Assistant Dean Charles Rudnick (right) and
IPRO team members, IV Ashton, Tomas Johanson, Patrick Wagstrom,
and John Warden at the International Press
Club in Banja Luka.
Journalists in Banja Luka learn how to post
and retrieve news stories on the Internet, using the new Independent
Project Bosnia IPRO team members present the
new Independent Media Server to Milos Solaja (left), manager of
the International Press Club.
Assistant Dean Rudnick and IPRO Student Director
IV Ashton at the International Press Club in Banja Luka, location
of the Independent Media Server.
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 tom 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.
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.
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 legal, press and media communities, as
well uncensored communication with their international colleagues.
Bosnia began with the donation of a laptop computer to three law
faculty members from the University of Sarajevo, who visited the
Villanova School of Law in January, 1996. Project Bosnia, under
the leadership of Dean Henry H. Perritt, Jr., focused initially
on legal institutions 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.
idea for expanding the project to media institutions in Banja
Luka, seat of government of the Serb half of Bosnia, was born
out of a September 1996 meeting in a Sarajevo café between Dean
Perritt and the chief U.S. Information Agency officer in Bosnia.
Dean Perritt and a group of students from Chicago-Kent then traveled
to Banja Luka in the fall of 1997 to establish the necessary relationships
and obtain technical information to set up an Independent Media
Intranet in Banja Luka. The IIT "Project Bosnia" IPRO
was subsequently established to provide an academic framework
in which IIT students from a variety of disciplines could participate
in accomplishing the new goals of Project Bosnia in Banja Luka.
Bosnia has established separate, yet related, objectives for the
Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (the Muslim-Croat half of
the country) and the Republika Srpska (the Serb half of the country).
Objective: Develop an Internet-based legal information infrastructure
for Bosnia, which will promote the free flow of information and
will enhance the rule of law.
Objective: Create a legal Intranet for Bosnian Federation
legal institutions in Sarajevo such as the Constitutional Court,
Ministry of Justice and Ombudsmen, which, in turn, will facilitate
the exchange of legal information between other courts, the proposed
Truth Commission, cantons, independent judges' and prosecutors'
associations, and lawyers.
Srpska/IPRO Objective: Create an Independent Media Intranet
in Banja Luka, the seat of government of Republika Srpska, to
promote the free flow of unbiased information among the press,
legal and governmental institutions, and the public. This will
in turn enhance the rule of law in the Republika Srpska and Bosnia.
While a distinct goal, this is related to the Federation objective.
Project Bosnia intends to link the Federation and Republika Srpska
projects to each other and to the Internet.
In order to achieve the objectives for the Republika Srpska described
above, Project Bosnia was expanded into an Interprofessional Project
("IPRO") at Illinois Institute of Technology and Chicago-Kent
College of Law for the Spring 1998 semester. The IPRO consists
of IIT undergraduate engineering, computer and psychology students,
Chicago-Kent law students, and students from the Stuart School
and teaching assistant IV Ashton challenged the IPRO students
with establishing the Independent Media Intranet system in Banja
Luka. The students were responsible for designing the software
and hardware configuration of the Intranet, locating equipment
for the system and arranging for it to be shipped to Bosnia, seeking
financial support for the project, and traveling to Banja Luka
to install the system and arrange for initial training.
of the Media Intranet system is an Internet server which was donated
by Sun Microsystems. In March 1998, four of the IPRO students
- three IIT undergraduates and one law student - traveled to Bosnia
with Chicago-Kent Assistant Dean Charles Rudnick and installed
the server, along with several desktop computers and other equipment,
in the International Press Club in Banja Luka. The IPRO team also
arranged for and helped to connect the Intranet to the Internet,
providing full Internet access to the media community of Republika
Srpska. This successful mission was completed in less than one
the ambitious goals set out at the beginning of the IPRO, it was
necessary to divide the students into working groups focused on
four key areas:
1. Technical Aspects, including Hardware and
3. Web Page Development; and
4. Public Relations and Development.
Each of these areas is considered in more detail below.
Aspects of the Project
Technological aspects of the IPRO were divided into two separate
groups: Hardware/Network configuration and Software.
was designed and written by IPRO students, which allows journalists
to post information to the Independent Media Server and permits
individuals to retrieve the information over the Internet from
anywhere in the world. The PCs use standard workstation software,
such as Windows 95, Microsoft Word, and Netscape Communicator.
The Sun-Netra server came pre-installed with the Solaris operating
system and the Netscape Suitespot Server.
students designed and developed the network that comprises the
Independent Media Server. Prior to the March 14th, trip to Bosnia,
the IPRO students, under the supervision of faculty advisors,
configured the donated computer equipment in Chicago. During the
students' six-day trip to Banja Luka, they installed and connected
the server to the Internet through a 16K dedicated leased line.
In addition, the students also connected six dial-up lines to
the server. As a result, the Independent Media Server provides
email and Web information access to anyone with a modem-equipped
personal computer and an account on the server.
The network is comprised of the following hardware:
Sun-Netra Internet server: At the core of the network is
a $25,000 Sun Microsystems Internet Server. It is a Sun-Netra
Internet server with Ultrasparc 167 MHz processors and 192 Megs
of RAM. The server allows anyone connected to it to browse the
Internet, and likewise gives anyone using the Internet access
to documents stored on the server. A person simply requests access
to the server via the following address: www.bl.project-bosnia.org.
Hewlett Packard Advanced-Stack 12 Port Ethernet Hub: Four
IBM computers are connected to the media server through a Local
Area Network ("LAN") by 1OBaseT Ethernet cables (also
known as rj45), which plug-in to a Hewlett Packard Advance-stack
12 port hub. The hub, as the name suggests, serves as a way for
all of the computers (and other devices) to connect to one another.
The Ethernet hub connects the server to the Internet through an
Cisco 3000 Router: The thin coax port on the Ethernet hub
attaches to a Cisco 3000 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")
3Com/US Robotics Netserver Plus 8: Dial-up access to the
network is obtained through a 3Com/US-Robotics Netserver Plus
8. The Netserver connects to 6 phone lines at the IPC to the media
training for Bosnian journalists about the uses of the Independent
Media Server is critical to the success of our project. With the
exception of a few news agencies in Bosnia that have limited Internet
experience, most news services require training in the practical
uses of the Internet. To that end, the IPRO students formed a
committee to develop training materials for journalists on the
uses of the Independent Media Server. Additionally, those who
traveled to Bosnia held training secessions with reporters to
demonstrate how to use the media server to post and retrieve information.
area on which the students focused was developing and maintaining
Web content. The IPRO Web site provides general information about
Project Bosnia and publicizes the work the students have done
with detailed project reports, schematics of the network, and
announcements of new developments. The IPRO Web site contains
a Bosnian legal information database, including constitutions
and laws, the Dayton Peace
and decisions from new Bosnian judicial institutions such as the
Constitutional Court. The site also provides links to International
news services and other sites related to Bosnia and international
organizations such as the LJN.
of the IPRO was to create public awareness about Project Bosnia
and to secure donations of needed equipment. As such, students
from a variety of disciplines formed a Public Relations/Development
from the Public Relations/Development committee created a four-page
informational brochure detailing Project Bosnia's vision, objectives
and accomplishments. The students also produced an eight-page
newsletter explaining the history of Project Bosnia in greater
detail, and wrote press releases which announced significant events
like the departure and return of our delegation to Bosnia, and
major donations of telecommunications equipment. These publications
were sent to news agencies, potential donors, and other interested
parties in the U.S. and in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
to the numerous publications written by members of Project Bosnia,
team members canvassed area law firms and local telecommunications
companies seeking monetary contributions and donations of computer
equipment necessary to connect the independent press in Banja
Luka to the Internet. These efforts proved to be very effective.
Numerous organizations generously contributed needed equipment.
Among the major donors:
- Sun Microsystems donated a Sun-Netra Server.
- 3 Com/US Robotics contributed a Netserver
8 used to handle the dial-up phone lines at the International
- CICNET, a Chicago-area Internet service provider,
donated a Cisco 3000 router used to link the various network
- Motorola donated the two FTIOO modems used
to connect the International Press Club to the Internet.
above, the Project Bosnia IPRO has achieved its initial objectives.
The Independent Media Intranet is fully operational and connected
to the Internet, designed by IPRO students and using software
developed in the IPRO for this project. The initial training of
journalists in Banja Luka has been undertaken, and resources to
maintain the system for an initial period have been obtained.
future work, Project Bosnia IPRO plans to build on the foundation
of an information technology infrastructure which has been laid
in the Republika Srpska and the Federation. The Internet servers
now operational in Banja Luka and Sarajevo provide the opportunity
for journalists, legal institutions, governmental institutions
and the public from throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina to have
even greater access to news and information from each other and
throughout the world. Project Bosnia would like to facilitate
the access to this information by establishing additional servers
and connectivity in appropriate locations around the country.
This process will further promote the symbiosis among the people
of Bosnia, media institutions, and governmental/legal institutions,
thus providing additional strength for the rule of law in Bosnia
of the Project Bosnia IPRO also provides a model for similar work
in other emerging democracies. Already, Professor Richard Warner
of Chicago-Kent has emulated the Project Bosnia formula, spearheading
"Project Poland," an effort to provide Internet and
Web assistance to judicial institutions in Poland. Chicago-Kent
is also considering using the Project Bosnia IPRO to solve technological
issues relating to establishing the rule of law in countries such
as Macedonia, Ukraine and China.
Bosnia IPRO has provided a unique opportunity for students from
a variety of disciplines to work together in solving technological
and practical issues, while simultaneously making a significant
contribution to the people of Bosnia as they struggle to establish
a functioning democracy. The success of the project was recently
acknowledged at IIT's IPRO Day, where Project Bosnia IPRO received
the first place award for the IPRO which "most exemplified
the spirit of the IPRO program."