Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is a country recovering from the devastating three-year war that accompanied the break up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. The 1992-1995 conflict centred around opposition of the orthodox Serbian minority in BiH to the country’s secession from Yugoslavia, as demanded by its Muslim majority. Now an independent state, under international administration, BiH is working toward rebuilding its damaged infrastructure and economy.
In 2007 the High Judicial Prosecutorial Council of BiH (HJPC) requested assistance in drafting the Book of Rules on Internal Court Operations of BiH. The Book of Rules had been drafted during the rule of Marshall Tito in the former Republic of Yugoslavia. The HJPC was firmly of the view that it was important to standardise and update the Book of Rules as courts were separately and individually amending the Book to meet individual court requirements. It was believed that, if a more unified effort were not taken, court procedures in BiH would become fragmented and thus place a further obstacle in the creation of a more unified judiciary.
A Working Group consisting of judges and court administrators was established in BiH to oversee the task. IRLI met with the Working Group in BiH on three occasions, with a Bosnian delegation visiting on a Study Tour to Ireland. Much of the advice given on the drafting of the Book of Rules was accepted by the Working Group, with the Rules being adopted on 31 March 2008. The result was a text that was user friendly and readily comprehensible to the judiciary, court officials, prosecutors, the legal profession and the general public.