Press release | Date: 31/05/2022 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
There is still a widespread need to support judicial reform in Western Balkan countries. The Norwegian Courts Administration is heading a five-year programme to strengthen the judicial systems in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.
The programme has a budget of approximately NOK 100 million over 5 years. On 31 May, Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt signed the agreement launching the programme.
‘These countries are experiencing the effects of brain drain, which often stems from a lack of democratic institutions and well-functioning judicial systems. Efforts to promote an independent judiciary and independent courts are a core area in our cooperation with the Western Balkan countries, which is why this project is important,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.
Norway has been involved in the work to reform and enhance the capacity of the judiciary in the Western Balkans since the early 2000s. The first efforts were carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina and were later expanded to include Kosovo and Montenegro. Over the past 10 years, Norway has invested more than NOK 200 million in judicial reform in bilateral as well as regional projects.
The aim of the programme is to strengthen the rule of law by building capacity and enhancing competence. This will help to promote independent courts, which in turn will increase trust in the legal system and strengthen the framework for democracy.