As part of an investigation conducted in a war crimes case, the Prosecutor’s Office of the Central Bosnia Canton in Travnik, recently used a video link to take statement from a witness who currently lives in Canada. The video-conference system which has facilitated hearing of witnesses from remote locations via video link was financed by the European Union through Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA 2009 and IPA 2010) in the amount of more than 400,000 euro. The High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) of Bosnia and Herzegovina provided leadership and technical support in the implementation of the video-conference system.
In accordance with the applicable legal regulations for international legal aid, the general technical requirements for a video link were finalised in BiH in 2015 and as such has enabled the examination of witnesses from abroad in cases pending before the prosecutors’ offices and courts throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina,
The use of the video-conference system will contribute to more effective and cost-efficient investigations and proceedings, as well as to more efficient and higher quality in implementation of witness protection measures in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Initially, the video conference system connected 28 judicial institutions as financed by the EU, and expanded to additional seven prosecutor’s offices in 2014. This later support was implemented within the framework of the Swiss-funded project “Strengthening prosecutorial capacities in the criminal justice system”.
The legal process of establishing a video link with Canada and the witness was conducted in a coordinated and professional manner by the prosecutor, the ICT officers and administrative staff of the Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office Travnik, the ICT Department of the HJPC Secretariat, and the staff of the War Crimes Capacity Building Project , which is implemented by the OSCE Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the financial assistance of the governments of the United Kingdom, the United States, Norway, Switzerland, Italy and Germany. At the same time, great help was provided by the Canadian authorities, their ICT experts, the inspectors of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and employees of the International Assistance Group within the Canadian Department of Justice.