Last September, the CEELI Institute was delighted to partner with the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the international conference Forum 2000 to organize a two-day roundtable with civil society actors from across the Western Balkans, focusing on reconciliation and the challenges of European integration. These topics are high on the MFA’s priority list during the current Czech presidency of the Council of the European Union. The roundtable, held both at the Villa Grébovka and at the MFA, provided a stage for representatives of civil society and non-governmental organizations, as well as independent journalists, authors, academics, human rights activists, and artists. All are determined to support the formation of open, modern, and future-oriented societies in the European context, through the process of reconciliation among nations of the region.
A little more than a year ago, the CEELI Institute initiated the African Judicial Network (AJN) with judges in anglophone, common law African countries. The aim of this network is to facilitate career growth and development for judges, promote peer engagement, and produce concrete tools such as manuals and guidelines to assist the judges and their peers. Since its launch in September 2021, judges from ten African countries have joined the AJN and have attended events either in person or online.
Today we are delighted to share with you a short video introducing the network and some of its core members, whom we interviewed back in July during a roundtable organized in Nairobi, Kenya. We were privileged to meet with key members of the AJN individually and explore some of the points that the network is trying to address—corruption, independence of the judiciary, and case management, to name a few.
In September 2022, the CEELI Institute conducted its first training on cybercrime with 29 law enforcement professionals from eight countries in Central and Eastern Europe. The participants learned tools and techniques for cybercrime investigations from experienced trainers from U.S. law enforcement (Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigations, Internal Revenue Service, and Secret Service), and Binance, TRM Labs, and The Home Depot.
“Cybercrime is the fastest growing criminal activity, and the criminals are constantly inventing new methods to carry out their criminal activity,” said Amjad Qaqish, Director of Global SAR Reporting at Binance. In his view, collaboration and continued education are key to combating cyber- and crypto-related crimes: “It is essential for law enforcement and prosecutors to constantly learn about the criminals’ modus operandi and learn the techniques to track and catch them. This course provided a solid foundation for the participants and provided them with the tools they will need to carry out these cyber and crypto investigations.”
In October 2012, the CEELI Institute launched the Central and Eastern European Judicial Exchange Network—an initiative meant to bring together judges from the region to work on issues and challenges commonly experienced in their judiciaries. As it has grown through the years, the Network has become a trusted platform not only for sharing expertise and best practices, but also for producing concrete tools to assist the judges in performing their duties while adapting to changing demands, such as the need for remote judging. In response to requests from Network members, the themes regularly discussed include judicial independence, transparency, accountability, efficiency, and ethics. Ten years after its launch, the Network has grown into a dynamic platform that regularly gathers members from among 290 judges and 75 judicial experts from 21 countries.
To better gauge and evaluate the impact of this extensive work over the past decade, we recently conducted a research study involving both in-depth interviews and an online questionnaire sent to members of the Network. We were very pleased to read the conclusions from this study, highlighting the importance of our ongoing work and the positive difference the Network has made to our members both professionally and personally.
After several years of virtual programming imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the CEELI Institute was delighted to return to in-person trainings with Indian judges in November. Our current efforts focus on building Indian judges’ capacity to develop and implement judicial curricula on transnational criminal issues including cybercrimes, human trafficking, and terrorism. These projects are based on a strong partnership with the U.S. Federal Judicial Center (FJC) and the National Judicial Academy of India (NJA). In November and December, we facilitated training-of-trainers workshops for three delegations of Indian judges. The first of those workshops took place in Chennai, India, and the next two in the U.S.—in California, Washington, D.C., and New York City.