviser in the Aarhus Convention Secretariat, introduced them to the work and case law of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee, a body of experts that examine compliance by the Parties to the Convention.
Ludwig Kramer, an environmental law expert who was a lead trainer said: “The environment is a matter that interests all social groups, with no exception. The administration charged with the protection of the environment, needs to make all information accessible to the public and allow the public to discuss the plans related to environment. In case of a dispute, judges are there to weigh the arguments and decide; they are the arbiters between diverging interests.”
The training is part of a project of enhancing the rule of law through strengthening access to justice in environmental matters supported by the German government and the Environment and Security Initiative.
Podcast with Ludwig Kramer is available at https://soundcloud.com/#oscebih/ludwig-kramer