“Environmental Law Clinic” will help citizens to protect their environment and fight for justice

28.4.2016 - BANJA LUKA/PRAGUE
Arnika (the Czech Republic) and Centre for the Environment (Bosnia and Herzegovina) launched Environmental Law Clinic
Marie Slamova/Arnika

While in the European Union, people are less and less afraid of politicians and state officials.  Citizens are beginning to defend their rights at the court. Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina still demand their rights. This is the reason that non-governmental organizations Arnika, from the Czech Republic, and Center for Environment, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, are launching “Environmental Law Clinic," Their objective is to educate law students and involve them into civil society campaigns that advocate for a better environment. 

“In partnership with the faculty of law at the University of Banja Luka, we are creating a complementary educational course on environmental and administrative law. It will be led by experienced lawyers both from the Czech Republic and Bosnia. Our aim is to increase the currently very limited capacity of legal experts who can support citizens in environmental cases and improve the enforcement of laws while working with the entity/state authorities,” says Viktor Bjelić from Center for Environment.

Within the course, students will not only attend the presentations and an intensive educational seminar, but they will also be involved with real cases through internships with Center for Environment. The students will assist the citizens in dealing with environmental cases. Five of the best performing interns will have the opportunity to participate in a experience study tour in the Czech Republic.

“We believe that Environmental Law Clinic will help the citizens to become equivalent partners to the state officials, developers and industrial companies. Due to corruption, negligence of the authorities, or simply ignorance of the law, the local communities often need support to be able to reach justice,” Martin Skalský from the Czech NGO Arnika says.

The Environmental Law Clinic is supported by the Transition Promotion Programme of the Czech government. It is a natural continuation of previous activities implemented by Arnika and its partners in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Recently, an online map of industrial polluters in Central Bosnia region has been developed and an analysis of  the environmental democracy compliance published. Arnika also supports Eko forum Zenica’s campaign to decrease pollution from ArcelorMittal steelworks.

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