Federation Judicial Database and Legal Network Initiative
College of Law,
Illinois Institute of Technology
Using the Internet as
a civic tool, Project Bosnia's general objective is to develop
an Internet-based legal information infrastructure for Bosnia,
which will promote the free flow of information and enhance the
rule of law. To that end, Project Bosnia has launched its latest
initiative: The Federation Judicial Database and Legal Network
At the request of the Minister of Justice for the
Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina ("the Federation"), Project
Bosnia proposes to use the Internet to connect Bosnian courts
to a national judicial database which will store legal documents
such as constitutions, laws, regulations and court opinions. The
database will be stored on an Internet server centrally located
at the Palace of Justice in Sarajevo, with dial-up capability
for all courts to access and disseminate important judicial information
through the World Wide Web. Additionally, the database will enable
Bosnian attorneys to file specific legal documents electronically,
without having to appear in court.
The nearly four years of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina marked
the worst fighting on European soil since World War II. From 1992
to 1995, the tiny former Yugoslav republic was torn asunder. Roads,
bridges and apartment buildings were shattered. Water, heat and
electricity became sporadic at best, frequently leaving the city
without such necessities for days or even weeks at a time. In
cities like Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital, conducting routine
chores like going to the marketplace oftentimes proved life threatening,
due to incoming mortar shells, snipers, or land mines. For Bosnian
attorneys, judges, professors and law students, the elements of
a legal infrastructure were shattered by this war. Law libraries,
law books, and legal records were destroyed, and many legal institutions
ceased to function. Similarly, Bosnian journalists, broadcasters,
and newspaper publishers faced daunting challenges in the absence
of printing presses and telecommunications services.
While the Dayton Accords and an international
military presence ended the fighting in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
a strong and lasting peace may prove elusive unless the rule of
law is restored. The rule of law and a civil society will significantly
enhance Bosnia's long-term prospects for peace. The former requires
functioning legal institutions that are perceived as legitimate.
To be perceived as legitimate, legal institutions must be able
to exchange and disseminate information. The Internet is the most
efficient and inexpensive way to fulfill these objectives.
The underlying philosophy of Project Bosnia is that Internet
technology can help rebuild Bosnian law libraries, the court system
and legislative processes, as well as provide the means for Bosnian
journalists and other members of the press and media to assure
the freedom of information by practically replacing the mortar,
bricks, paper and printing presses with virtual legal infrastructure,
news boards and web-forums. The implementation of Internet-based
legal and media infrastructures will allow immediate and unencumbered
access to the court rulings, criminal cases, newly drafted laws,
news, judicial opinions and other pertinent information. Law students,
professors and journalists will be able to exchange views and
publish their work through e-mail exchanges, news groups and Web-based
discussion forums. It will afford a free information exchange
among members of Bosnian judicial, legal and media communities,
as well uncensored communication with their international colleagues.
Project Bosnia began with the donation of a laptop computer to
three law faculty members from the University of Sarajevo, who
visited legal institutions in the United States in January, 1996.
Project Bosnia, under the leadership of Dean Henry H. Perritt,
Jr., focused initially on judicial entities in the cities of Sarajevo
and Mostar, both in the Muslim-Croat half of Bosnia. During two
trips to Bosnia in 1996, Dean Perritt and Project Bosnia students
laid the groundwork for the installation of the region's first
Internet server with telephone dial-up capability, and equipped
the Federation Constitutional Court and Ombudsmen with a number
of Pentium computers. The project subsequently arranged for the
donation and delivery of an Internet server, and obtained monetary
and other resources from the World Bank, U.S. Government, Soros
Foundation and other institutions and individuals to provide ongoing
support for the project's work.
In 1997 and 1998, Project Bosnia became an IPRO at Chicago-Kent
and the Illinois Institute of Technology, and expanded its focus
to include media institutions in Banja Luka, the seat of government
of the Serb half of Bosnia. In the spring of 1998, Project Bosnia
IPRO students spent their spring break in the Rebulika Srpska
connecting the Independent Media Server to the Internet. Since
its implementation, the Media Server has provided a mechanism
to promote the free flow of unbiased information among the press,
legal and governmental institutions, and the public. By promoting
transparency in government and greater access to information,
the server will enhance the rule of law in the Republika Srpska
and Bosnia, which is the also the overall objective of the Federation
project. Project Bosnia intends to link the Federation and Republika
Srpska projects to each other and to the Internet.
Currently, Project Bosnia IPRO students are working under the
supervision of faculty advisors to design and develop both the
database and network configuration that will comprise the Federation
Judicial Database and Legal Network. A group of IPRO students
will travel to Sarajevo, Bosnia to implement this project, as
well as to train members of the Bosnian legal community on the
uses of the network.
Prior to their trip to Bosnia, the IPRO students will test their
network design hypotheses by configuring donated computer equipment
in Chicago. Once satisfied with the results, the students will
package and ship the equipment to the Palace of Justice in Sarajevo.
During the students' six-day trip to the Federation's capital
city, they will install and connect the server to the Internet
through a 16K dedicated leased line. In addition, the students
will also connect six dial-up lines to the server to provide access
to the database to those outside of Sarajevo. As a result, the
Judicial Database and Legal Network will provide e-mail and Web
access to anyone with a modem-equipped personal computer and an
account on the server.
(1) Internet server
(1) Terminal server
(1) Ethernet hub
(20) Ethernet cards
(20) External modems
(1) Unnterrupted Power Supply (UPS)
(5) Pentium personal computers
Ethernet cable \
The proposed network will be comprised of the following hardware
(see Appendix A for a detailed schematic of the network):
Internet Sever: At the core of the proposed network
will be an Internet server located in the Palace of Justice
in Sarajevo. With Linux as the operating system, the server's
baseline specifications are a Pentium-200 processor (or equivalent),
128 megabytes of RAM and 4 gigabytes of expandable hard disk
in a RAID array (more memory is always better). Other architectures
such as Alpha, MIPS, ARM and Power PC, however, are also acceptable.
Once installed, the server will be a repository for Bosnian
legal decisions accessible from the Internet.
24-Port Ethernet Hub: Fifteen IBM computers in the Palace
of Justice will be connected to the Internet server through
a Local Area Network ("LAN") by 1OBaseT Ethernet cables (also
known as rj45), which plug-in to a 24-port Ethernet hub. The
hub, as the name suggests, serves as a mechanism for all of
the computers to connect to one another. The Ethernet hub connects
the server to the Internet through an attached modem.
Router: The router acts as the "gateway" to the Internet
for computers on the LAN by controlling the direction of the
Transport Control Protocol/Internet Protocol ("TCP/IP") packets.
The router at the Palace of Justice will need to be "high-end"
and capable of handling10 WAN connections (this is handled by
setting up 10 virtual circuits, one for each canton). A router
with an internal CSU/DSU is preferred, as it will eliminate
the need for extra equipment. One potential problem that we
are addressing is the difference between European and US standards.
We are currently evaluating the impact of such differences on
the network equipment.
CSU/DSU: Assuming that our router does not have an internal
CSU/DSU, we will need two CSU/DSUs. CSU/DSU stands for Channel
Service Unit/Data Service Unit and is actually two devices in
one. The channel service unit recovers channelized (multiplexed)
data, while the data service unit strips off the encoding used
to package data. The CSU/DSU is connected to the incoming data
communications line, usually our T1 or Fractional T1 in North
America, or an E1 in Europe. Again, it is worth noting that
European telephone standards differ from those used in the United
States. Europe uses the E1 line (32 phone lines twisted together)
as opposed to the T1 line (24 phone lines twisted together).
As stated above, we are currently addressing this potential
Terminal Server: Dial-up access to the network will
be obtained through a terminal server. The terminal server will
connect six standard telephone lines at the Palace of Justice
to the Internet server. This will allow anyone outside the Palace
of Justice to simply dial into the server, thus providing access
to the judicial database and to the World Wide Web.
Ethernet Cards: Ethernet cards allow us to connect numerous
computers in the Palace of Justice to the Ethernet Hub. We will
need one for each computer and one for the server. 10BaseT is
the preferred solution.
Ethernet Cable: Generic category 5 UTP Ethernet cable
is needed to connect all the computers in the Palace of Justice
to the Ethernet hub.
External Modems: We have already have received some
personal computers that will be used in the individual courts
to connect to the server. Because these computers are not equipped
to handle internal modems, we will need twenty external modems.
Internet-ready Computers: Any PC will be sufficient,
however, Pentium computers are preferable. Once again, because
European electric standards are different than those in the
U.S., we will need PCs with 220V power cables if possible.
Project Bosnia remains committed to facilitating the establishment
of a technological infrastructure for the legal community in Bosnia.
Students and faculty at the Chicago-Kent College of Law and the
Illinois Institute of Technology have long been at the forefront
of technological change and are committed to understanding both
the theory and applications of information technology. As such,
members of Project Bosnia are strongly equipped with the knowledge,
intellectual resources, and experience to undertake this innovative
For Project Bosnia to utilize information technology in establishing
the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina, however, we need generous
capital contributions from major US companies. The support outlined
in this proposal will enable Project Bosnia to continue its strides
in obtaining and installing the computers and technology necessary
to connect the Bosnian legal community to the Internet. Moreover,
with your support, this valuable project will empower our students
to bridge the gap between theory and practice, while they assist
the international community in restoring a civil society to Bosnia