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Western Balkans Rule of Law


Over the past 15 years, the AIRE Centre has conducted a number of human rights training programmes for judges and lawyers in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The AIRE Centre’s comprehensive Rule of Law programme in Serbia and in Montenegro has been established in 1999. It brings together leading British barristers and judges as well as Serbia’s and Montenegro’s own specialists to influence the incorporation and application of the European and other international legal standards into domestic law and the courts. The Centre has also been active in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Kosovo, where its experts participate in the judicial training programmes.  In addition, the AIRE Centre has been commissioned to participate in several of the Council of Europe’s compatibility studies (e.g in Albania and in (then) Federal Republic of Yugoslavia).  These studies assess the legislation of the new Member State against ECHR legal and human rights standards. The Centre also assisted governments in the Western Balkans to strengthen their domestic judicial training institutions.

Today the AIRE Centre is increasingly active in the field of rule of law reform throughout the Western Balkans. The Legal Bulletin created in 2000 remains the most up to date ECtHR case summaries and expert commentaries in local languages with over 140 publications. The organisation of the first annual Rule of Law forum in March 2014 starts a new phase of strengthening regional cooperation to improve implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights in domestic courts throughout the region. The online European Human Rights Database for South East Europe, launched in 2014, is giving access to judges, prosecutors, lawyers, NGO’s, students and civil society to ECtHR case law, useful Article overviews, comprehensive factual situations and other materials in local languages, all in one place. This tool will facilitate information finding and consequently help judges and others better understand and apply the ECHR at the national level. 

Currently the AIRE Centre is active in the following areas:

Rule of Law and European Integration in Serbia

Rule of Law and European Integrations in Montenegro

Capacity Building of the Serbian Civil Sector to Fight Discrimination

The AIRE Centre’s Legal Bulletin

Or, for any more information on the AIRE Centre’s work in the Western Balkans, please contact Biljana Braithwaite or Catharina Harby.