Since the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the countries of the Western Balkans have made strides toward democratic governance and incremental improvements to rule of law. Full realization of successful transitions requires judicial systems that serve the public and protect the rights of citizens. Since 1991, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) has been supporting justice-sector development in the Balkans through a range of legal reform programs. In September 2013, ABA ROLI launched a regional program—operating in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia—to encourage the region’s bar associations and civil society organizations to collaborate and to share knowledge, best practices and tools.
Program goals include: creating a demand-driven regional defense bar network; establishing mechanisms for the network to exchange ideas and resources; and developing and supporting responsive leadership in national bar associations. The three-year program is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development.