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Balkans Regional Programs

Criminal Law Reform and Anti-Human Trafficking

In September 2013, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) launched a regional program in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia, which will complement current and past rule-of-law programs that ABA ROLI has implemented in the Western Balkan countries.

Each country in the region is implementing some form of criminal law reform initiatives. In some cases, the reform is part of a larger effort to fulfill requirements to join the European Union or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Others have passed criminal procedure codes (CPCs), transitioning from inquisitorial to adversarial criminal justice systems, dramatically changing the roles of judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys.

With funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, ABA ROLI is working at the regional level to strengthen the abilities of bar associations, legal professionals and criminal justice civil society organizations (CSOs) to contribute ongoing reforms. The program creates virtual and in-person networks through which criminal justice stakeholders can exchange ideas and share knowledge, experiences, tools and best practices. This program complements our other, national-level programs in the region. Drawing on its legal technical expertise and long-standing engagement in the region, ABA ROLI is also helping enhance legal professionals’ trial advocacy skills to support effective implementation of the new CPCs in Macedonia and Serbia.