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Documenta – Center for Dealing with the Past organised a presentation of the trial monitoring methodology and results of the monitoring activities of our partner, the Polish NGOs Court Watch Poland as a part of the SEE Civil Society Dialogue on Trial Monitoring, supported by the ODIHR-OSCE. The presentation took place on 3 March 2015, at the premises of the Human Rights House, Zagreb, Selska 112 c.

For many years now, Documenta has been publicly stressing the importance of prosecuting war crimes and continuous trial monitoring thus we believe that cooperation and sharing of experiences at international level is very important for the strengthening of this action. Cooperation and exchange of good practices as well as dilemmas and doubts related to the trials monitoring programs will contribute to the further developing and improving of this methodology.

The Polish Court Watch Foundation has introduced an alternative methodology for trial monitoring built on the idea of public civic engagement. The overall objective pursued by the NGO is twofold: 1) to enhance the citizens’ trust in the judiciary by reducing the existing perception-gap between the public at large and the legal elite; 2) to raise the awareness of the judiciary on the existence of this gap by advocating for the latter to perform in a law-abiding and client-oriented fashion.

The novelty is to assess the functioning of the system with the “eyes of a regular citizen” who is not acquainted with the legal jargon and all procedural details. In long-term, this methodology leads at reducing the dependency from international/national donors, by relying more on voluntarism of university students or engaged citizens.

The other advantage is the holistic approach to justice and multi-dimensional element of the methodology which benefits from contributions from other disciplines in addition to law, including sociology, philosophy and socio-psychology. This might be very beneficial to CSOs from SEE.