Transitional justice is one of the priorities on BiH’s path to EU

SARAJEVO, April 4 (FENA) – The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN BiH) organized the conference ‘The Role of Transitional Justice on BiH’s Path to the EU’ today in Sarajevo. The conference aims to emphasize the key priority number “five” of the European Union for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which reads ”take concrete steps to promote an environment conducive to reconciliation, in order to overcome the legacy of war”.

Discussions during the conference will aim to explore more deeply how this country can achieve the preconditions for reconciliation.

Bearing in mind that the Revised State Strategy for War Crimes Cases expired in 2023, BIRN BiH will use this opportunity to present an overview of the state’s achieved results in the prosecution of war crimes, but also to highlight key remaining challenges.

The conference is organized as part of the project “Strategic Review of the Process of Transitional Justice through Media”, which is realized with the support of the Federal Public Service of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Belgium.

BIRN BiH Executive Director Denis Džidić said in his address to the media that the presentation and panel discussion will be focused on the role of transitional justice and dealing with the past on the European path.

”Bosnia and Herzegovina has been approved to open negotiations with the EU, and now we believe that the key issue is to define priority number five, which means creating conditions conducive to reconciliation, to be defined much more clearly. What we have seen so far is that, unlike other priorities that are very decisive, this one has been left quite undefined, and what we see in BiH, especially in the last few days, is how crucial this issue is, how the language of hatred, historical revisionism, denial of genocide and war crimes is widespread in our country. All these things continue to deepen the gap between people, and it is impossible to talk about other aspects of joining the EU without this segment being clearer, more precise, more decisive,” pointed out Džidić.

Chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Benjamin Sturtewagen, said that they have been cooperating with colleagues from BIRN for some time on several joint activities, among which is the Transitional Justice project.

”Transitional leadership is one of the priorities of the EU and this was especially emphasized in the decision that the council made two weeks ago, so this remains one of the focuses of our efforts and activities. Transitional leadership is a priority for Bosnia and Herzegovina and all the mentioned actors. We must not allow this topic to fall into oblivion and to stop talking about it. That is why it is important that we organize an event like today’s where we will continue to emphasize the importance of this topic, especially in the process that is before BiH,” said Sturtewagen.