CEELI Institute Prague November 2014 Newsletter
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The CEELI Institute Welcomes Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield

Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), William Brownfield, presented the opening remarks at a “Forum on Eliminating Corruption and Promoting Economic Development in Ukraine,” sponsored by the Rule of Law Collaborative (Justice Sector Training, Research and Coordination-JusTRAC), University of South Carolina, and the CEELI Institute.  The program was funded through a grant from INL. Among those also speaking were US Charge d’Affaires Steve Kashkett, Sergei Leshchenko, Member of the Ukrainian Parliament, and the Hon. Richard D. Bennett, U.S. District Court Judge (District of Maryland).

The program, held of July 20-21, 2015, brought together policy makers, government officials, business leaders, civil society representatives and academics to discuss challenges posed in Ukraine by endemic corruption, as well as to explore opportunities for greater coordination and collaboration.  Specific panels addressed Preventive Strategies for Countering Corruption, Enhancement of the Enforcement Capacity of Anti-Corruption Institutions, the Role of Civil Society and Media in Addressing Corruption, the Current Business Landscape in Ukraine, Perspectives on Enhancing Commercial Investment, and Commercial Sector Reform.

The CEELI Institute Announces a Second 2015 Session of its Course on the Investigation and Prosecution of Public Corruption, November 2-6, 2015, Prague

Demand this year for our May course was so high that we are delighted to announce a second session of our signature anti-corruption course on the investigation and prosecution of public corruption cases. This five day highly interactive training provides participants with a comprehensive framework for initiating and pursuing corruption cases. The course will take place at the Villa Grebovka in Prague the week of November 2-6, 2015, and is designed to walk participants through the actual investigation of a case involving official corruption. Participants will work in small groups, to develop their own investigation strategy, learning to use time tested investigative tools and to develop practical skills along the way.

Participant efforts are augmented by expert guidance and instruction. The Institute continues to bring together the world’s most experienced anti-corruption prosecutors, forensic accountants and practitioners as faculty to design and teach this course.

Please see more about training here.

Tunisia: Using Forensic Accounting Skills to Fight Corruption

The CEELI Institute continues its multi-year effort to provide support and training to the newly established Tunisian Anti-Corruption Agency (INLUCC).  In June 2015, representatives from a wide range of Tunisian stakeholder agencies with anti-corruption responsibilities, including the Tunisian Anti-Corruption Agency, the Finance Ministry, and the High Commission for Administrative and Financial Control, participated in CEELI’s training on the use of forensic accounting tools to fight against corruption. The French-language  training was led by international experts Jean-Michel Ferat and Jean-Louis Herail, both of whom have extensive professional backgrounds in dealing with fraud detection, money laundering, and high-level official corruption. Participants were familiarized with strategies employed for the investigation and prosecution of international anti-corruption efforts, with emphasis on how to identify, acquire, and preserve relevant information for investigation; on the use of forensic accounting tools; and on new trends in computer forensics. The trainers used their own experience in conducting high-level corruption investigations, including the UN Oil for Food Program Investigation. The program is generously supported by the Swedish International Development Agency and is in partnership with the  International Legal Assistance Consortium.

Strengthening Judicial Independence and Accountability: Central and Eastern European Judicial Exchange Network

The CEELI Institute is now in its fourth year of support for the Central and East European Judicial Exchange Network, comprised of some of the best and brightest young judges from eighteen countries in the region who have come together to share best practices on issues of judicial independence, integrity, accountability, and court management. In June, the CEELI Institute hosted the Network’s fourth annual Roundtable in Prague. This year’s Roundtable looked at current challenges faced by the judiciary in Network member states and considered appropriate efforts to promote and strengthen judicial independence and accountability. Particular attention was given to the issues of independence and separation of powers, protection for judges from removal without cause, and public pressures on judges.

This year’s event also gave special attention to a signature project of the Network’s judges, development of a comprehensive manual of international standards and best practices relevant to the judiciary, Manual on Independence, Impartiality and Integrity of Justice: A Thematic Compilation of International Standards, Policies and Best Practices. The Manual represents a unique and systematic effort to survey relevant international standards applicable to the judiciary and provides easily accessible, substantive legal support for issues related to the status, work, rights, and responsibilities of judges. The Manual will constitute an easy-to-use reference tool to facilitate day-to-day work of judges both in the region and worldwide.

This project has been made possible through the support of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) at the U.S. Department of State.

ABA/CEELI: The 25th Anniversary Reunion!

In June, the CEELI Institute and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) joined together for a very special meeting in Prague, to mark the 25th anniversary of the creation of original American Bar Association/Central and East European Law Initiative (ABA/CEELI) project. ABA/CEELI, founded in 1990, was the forerunner for both of current organizations. The meeting also marked the 15th anniversary of the creation of the CEELI Institute. The occasion brought together many CEELI and ROLI alumni, and others who have been prominent supporters of our efforts. The festivities were kicked off with a special video greeting from Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, offering reminiscences on the work of ABA/CEELI, and congratulations on the current commemoration.  This was followed by a remarkable founders panel, bringing together, once more, Homer E. Moyer, Jr., Sandy D’Alemberte and Mark Ellis—who constituted the original team behind CEELI. Over 70 people attended the entire three day event, filled with substantive panels on issues such as the regional rise of illiberalism, the challenges of judging in the 21st century, and the insidious ways in which corruption undermines the rule of law. The 25th anniversary event offered a special opportunity for reflection and stock taking on the progress in implementing the rule of law, both in this region and around the globe, as well as an opportunity to look at the many lessons learned from the CEELI experience.

Looking Ahead

Autumn, as always, is a busy time for the CEELI Institute; Further upcoming events include:

“Media and Law”, Seminar for Ukrainian Media Lawyers,  Prague, October 6-9
Conference of Chief Judges of Central and Eastern Europe:  Brioni, Croatia, October 11-14

Note from Executive Director Christopher Lehmann

The ABA/CEELI Reunion, held at the Institute in June, was an inspirational event, as we reflected on a quarter century of efforts to advance and strengthen the Rule of Law, in this region and around the world. It was gratifying that we were able to gather so many of the CEELI founders and former liaisons, most of whom remain deeply involved in this work. It was an opportunity not just to look back on the experiences and lessons learned, and but to engage deeply over several days of very frank panels and workshops on the challenges that remain for those of us engaged in efforts to advance the Rule of Law in ever more challenging environments.

The gathering also provided those of us working at and with the Institute with the opportunity to take an intensive look at our current and planned programs. We were able to hold some serious discussions on how to best design and implement programs within the critical context and challenges facing our region as it struggles with war, corruption and the rise of illiberal regimes which question the value of democratic transitions.


We look forward to continuing the discussions that were started at the Reunion meeting.  As our own roster of friends, faculty, supporters and program participants continues to grow, those discussions grow deeper and richer.  As always, we continue to look forward to hearing from you, our colleagues. We value your input and comments.  And most of all, we also look forward to welcoming so many of you in person to Prague!

Christopher Lehmann
Executive Director
CEELI Continues Skills Training Programs for Burma’s Young Lawyers

In May, the CEELI Institute continued it efforts to provide organizational assistance and practical advocacy skills training to the Myanmar Lawyers Network (MLN), an independent group of Burmese lawyers who are committed to providing pro bono legal assistance. The MLN has championed causes of political freedoms, human rights, freedom of expression and land rights for marginalized communities. The MLN is led by some of Burma’s most experienced defense lawyers, including many of whom are former political prisoners. Many of te younger lawyers, however, lack basic advocacy skills.

A special effort was made to use the May sessions to provide more direct support to grassroots lawyers in the regions outside of the main cities, with the result that the training was held in the regional cities of Pathein and Taunggyi for the first time. The training focused on practical trial skills, as well as on the changing political and legislative environment in Burma, the parallels with similar experience in Central and Eastern Europe, and what these changes mean for the legal profession.

This project is implemented together with the
Burma Center Prague, and with support from the Czech Foreign Ministry.  Read more about the program on our website.

The CEELI Institute Welcomes Our Newest Staff Member, Logistics Assistant Sarka Michkova

The CEELI Institute is delighted to welcome the newest addition to our staff, Logistics Assistant Sarka Michkova. Sarka comes to us with both a Masters and Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from the prestigious Masaryk University in Brno. She also studied at the University of Tartu, in Estonia.

Her previous experience has included stints as a Program Assistant at the Forum 2000 Foundation, in Prague, as well as internships at the International Foundation for Electoral Assistance (IFES), the International Centre for Democratic Transition, in Budapest, and the Czech Foreign Ministry. She is fluent in English, Czech and French.

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