Tirana, 17 March 2017 - AIRE Centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe, London, United Kingdom) and Civil Rights Defenders are organising the Fourth Regional Rule of Law Forum for South East Europe, which took place in Tirana, on 17 and 18 March 2017.

“[T]he idea [of the Regional Rule of Law Forum] was born out of the realisation that by encouraging and facilitating regional cooperation and dialogue, best practices and lessons could be shared; something that is both needed and desirable in order to overcome the common challenges facing the region” said Mrs Biljana Braithwaite, AIRE Centre Western Balkans Programme Manager, at the opening session.

This year’s Forum focuses on the right to freedom of expression in the European Convention on Human Rights, and in particular its relationship with the right to respect for private life and the right to a fair trial. “It is clear that freedom of expression is key to the development, dignity and fulfilment of individuals, is a core component of a country that values the rule of law, and is the foundation of an open and inclusive society” said Guido Raimondi, President of the European Court of Human Rights. 

“The biggest expectation lies with those who practice law whether they are a judges, prosecutors, attorneys or legal experts working with human rights organisations. [We] are not free from the obligation to push for full implementation of human rights standards” said Goran Miletic, Programme Director for the Western Balkans, Civil Rights Defenders. 

More than 160 eminent representatives of the highest courts, the Supreme and Constitutional Courts, judicial councils, directors of judicial academies, institutions and non-government organisations in Albania, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Serbia, as well as these countries’ representatives in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg participate in the work of the Forum.

The Forum is organised with the support of the UK Government, the Swedish International Development Agency, the Regional Cooperation Council and the German International Cooperation Agency GIZ.