Review23 - Regional Rule of Law Network in the Western Balkans
ReView23, founded in 2015, is a regional network of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the Western Balkans (Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro) which share common goals linked to the rule of law, specifically to judicial reform. The long-range vision for the Network is to strengthen the rule of law in fighting corruption to bring about judicial and human rights reform in the region.
ReView23 was built upon earlier regional efforts, supported by the Partnership for Transparency Fund, to improve transparency and accountability in national judicial systems. ReView23 was launched with a specific focus to support partner countries’ actions and strategies as each pursues membership in the European Union (EU). Network attention is directed toward Chapter 23- Judiciary and Fundamental Rights, the laws and regulations governing the European Union, to which EU candidate countries must adhere. Each candidate country has been reviewed by the European Commission annually, during the candidate period and receives specific guidance as to the reforms that will be necessary prior to EU membership. The Network partners are at different stages of EU accession, but one purpose of the Network is to add value to each partner’s efforts, by sharing national knowledge and experience in judicial reform. The three partners have produced a working ‘draft’ of a joint paper entitled From Independence of the Prosecution to the Right to a Fair Trial.
ReView23 is led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM), a Serbian-based CSO, which holds a distinguished track record in fighting for human rights, providing free legal aid and advocating for justice to all citizens. Network partners are: the Center for Civic Education (CCE) in Montenegro which strengthens civil society by promoting citizen participation in shaping policy; and the Macedonia Young Lawyers Association (MYLA) which supports young legal professionals to implement judicial reform.
PTF/HQ and YUCOM are working closely with PTF’s European affiliate, PTF/e.V., to introduce the Network to a broad and diverse audience, to expand the mission of ReView23; demonstrate its relevance to support and guide civil society leaders to strengthen transparency in government institutions and improve access to judicial process for all citizens; and obtain financial support from a broad base of donor constituents. Forthcoming activities include YUCOM as the Secretariat for the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) and a co-sponsored conference with the Southeast Europe Association (SOGDE) in the first half of 2017.