Regional Rule of Law Forum for South East Europe Focuses on Freedom of Expression

The Fourth Regional Rule of Law Forum for South East Europe organised by Civil Rights Defenders and the Advice on Individual Rights in Europe (AIRE) based in London, is taking place in the Albanian capital Tirana, over the next two days. This year’s Forum focuses on the right to freedom of expression contained  within the European Convention on Human Rights, and in particular its relationship with the right to respect for private life and the right to a fair trial.

It is clear that freedom of expression is key to the development, dignity and fulfilment of individuals, is a core component of a country that values the rule of law, and is the foundation of an open and inclusive society, said Guido Raimondi, President of the European Court of Human Rights.

“The biggest expectation lies with those who practice law whether they are a judges, prosecutors, attorneys or legal experts working with human rights organisations. [We] are not free from the obligation to push for full implementation of human rights standards, said Goran Miletic, Director for Europe, Civil Rights Defenders.

More than 160 eminent representatives from the Supreme and Constitutional Courts, judicial councils, directors of judicial academies, institutions and non-government organisations from across Albania, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia will attend. Also present are representatives from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg Forum and guests from human rights organisations in Turkey and Russia who have seen in recent years the space for freedom of expression shrink at a rapid rate.

The idea of the Regional Rule of Law Forum was born out of the realisation that by encouraging and facilitating regional cooperation and dialogue, best practices and lessons could be shared; something that is both needed and desirable in order to overcome the common challenges facing the region, said Biljana Braithwaite, AIRE Centre Western Balkans Programme Manager, at the opening session.