(BIHAĆ/SARAJEVO, 27 February 2019) – A new Cantonal Court building with a surface area of 2,300 m² which satisfies the highest standards, was opened today in Bihać. The construction of the building was supported through the EU Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance.
The Cantonal Court previously shared a building with the Municipal Court in Bihać where conditions were rather poor, primarily due to the lack of available space. Construction of the new building created better conditions for efficient work and faster case processing. Access to the new building has been made accessible and adapted to persons with disabilities. A high level of energy efficiency was achieved by installation of appropriate insulating materials, an advanced heating/cooling system and installation of solar collectors.
The European Union secured more than €1.6 million for construction of the new building of the Cantonal Court in Bihać in order to improve work conditions in this court which has jurisdiction, among others, over serious criminal offences committed in the territory of the Una-Sana Canton.
Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative in BiH Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark underlined the importance of the project as part of the EU’s broader support for the rule of law in BiH. “This building is intended to serve the needs of the citizens of the Una-Sana Canton, so they can have a more efficient judiciary. Of course, for the people who will work here it is not enough just to have a new building, which is why we have expanded our assistance to modernization of the entire equipment, with the aim of improving transparency and efficiency of the court,” Ambassador Wigemark said.
President of the Cantonal Court Fata Nadarević thanked the European Union and the Government of the Una-Sana Canton for the support and noted that the employees of this Court now had obtained improved working conditions similar to those in EU countries. “Given such working conditions and diligence of all employees of this Court, we expect that the citizens of the Una-Sana Canton will be able to exercise their rights in reasonable time frames, which is the objective of every individual judicial official”, Nadarević said.
Project documentation has been provided as a part of „Improving judicial efficiency“ project implemented by the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of BiH (HJPC BiH) during 2011-2016 and funded by SIDA. Norwegian Government provided funds for furniture in the new building.
President of the HJPC BiH Milan Tegeltija said that HJPC BiH has continuously worked for the last 14 years, since its establishment in 2004, to build an efficient justice system for BiH, in line with the European standards. “BiH citizens have always been the focus of our attention, who need and deserve the judiciary that will be able to successfully protect their human rights and fundamental freedoms and make them feel equal before the law and judiciary,“ Tegeltija said.
Government of Una-Sana Canton (USC) provided the land plot and necessary permits for construction of the building, and also the connections to city infrastructure and funds for landscaping.
Prime Minister of Una-Sana Canton Mustafa Ružnić said that the USC Government has been continuously investing in the judiciary and provided for unimpeded work of employees in all judicial institutions. “The message we are sending today is that we are creating the best possible working conditions for the judicial system. For a judiciary to operate efficiently and in line with the European standards, courts must have proper working conditions. Therefore, the construction of this building is equally important for both Bihać, Una-Sana Canton, judges and citizens,” said Ružnić.
The project is the part of broader assistance of the European Union for construction, reconstruction and modernization of the prosecutor’s offices and courts throughout BiH, as a part of support to strengthening the rule of law in the country. European Union has invested in the construction and reconstruction of the prosecutor’s offices and courts more than EUR 20 million so far.