2015

Second Regional Rule of Law Forum for South East Europe

6 and 7 March 2015 – Belgrade, Serbia, Falkensteiner Hotel Belgrade

In 2015, the Forum focussed on Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which guarantees the right to a fair trial. This right is of fundamental importance in a democratic society, occupying a central place in the Convention system. Article 6 is the provision of the Convention most frequently invoked by applicants to the European Court of Human Rights. Countries in the Western Balkan region have exceptionally high numbers of applications before the Strasbourg Court, in relation to the right to a fair trial. Many of these cases are similar and evidence systemic problems in the region’s domestic legal system. The issues discussed at the Forum included: the length of proceedings, execution of judgments, and the right to a reasoned judgment.


Report

The second regional Rule of Law Forum for South East Europe was held on the 6th and 7th of March 2015 in Belgrade, Serbia at the Falkensteiner Hotel. The Rule of Law Forum is an initiative of the AIRE Centre and Civil Rights Defenders, implemented with the support of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Government of Sweden. The Forum provides a platform to: promote the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) across the region; encourage regional cooperation in strengthening the rule of law and respect for human rights; and assist the process of EU integration in South East Europe. This year’s topic was Article 6 of the ECHR, which guarantees the right to a fair trial. This right is of fundamental importance in a democratic society, occupying a central place in the Convention system. Article 6 is the provision of the Convention most frequently invoked by applicants to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Some of the countries in the region have exceptionally high numbers of applications before the Strasbourg Court in per capita terms, in particular concerning the right to a fair trial. Many of these cases are similar, indicating systemic problems in the region’s domestic legal systems. The invited participants were from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo*, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. The Forum brought together Presidents and Judges of Supreme Courts and Constitutional Courts from the region, Directors of Judicial Training Academies and Institutions, Government Agents before the Strasbourg Court, representatives of NGOs and prominent legal experts in the field.