International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) – Canadian section in co-operation with Croatian Helsinki Committee and Croatian Law Centre organized national and regional conference in Bjelolasica, Croatia, in order to present results of the project «Impartiallity and independence of judiciary». (11-OCT-04)

About the project
Primary goal of the project was to strengthen independence and impartiality of judges in Croatia. The project was implemented with financial support from Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in period from 1999 until 2002. Since the project was successful, partners have decided to continue working on the same goals for the next two years.

Based on the previously undertaken activities, two exceptionally important issues were selected for continuation of the project:

                   · Court efficiency, treated through pilot projects in two Municipal Courts in Croatia;

                   · Human rights, undertaken through educative seminars based on principle “judges for judges”.

Increased efficiency
First conference, “Court efficiency”, held on October 7, 2004 represents final stage of the project and presentation of the achieved results and the activities carried out in Municipal Courts in Varazdin and Pula. Presented results direct to conclusion that the increase of court efficiency is achievable if:

                   · the number of cases in which first step in court process isn’t taken within 30 days is                      decreased in full;

                   · the priority in solving have previously unsolved cases;

                   · the work of court counselors is organized better;

                   · the courts in general are disburdened of the cases that can be solved outside of them.

Judges need education
Second conference, “Human Rights” lasted two days and embraced mechanisms of human rights protection, as well as education of judges on that topic, within the Balkan region. After finishing presentations, judges from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro concluded that progress in integration of human rights values in judicial mechanisms and court practice is visible and that it can only be done along with permanent education of judges about that topic. Positive role of the NGO’s in that process was especially pointed out.