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The first Regional Rule of Law Forum for South East Europe was held in Budva, Montenegro on 28 and 29 March. This is the first time countries of the region have cooperated in this way.
The aim of the Forum was to promote the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights in the region, encourage regional cooperation over the continued development of the Rule of Law and Human Rights, and to assist the process of EU integration across the region.
The Vice President of the Government of Montenegro and Minister of Justice, Dusko Markovic, and the President of the Supreme Court of Montenegro, Vesna Medinica, opened the event. The Forum also hosted four judges of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg.
The invited participants were from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo*, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. The Forum brought together presidents and judges of Supreme Courts and Constitutional Courts from the region, Directors of Judicial Training Academies and Institutions, Government Agents before the Strasbourg Court, and representatives of NGOs and prominent legal experts in the field.
The organisers also launched a new regional Database of ECtHR jurisprudence, developed in the regional languages. The database is the result of cooperation between the AIRE Centre legal team and the Agent of the Montenegrin Government in Strasbourg, along with his colleagues in the region, with support from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The Database will provide judges, prosecutors and other legal practitioners with easy access to ECtHR jurisprudence in their own languages, and thereby strengthen the implementation of the Convention at the national level.