News from the CEELI Institute

CEELI Joins IFES in Producing New Anti-Corruption Tools

The CEELI Institute has again joined forces with our long-term project partner, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) — on this occasion to co-sponsor a side event for the UN General Assembly Special Session on Corruption (UNGASS), on Why Peer Review Fails, an expert dialogue and panel to launch our new joint publication, Piercing the Veil: Using Peer Review Reports in the Fight Against Corruption. This newly published guide examines how to more effectively use and apply the country Peer Review Mechanism Reports that are routinely produced as part of the UNCAC and GRECO anti-corruption peer review mechanisms. These mechanisms provide detailed assessments of countries’ compliance with the relevant treaty requirements and note gaps in such compliance.

‘Justice in Transition – A Time of Peril and Progress in Central and Eastern Europe’

23 June 2021, 4:30 – 7:00 pm CEST

Join members of the CEELI Institute’s Judicial Network of Central and Eastern Europe at the Network’s 8th Annual Conference! This year’s program takes place against a background of unprecedented change that has seen many judicial systems in Central and Eastern Europe struggle with implementation of remote and digital justice solutions as a means of keeping their courts functioning in an accountable manner while maintaining access to justice during the global pandemic.

New Webinar Series: Evolving ECtHR Case-Law for Turkish Human Rights Lawyers

In May, the CEELI Institute started a webinar series, designed primarily for Turkish human rights lawyers, focusing on case-law of the European Court for Human Rights. The ECtHR is a crucially important avenue for seeking an international legal remedy in many types of cases, including those related to freedom of speech, association and assembly, and the right to a fair trial. 

Practical Guidelines for Remote Judging

In October 2020, the CEELI Institute held its first online course on Best Practices for Remote Judging which lasted 5 months. Intended as a way of enabling peer-to-peer learning on all aspects of remote judging, one of the outputs of the course was the publication of the Practical Guidelines for Remote Judging in April 2021. These guidelines were developed by the participants as part of the Institute’s support for its long-running Central and East European Judicial Exchange Network. A working group now continues the work on an expanded version of the Guidelines, which is due for publication over the summer.

Expanded Advanced Anti-Corruption Offerings

The CEELI Institute has greatly expanded its offerings of advanced level anti-corruption training programs over the past two years, in response to an increasing demand for more sophisticated anti-corruption course offerings. This demand reflects both the increasingly complex nature of public corruption in the region, and the need for adequately trained government practitioners, particularly investigators, prosecutors, and other officials charged with anti-corruption enforcement efforts. It also reflects an encouraging sign, which is the increased capacity and ability of those practitioners to apply such training and undertake more robust investigations, relying on a wide variety of appropriated analytical tools and skills.

The Villa Grebovka Turns 150!

June 2021 marks the 150th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the Villa Grebovka, home to the CEELI Institute since our founding in 2000. We are planning a full schedule of events and activities to celebrate this sesquicentennial year. We also very much look forward to fully reopening the Villa for our programs and events as pandemic conditions in the Czech Republic continue to dramatically improve. The Villa has had a long and colorful history. Designed by one of Prague’s leading 19th Century architects, the Villa has served as a country house for the Habsburgs, a forestry school, the Nazi headquarters for the Hitler Youth, and the home of the Communist Young Pioneers. It has survived the ravages of time and an accidental American WWII bombing. The renovations that were necessary to return the Villa to its present condition represented a huge commitment by the CEELI Institute, took over eight years, and cost over 12 million euro. Today, the CEELI Institute is proud to call this world class residential conference center our home.

In-Person Programs Return to the Villa

The CEELI Institute is delighted to once again begin preparing for in-person events in Prague at the Villa Grebovka following lengthy pandemic lockdowns. The many restrictions on movement and in-person events are gradually relaxing here in Prague and across the European Union, allowing for a full resumption of our in-person programs. We expect our in-person events at the Villa to resume fully in September 2021, and we look forward to a robust calendar of autumn events here in Prague. We are happy to report that spring is in full bloom in Prague, and that our beloved Villa has weathered the pandemic well. But we confess to being a bit lonely and we will be relieved when our halls and classrooms are again full of program participants once again. The health and safety of our guests and staff will, of course, remain our top priority. We will open in full accordance with Czech hygiene standards and with additional sanitary protocols necessary for maintaining a healthful environment. We look forward to seeing you soon!