Workshop on Provision of Support to Victim and Witnesses in Criminal Proceedings

06 Mar 2014

From 3rd to 4th March 2014, a workshop was held in Konjic entitled ˝Witness Support in Criminal Proceedings˝ within the framework of the UNDP´s Introduction of Victim/Witness Support Services Project in Brčko and Mostar, aimed at establishing witness support offices at these two locations as part of a wider initiative of setting up uniformed victim and witness support mechanisms throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The two day workshop was attended by 18 judges, prosecutors and crime inspectors from the Cantonal Court and Prosecutor´s Office in Mostar, and Prosecutor´s Office and Police of Brčko District BiH, who are working on investigations and processing of serious crimes including war crimes and organized crime cases on a daily basis.

Judges, psychologists and other experts, from the ICTY Office in Sarajevo, the Court of BiH, the FBiH Court Police, UNICEF and the Cantonal Court in Sarajevo presented their experiences from development of victim and witness support services in their respective jurisdictions, including best practices and lessons learned. It was the first in a row of trainings to familiarize relevant professionals with the mandate and the role of recently established witness support offices in their courts and prosecutor´s office.

Since 2010, in cooperation with the High and Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of BiH, UNDP has established witness support offices at courts and prosecutor´s office in Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Istočno Sarajevo, Bihać, Travnik and Novi Travnik respectively, in addition to the newly established offices in Brčko and Mostar.

With the financial support provided by the Swiss Government, the UNDP´s Introduction of Victim/Witness Support Services Project continues to assist BiH in dealing with the existing backlog of cases and increase of public confidence in the judicial, law – enforcement and social welfare institutions. Better informed, supported and protected witnesses and victims will be able to access the criminal justice system with greater confidence, and therefore contribute to the efficiency of criminal proceedings.