Support to the Judiciary in Bosnia and Herzegovina - Strengthening Prosecutors in the Criminal Justice System

Project completed

BiH initiated important legislative and policy reforms in the justice sector in the view to strengthen the rule of law, as important step towards European integration. These reforms are still ongoing. The project provides support to BiH's authorities in shaping the prosecutorial system, in improving criminal investigations, in establishing tools for executing prosecutorial functions more efficiently, effectively and transparently, and in fostering the public's trust into the work of the prosecutors' offices.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Human rights

Legal and judicial development
Democratic participation and civil society
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
01.12.2014 - 31.12.2019
CHF  3’000’000

BiH's transition process towards European integration involves fundamental changes in the country's justice system. Although overall progress has been achieved in establishing an effective and coordinated judiciary, the sustainability of relevant sector reforms under implementation remains uncertain; related processes still are at very initial stages and require consistent long term efforts from experts and decision makers. Financial restrictions and an excessive fragmentation in respective budgetary responsibilities continue to undermine the independence of key actors in BiH's judiciary. lnefficiency plagues the overall judicial system; while relevant institutions have progressively reduced the accumulation of cases, the current backlog still constitutes more than 455‘OOO proceedings. The number of open criminal complaints older than three years is 3062, while the number of open criminal investigations is 1'520; this reflects a significant burden on the judiciary due to capacity constraints and to financial constraints.


The overall goal of the project is to improve the performance, efficiency and credibility of BiH's prosecutorial system; it needs to be accountable to the citizens, and it is to be fully harmonised with relevant EU standards and practices to ensure the rule of law. By the end of 2018, it is expected that the prosecutorial system will have tools in place that secure efficient and effectiue services, consistent with the needs of its end users. The prosecutorial system will haue a bettet approach towards BiH's citizens, which will reinforce public trust; it will respond to the country's complex criminal justice needs, and contribute to BiH's transition towards European Integration.


Target groups

The project maintains a country-wide outreach. Main beneficiaries of the project are all 20 Prosecutors' Offices (POs) in BiH (including 353 prosecutors), 20 chief prosecutors, 20 spokespersons of POs and medla professionals, approximately 300 law en-forcement officials, the 2 Entities' Judicial and Prosecutorial Training Centres (JPTCs), 2 NGOs involved in relevant actions, and 3 prosecutorial professional associations.

The end beneficiaries are the citizens of BIH, who will have access to an efficient, effective and transparent prosecutorial system.


Medium-term outcomes

(1) The prosecutorial work in BiH continuously improves its efficiency and quality, through an evidence based substantial reduction of backlog cases, and through an increased processing of priority cases of organised crime and corruption.

(II) The performance of and the coordination within BiH's prosecutorial system is strengthened through a fully operational Prosecutorial Strategic Body and efficiently managed Prosecutors' Offices; this in accordance with respectively defined Strategie priorities, plans and policies.

(III) BiH's citizens benefit from prosecutorial services of adequate quality and high accountability, as stated in the Strategy for Care of Users of Prosecutorial Offices (to be finalised and adopted).



Expected results:  

1) Proposals for an improved legal framework, supportive to toster efficiency of the prosecutorial work are created and advocated to relevant governmental institutions for adoption.

2) Procedural bases for the improvement of prosecutorial efficiency and for a better cooperation between law enforcement agencies and POs in criminal investigation are defined.

3) Programmes tor prosecutors' training, in line with their needs are revised; relevant capacities of the Entities' Training Centres are strengthened.

4) HJPC's Prosecutorial Strategic Body is supported to fulfil its' mandate on enhancement of prosecutorial efficiency and effectiveness.

5) The 20 POs are efficiently managed, in line with needs-based strategic and operational priorities, incorporating a gender sensitive approach.

6) The strategic and operational framework for the care of POs' users is adopted and implemented.

7) Focused crime prevention programmes are adopted, implemented and jointly monitored with citizens and professional associations ot prosecutors in selected communities.

8) Capacities of spokespersons and journalists for quality reporting on prosecutorial work are reinforced in accordance with set standards; pertinent and communication channels are established.


Results from previous phases:  

The project was in its 1st phase specifically designed to be embedded in the High Judiciary and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC), the relevant national institution for the management of the judicial and prosecutorial system; thus, it played a pioneering role in creating foundations for substantial reforms. The project became very visible and widely recognised as a key resource centre on reform matters in the justice sector. Evident resuits have been achieved in establishing technical capacities to monitor the 20 Prosecutors‘ Offices (POs) performance, mainly based on new work processes for the prosecutors' case management (including a more effective data collection and reporting system); by establishing a joint police-prosecutors' capacity building scheme which resulted in more precise investigative techniques and in a clearer understanding of evidentiary procedures (437 professionals have been trained); by the introduction of strategic management planning in 70% of the POs; by developing pertinent legislative amendments on the criminal code and the criminal procedure code; and by developing the Justice Sector Reform Strategy (JSRS) 2014-2018. Prosecutors' performance evidently improved; criminal investigations increased by 12%.


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Project partners Contract partner
Foreign state institution
Swiss state institution
  • Central State of South East
  • National State Institute SWISS

Other partners

State, entity and cantonal Ministries of Justice and Police

Selected Law Enforcement Agencies

The Entities' Training Centers for Judges and Prosecutors

Selected NGOs

Professional Associations


Coordination with other projects and actors

• The SDC funded Project on the Support to the Juvenile Justice Reform, implemented by UNICEF

• The USAID funded Justice Sector Development Project (JSDP) II

• The UK funded Support to the State Prosecutors Office

These projects will jointly promote an effective processes' management in POs. They will also complement the IPA 2012/2013 programme of EU, which supports the renovation and consolidation of BiH's Case Management System (CMS) in courts and POs, a centralised Information system tor all judicial cases.


Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    3’000’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    3’007’040
Project phases

Phase 2 01.12.2014 - 31.12.2019   (Completed)

Phase 1 01.03.2010 - 30.11.2014   (Completed)