Turkey assists Balkan countries in developing judicial institutions

08/01/2014

The Turkish Co-operation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) implements projects to build and equip courts, and train judiciary employees.

By Klaudija Lutovska for Southeast European Time in Skopje -- 08/01/14

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Officials from the Turkish Co-operation and Co-ordination Agency (TIKA) present technical equipment to the Gostivar court in Macedonia. [TIKA]

Turkey is assisting legal reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Macedonia and Kosovo by providing the three judiciaries' infrastructure, technology and know-how to function more effectively.

Officials from the Turkish Co-operation and Co-ordination Agency (TIKA) said they have implemented numerous projects aimed at developing judicial institutions, primarily courts and prosecutor's offices.

"TIKA's role is to share Turkey's experiences with other countries through co-operation partnerships," Teoman Tiryaki, TIKA program co-ordinator in Macedonia, told SETimes. "We hope the implemented projects will contribute to the more effective functioning of the legal system."

TIKA has been active in Kosovo since 2009, when it helped construct and equip the country's constitutional court.

"We started from scratch. There was no infrastructure. They [Turkey] assisted us to build the courthouse," said Enver Hasani, president of the constitutional court of Kosovo.

Following the construction and equipping the court, TIKA organised training for Kosovo judiciary employees in Turkey.

"Now they continue to support us in our research," Hasani added.

Last month, TIKA donated computer and court communication equipment to Macedonia's constitutional court and helped create the court's databases.

"Thanks to TIKA, the constitutional court will work by using the new technology, including computers and other latest court equipment," Elena Gosheva, president of the Macedonia constitutional court, told SETimes.

The equipment was placed in 30 offices and will greatly improve the court's communication and information storage, and will ensure the docket will be cleared as scheduled, said Macedonian Constitutional Court spokesman Jugoslav Milenkovic.

"The speed of searching and retrieving information as well as the quicker and safer internal and external communication are ... helping us approach EU standards," Milenkovic told SETimes.

TIKA has also provided equipment to the appellate court in Skopje and the municipal courts in Tetovo and in Gostivar.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), TIKA has been present since 1995 and has implemented several infrastructure projects, including construction of a library for people with poor eyesight.

"Based on proposals by local communities and their priorities, we direct our projects by offering technical assistance in their implementation," said Zulkuf Oruc, TIKA director for BiH.

TIKA is providing financial assistance and technical equipment to the Sarajevo municipal court. The project includes reconstruction of the court building, building a modern courtroom, an administrative office hall and special rooms for protected witnesses.

Turkey Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin visited BiH in November and said the two countries agreed that their high judicial and prosecutorial councils will improve co-operation.

One of the goals is to enable BiH to efficiently process war crime and organised crime cases, which necessitates strengthening institutions on all levels and ensuring improved working conditions.

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Officials said there is a need for a separate, adequately equipped building to house the prosecutor's office, and they are eager to share Turkey's best practices in jurisprudence and court management.

"Turkey has a strong, well-organised judicial system and its experiences are very useful for us because they can be easily transferred to our country," said Milorad Novkovic, president of the BiH High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council.

Correspondent Bedrana Kaletovic in Sarajevo contributed to this report.

How can Turkey further assist judiciary reforms in the Balkans? Share your opinion in the comments space.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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