War crimes evidence database open to BiH judiciary

War crimes evidence database open to BiH judiciary

A specialised training course on the use of the Electronic Disclosure Suite (EDS), an electronic database for accessing evidence gathered by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) concluded last weekend in Sarajevo.

As OSCE Mission to BiH announced, the two-day training events held in Banja Luka and Sarajevo, gathered some 50 legal associates and investigators from the prosecutor’s offices and police investigators who work on war crimes cases from across Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“The aim of this training course is for the participants to develop practical skills related to gathering and using the evidence collected by the ICTY in proceedings before domestic courts. In this way, we will contribute to the efficient handling of war crimes investigations,” said Igor Cimeša, Prosecutor at the District Public Prosecutor’s Office in Banja Luka.

Lejla Sudić-Hendo, Document Manager at the MICT Office of the Prosecutor, highlighted the significance of the EDS for judiciary in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“As the entity level authorities will take over a large number of cases, their knowledge in using the EDS and getting access to the MICT documents is crucial to increasing their capacity to prosecute war crimes. Bosnia and Herzegovina has the largest number of cases to be prosecuted in the Western Balkans region,” said Sudić-Hendo.

She added that only last year, the MICT received more than 300 requests for assistance from the BiH judicial authorities from all levels.

Muris Brkić, Project Officer at the OSCE Mission to BiH, underlined the importance of the EDS as an investigative tool, necessary for the successful investigation of war crimes.

“It provides access to the extensive archive which holds more than 9.4 million pages of evidence and tens of thousands of audio and video recordings and artefacts,” he noted.

The training course is part of the long-standing support provided by the OSCE Mission to the development of the judiciary and its capacity to process war crimes cases. It was organiSed by the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the MICT Office of the Prosecutor, in co-operation with the entity’s judicial and prosecutorial training centres, within the War Crimes Monitoring Project financed by the European Union and implemented by the OSCE Mission to BiH…. / IBNA