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By Merima Husejnovic In the third year since it was established, BIRN- JusticeReport successfully implemented many projects that have won recognition in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the wider region.
Among the most significant “projects” to be successfully done this year was Local Justice under Spotlight. As part of this project, Justice Report journalists visited ten cantonal and district courts and prosecutors offices in Bosnia and Herzegovina and reported on war crime processing in these communities.
The importance of BIRNs coverage of these issues was emphasized in a report en titled Awaiting fulfillment of justice in war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide cases, conducted before cantonal and district courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, prepared by the Human Rights Watch, HRW, which referred to Justice Reports investigative articles.
BIRN – Justice Report was also mentioned in a report, War Crimes Chamber in Bosnia and Herzegovina: From a hybrid to local court (2008), which was published by the International Center for Transitional Justice, ICTJ.
This year has been significant in terms of the start-up of Radio Justice, which made its first broadcast on August 11. Radio Justice broadcasts two reports every day, which are distributed to more than 80 electronic media in Bosnia and Herzegovina and beyond.Over the past four months, nearly 200 reports have been aired.
People are very thankful for this because, living abroad, they dont have many opportunities to listen to radio news from their country and are happy to be able to hear court reports at least once every week, Salih Cavkic, editor of ORBUS Voice of Diaspora, a newspaper based in Belgium, wrote.
Through its products, BIRN – Justice Report has again shown it is making an important contribution to transitional justice and to the process of confronting the past in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The BIRN project gives people hope and faith in justice and human liberty in the future. You should continue implementing projects of this type, not only for our sake, but also for the sake of future generations, Cavkic went on. This may influence someone, in terms of making him not think about committing a crime. If you prevent just one criminal from undertaking a crime, you have fulfilled your human responsibility towards mankind, Cavkic added. The number of our readers increased over 2008. More than 10,000 people visit our web page www.bim.ba each month, while more than 100,000 readers from 144 different countries looked at our page in the course of the year.A breakdown of the data reveals that readers from Bosnia and the United States, followed by readers from the region and other countries in Europe appear most interested in our war crime reports. In its 51 issues published this year, BIRN – Justice Report presented more than 1,200 courtroom reports, as well as analyses and investigative articles. These were republished in other Bosnian and foreign media on a regular basis. During the year, our colleagues from other media displayed their confidence in our honesty, clarity, expertise and impartiality by conveying our reports more than 1,700 times and by frequently interviewing our journalists on the war crimes process.BIRN – Justice Report received most attention following the arrest of the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. Our reports were published by almost all the local media and our journalists were interviewed by many leading foreign media organizations, including Al Jazeera,CNN, the BBC and others.In 2008, through our cooperation with the Court Reporters Network, AIS, BIRN-BIH invested efforts into addressing and overcoming the difficulties faced by journalists reporting on war crime cases.This year, the AIS expanded its activities to also covering local communities. During four meetings held in Doboj, Trebinje, Brcko District and Travnik, it tried to reach local journalists and judicial institutions in order to identify the problems that