The International Program Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH

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Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton met with a delegation from Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH) on June 10, 2010, at the request of Common Cause, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) in Washington, DC. Common Cause and Judicial Watch, along with six other ideologically diverse NGO watchdog groups in the nation’s capital, joined in coalition to push for reform of the congressional ethics process. The need to fix the broken ethics process in Congress was an issue in which they all were in agreement. Acting in unison, they formed “an effective vehicle for applying public pressure on the policymakers charged with crafting and enforcing ethics rules in Congress.” The purpose of the meeting with Judicial Watch was to highlight the effectiveness of bipartisan support when there are issues of widespread concern—such as the need to root out corruption by demanding accountability and transparency in government. President Tom Fitton provided the visiting delegates with an overview of Judicial Watch’s mission and activities. He then discussed two of Judicial Watch’s most well known Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits to underscore the nonpartisan aspect of its mission and accomplishments: the Commerce Department Trade Missions and the Cheney Energy Task Force cases. With equal tenacity, Judicial Watch fought a Democratic and Republican administration when it learned that laws were potentially being violated.

The International Program

As set forth in its Mission Statement, “through its educational endeavors, Judicial Watch advocates high standards of ethics and morality in our nation’s public life and seeks to ensure that political and judicial officials do not abuse the powers entrusted to them by the American people. Judicial Watch fulfills its educational mission through litigation, investigations, and public outreach.” The International Program is an integral part of its educational program. According to the U.S. Department of State’s Background Notes, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina was created in March 1994 with the signatories of Muslims and Croats. However, the conflict with the Bosnian Serbs continued into 1995 during which time “many atrocities were committed, including acts of genocide committed by members of the Army of Republika Srpska in and around Srebrenica in July 1995, where approximately 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed.” The U.S. government played a major role in ending the conflict and it continues to play a major role in the rebuilding of civic society through “economic policy reform and restructuring; private sector development; fostering democratic reforms in local government, civic education, and civil society; rule of law, including support to law enforcement, judicial, and prosecutorial institutions; and security sector assistance.” All members of the visiting BiH delegation were serving in key positions as managers, educators, and leaders in the Centres for Civic Initiatives (CCI) programs in Bosnia & Herzegovina. The majority of CCI projects are funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the European Union (EU) towards the “further stabilization and development of democratic society . . . by improving government accountability and living conditions of citizens.”

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