“Ensuring access to Justice for witness/victims
through strengthening existing and establishing
new Witness support Networks across BH”


About the Project

Project Duration:

01. januar 2015. - 31. decembar 2017.

Project Holder: 

Udruženje građana Vive Žene, Tuzla, BiH

Project Partners:

Udruženje građana Vive Žene,  Tuzla, BiH

Udruženje građana Medica, Zenica,  BiH

Fondacija Udružene žene,  Banja Luka, BiH

Agencija za saradnju, edukaciju i razvoj, ACED Banja Luka, BiH

Locations of the Project Implementation:

Brčko District;  

Federation BiH - Cantons: Canton Sarajevo;Hercegovina-Neretva Canton; Bosna- Podrinje Canton; Posavina Canton; Zenica – Doboj Canton; Una - Sana Canton; Central Bosnia Canton; Tuzla Canton.

Republika Srpska – District Courts Regions: Banja Luka, Doboj, Bijeljina, East Sarajevo and Trebinje.



Project partners represent the group of civil society organizations with twenty years of experience in psychosocial work with survivors of war, strengthening capacities of governmental and nongovernmental organizations, their networking, and joint work in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The core principle in support to survivors/witnesses represents establishing of the coordination – multidisciplinary teams from governmental and nongovernmental institutions, their networking and strengthening their psychosocial approach in work with survivors/witnesses of both sexes, with creating the more efficient and humane environment for both survivors and witnesses, as well as experts and personnel involved in the processes of support.  

This approach also enables structural strengthening of the systems that will result in more efficient processing of the cases by the judicial institutions, and be the basis for support to survivors/witnesses of the organized crime.


Objectives, tasks, and activities of this project are the integral part of the important international and local documents, initiatives, and programs:

  • BiH State Strategy on Solving the Issues of War Crimes,
  • Program for Victims of Rape, Sexual Abuse, and Torture and Their Families in BiH for the period 2013-2016,
  • UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820, as well as the Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, 
  • European Parliament Resolution adopted on 17 June 2010, and the International Protocol on Documenting and Investigating Sexual Violence in Conflict, 
  • Assessment of Needs for Support of Witnesses/Victims in BiH, prepared by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), 
  • Recommendation of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for Protection and Support of Witnesses in War Crime Cases in BiH, and 
  • Global Initiative for Prevention of Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Overall project aim is improving access to justice and rehabilitation for survivors/witnesses of the conflict through providing timely multidisciplinary support in order to prevent future conflict, and contribute to the sustainable peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Specific project objectives are:

  • Establishing nine (9) new, and improving five (5) existing networks of support for survivors/witnesses in judicial proceedings, on the way to transfer knowledge and experiences of good practice models in BiH,
  • Strengthening capacities of at least hundred and seventy (170) professionals (from governmental institutions and nongovernmental organizations), women and men members of the established networks for providing efficient and effective support to survivors/witnesses,
  • Strengthening capacities of local nongovernmental organizations for leading/facilitating established networks, and raising awareness in local communities on needs and priorities of this population, right on rehabilitation and psychosocial support in the targeted areas.


Expected Results

  • Established fourteen (14) multidisciplinary and sustainable networks for providing support to survivors/witnesses in the targeted areas,
  • Established more efficient cooperation and active participation of the responsible institutions and organizations in the system of support,
  • Improved awareness on needs of survivors and witnesses within responsible institutions with influence on ensuring access to justice and rehabilitation,
  • Improved awareness of citizens’ and professional public on rights of survivors and witnesses, and roles of networks for support to survivors/witnesses,
  • Strengthened capacities of local nongovernmental organizations, as members of the networks, for developing interventions and improving services for survivors/witnesses,
  • Local nongovernmental organizations are using their work in networks to provide concrete support for improving services for survivors/witnesses,
  • Local nongovernmental organizations participate more actively and cooperate in joint activities of multidisciplinary teams in fourteen (14) project areas.


Existing networks for support to survivors/witnesses:

Five (5) networks for support to survivors/witnesses are already established in BiH, as follows: in Zenica-Doboj Canton, Una-Sana Canton, Middle Bosnia Canton, Tuzla Canton, established by Medica Zenica and Vive Žene Tuzla, as well as in for the City Banja Luka, established by the Foundation Udružene žene Banja Luka and the Association Medica Zenica.

The key challenge of this project is to multiply existing working models of the networks to other areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina where such networks of support for survivors/witnesses do not exist: Sarajevo Canton, Hercegovina-Neretva Canton, Bosna-Podrinje Canton, Posavina Canton, Brčko District, as well as regions of Doboj, Bijeljina, East Sarajevo, Trebinje, and complete region of Banja Luka.


Framework methodology for project implementation is contextual and integrative multi-disciplinary approach, based on the following principles:

  • The approach based on human rights and gender sensitive approach with focus on promotion, protection and exercise of human rights of survivors/witnesses, and strengthening institutional capacities at the local levels, in order to eliminate all forms of violence,
  • Holistic approach in solving rights and needs of survivors,
  • Coordination, networking, and multi-sectoral partnership that involves governmental institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and other civil society organizations that are directly working on the issues of trauma, war torture, and providing support for witnesses,
  • Dedication and commitment for exchange of good practice models through documenting, evaluation, and distribution of results.  


Strengthening capacities of networks’ members for support to survivors/witnesses will be implemented through systemic education and trainings in order to prevent re-traumatization, and contribute to improvement of protection and rehabilitation of survivors/witnesses prior, during, and after testimony. This activity will ensure for survivors and witnesses to have access to adequate support, regardless of their nationality, sex, or place of residence.

Strengthening capacities of local nongovernmental organizations will be conducted through trainings on establishing and managing networks, in order for them to take over long-term leading role within established networks, and ensure equal access, protection, and treatment of survivors/witnesses in the local communities.

Support to witnesses will be coordinated, and will be provided from the earliest phase of their involvement in the judicial proceedings through usage of existing knowledge and capacities of the project team.

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