Uncategorized @bs

Bosnian Court Might Introduce “Late Shift”

15. December 2014.00:00
The Bosnian Court has started discussions on introducing a “second shift” to prosecute war crimes given that the State Prosecution has raised a record number of indictments this year, BIRN has learned.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Even though the Bosnian Court Public relations unit claims that this option has not officially been discussed, the issue of overbooked courtrooms has been a topic in status conferences in war crime cases for a while.

Judge Davorin Jukic said at a recent war crimes trial that the president of the Bosnian State Court Meddzida Kreso wants to introduce a two-shift system, because all the cases cannot be allocated in the working day from 0900 to 1700.

“I am talking about a third or fourth shift, which would start after 1600,” said Jukic.

The Bosnian Court currently has about 50 war crime trials in different phases, and only six courtrooms.

The trials are being conducted from 0900 to 1230 and from 1300 to 1600.

With the recent rise of number of indictments, sometimes judges try to place three hearings from 0900 to 16, while some cases only have hearings every two weeks.

The reason for this is that courtrooms are overbooked. However, the Bosnian Court says that the idea of a late shift has not been officially discussed.

“The work of the Bosnian court hasn’t been brought into question because we have enough capacities, human and technical,” said the Bosnian court press office.

Meanwhile, lawyers working as the Defence in war crimes cases have said they would object to an idea of a late shift.

Lawyer Fahrija Karkin said at a recent hearing that it “might be best if the Court got beds for the lawyers in the courtroom.”

His colleague Vasvija Vidovic agrees, claiming that longer working hours are not the solution for war crime trials.

“The issue is whether a late shift could work well. It doesn’t depend only on judges, but lawyers. We have meetings with clients in the afternoon. We write appeals and lawsuits, we can’t just sit in court,” said Vidovic.

“The solution would be to stop overbooking the State court with the less complex cases and send them lower down to the entity-level courts.”

The Bosnian State prosecution wasn’t available for comment.

The Prosecution has hired 13 new war crimes prosecutors in November last year and five more in March this year. There are currently 38 prosecutors working on war crimes, and this year alone they have charged more than 100 people for war crimes, which is more than 2012 and 2013 combined.

Džana Brkanić

This post is also available in: Bosnian