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  Annual Report 2002


A. Members of the Chamber

The Human Rights Chamber is composed of 14 members as provided in Article VII of Annex 6 to the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (see Annex A). Four members were appointed by the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and two by the Republika Srpska. The other eight members are internationals and were appointed by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. Pursuant to Annex 6, the international members are not citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina or any neighbouring state. The President of the Chamber, Ms. Michèle Picard, a French national, was designated by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe from among the international members. The members appointed are all distinguished lawyers and bring to the Chamber a wide variety of experience in different backgrounds including the judiciary, the academic sphere, private legal practice, administration and politics, and international, criminal and human rights law. A list of the members and their short biographies are attached to this Report as Annex B.

B. Secretariat of the Chamber

The Secretariat is the full-time staff of the Chamber, based in Sarajevo, with an additional office in Banja Luka. The staff of the Secretariat remained at about 45 during the year, with approximately 10 internationals employed at any one time. Additionally, several fourth-year national law students work as interns in both the Sarajevo and Banja Luka offices. In the first few months of 2003, approximately 10 new staff members (mainly lawyers and translators) and several interns were hired. A list of the staff of the Secretariat in 2002 is attached to this Report as Annex C.

In preparation for the sessions and during the sessions, the staff of the Chamber receives and processes applications; corresponds with the applicants and respondent Parties on cases in procedure; researches national and international law; prepares memoranda and draft decisions for presentation at the sessions; coordinates the preparation of the session agendas for the plenary and two panels; organises public hearings; keeps track of the decisions adopted, delivered and dispatched; and continually updates the case database and case files with incoming and outgoing correspondence. Almost all documents including submissions of the respondent Parties and applicants, correspondence, press releases, news articles, case memoranda and decisions are translated in full for every session. During the sessions, which take place for one full week every month, the lawyers follow their cases as they come before the Chamber, take instructions from the judges for further procedure and take the minutes of the session. The translators provide simultaneous interpretation during the public hearings and sessions.

The staff of the Chamber also perform many additional tasks. A press release is made every month which summarizes the decisions on admissibility and merits issued at each session and announces upcoming public hearings. These are distributed widely to the national media and international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The staff also publishes volumes of its decisions every six months and an annual report; keeps the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina informed about the work of the Chamber through meetings and various types of reporting; cooperates on issues of mutual concern with OSCE, OHR, the CRPC and the BiH Constitutional Court; tracks the implementation of the Chamber's decisions; writes reports to donors; updates its web site; and undertakes a multitude of administrative tasks necessary to keep the Secretariat running efficiently on a daily basis.

The Human Rights Chamber is provided office space by the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Presidency Building in Sarajevo. New staff hired in 2003, however, had to be accommodated in office space rented by the Chamber within the Executive Offices of the Commission for Real Property Claims (CRPC), at Muvekita 4 in Sarajevo, as no additional space was provided to the Chamber within the Presidency building. The Chamber meets in session in the Presidency Building in a room that it shares with the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Public hearings are held at the Sarajevo Cantonal Court. Private office space is rented in Banja Luka.