Tenth Annual Rule of Law Forum for South East Europe

The Tenth Annual Rule of Law Forum for South East Europe was held on 10 and 11 November 2023 in Sarajevo. The Forum‘s topic was “Balancing Data Protection with Transparent Justice: The European Legal Framework”.

The focus of this year’s Forum was on the key challenges and opportunities for creating greater balance between data protection and judicial transparency. The emphasis was made on the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms or, in particular, the protection of Article 8 of the European Convention (right to private and family life in the context of court proceedings) while considering the protection measures as provided for by Article 6 of the European Convention (right to a fair trial).

These topics are particularly prevalent lately as the courts and other state authorities are faced with the issue of admissibility of evidence obtained by intercepting electronic communications via EncroChat, Sky ECC, ANOM and other similar sources. These issues are also prevalent in Europe given that technology advances every day, thus transforming the methods of research and crime processing, as well as the way in which the court proceedings are conducted. 

Valerija Galić, President of the Constitutional Court, Mirsad Ćeman and Zlatko M. Knežević, Vice-Presidents of the Constitutional Court, Ledi Bianku, Judge of the Constitutional Court, Sevima Sali Terzić, Registrar, Erda Zaćiragić, Head of the Office of the President and Ermina Dumanjić, Head of the Constitutional Case Law Section participated in the work of the Forum on behalf of the Constitutional Court of BiH.

In her opening speech, Valerija Galić, Presdient of the Constitutional Court of BiH emphasised that data protection and transparent justice are becoming increasingly important aspects of society in the developed digital age we live in.

President Galić sad that establishing a balance between data protection and the right to private life on one hand and judicial transparency on the other hand, is the key for preserving democratic values, rights of citizens and rule of law in general. This Forum will offer a unique opportunity to discuss this important issue, and the discussion that will follow will certainly result in quality conclusions.

The Forum was organised by the non-governmental organisations, the AIRE Centre and Civil Rights Defenders, with the support of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, UK Government and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. 

This event brought together over 100 participants, including judges, the vice-president of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), and presidents of judicial institutions, judges, representatives of civil society, and other legal experts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Serbia, including the participants from the wider region.

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