Within the United Nations Development Program project entitled "Strengthening environmental rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina", a three-day expert seminar entitled "Criminal-legal protection of the environment" was held in Konjic.
Professional seminar "Protection of the Environment through Criminal Law”
September 22, 2023
Within the United Nations Development Program project entitled "Strengthening environmental rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina", a three-day expert seminar entitled "Criminal-legal protection of the environment" was held in Konjic. The seminar brought together 45 prosecutors, judges, environmental and criminal inspectors, as well as lecturers and experts in the field of environmental law from BiH, Serbia, and France.
"Climate change and threats to the environment continue to intensify, which represents an ever-increasing challenge for humanity, and the understanding and application of environmental justice, the rule of law, and criminal-legal environmental protection is still on the margins. Additional education of holders of judicial functions in this area is needed,"
emphasized Tomislav Čavić, director of the Center for the Education of Judges and Public Prosecutors of the RS.
The project entitled "Strengthening environmental rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina" entails improving access to environmental justice, promoting human rights, and building the capacity of judges, prosecutors, and inspectors to detect, process, and prove violations and crimes against the environment. Given that BiH received the status of a candidate for membership in the European Union in December 2022, one of the imperatives is the harmonization of its legislation with the EU acquis in this area. Therefore, one of the priorities of the project is aimed at analyzing compliance and making recommendations in this regard.
"Environmental justice conceived with the aim of promoting responsibility in environmental matters, focusing on the respect, protection and fulfillment of environmental rights and the promotion of the rule of law in the field of the environment,"
said Alfredo Strippoli, Head of the Department for the Rule of Law, Delegation of the European Union to BiH added that there is no doubt that human rights in the field of the environment will increasingly be the focus of human rights reviews in the future, which will require institutional readiness and systematic monitoring, reporting and processing of human rights violations in the field of the environment.
Part of the seminar was a thematic session on the judicial practices of the European Court of Human Rights by Natalia Kobylarz, a senior lawyer at the European Court of Human Rights, who explained that:
"For the ECtHR, environmental protection is an increasingly important topic in today's society. Public authorities must achieve "a fair balance" between the general interest of the community, such as economic development, and the fundamental rights of an individual who is severely negatively affected by pollution or other types of environmental harm."
In July 2022, the General Assembly voted in a Resolution that the "right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment" is counted among fundamental human rights, making this right historically recognized at the international level. The Resolution highlights the right as key to the enjoyment of other human rights, emphasizes the obligation of states to respect, protect, and promote human rights in activities aimed at solving environmental challenges, and encourages cooperation between states, UN agencies, and other actors in promoting the implementation of that right.
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