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To help alleviate the restrictive climate for journalists and to promote the fundamental human right of freedom of expression, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) helps educate media professionals on their rights and responsibilities. ABA ROLI empowers journalists and bloggers to utilize opportunities for independent reporting and supports a Baku-based media law school to offer training on media law, rights and freedoms, on the legal framework governing new technologies and on effective legal reporting.
The lack of a well-functioning professional defense bar and the limited number of licensed defense advocates are major hurdles to the effective administration of justice in Azerbaijan. The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) works to alleviate these challenges by addressing some of the needs of the criminal defense community and non-governmental stakeholders.
The bar exam is offered on an unpredictable schedule approximately once every two years, and young advocates have few practical training opportunities in important criminal justice subjects. ABA ROLI strives to expand professional development opportunities by training lawyers on the European Court of Human Rights judgments and on Azerbaijan’s new administrative law. ABA ROLI prepares young lawyers for the judicial exam and the bar exam, develops reference materials on criminal and administrative codes and procedures, and trains defense attorneys and other legal professionals on domestic violence and human trafficking issues as well as on the criminal and criminal procedure codes.
Combating human trafficking
With the support of the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor Trafficking in Persons, ABA ROLI implements an anti-human trafficking program in Azerbaijan to prevent the exploitation of potential victims, protect current victims and prosecute perpetrators. ABA ROLI educates at-risk children and rural populations, provides legal advice and representation to human-trafficking victims and their families, and conducts technical anti-human trafficking trainings for judges, lawyers and victim advocates.
ABA ROLI conducts anti-human trafficking street law programs to equip children in state-run orphanages with the knowledge they need to fend off the lures of human traffickers once they leave the orphanages. The programs focus on helping the children see through empty promises of employment, foreign travel and the like. ABA ROLI also educates the more vulnerable rural communities and provides free legal services to human-trafficking victims and their families. Additionally, ABA ROLI trains judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and victim advocates in trial skills, anti-human trafficking legislation and in the broader economic push-pull factors of human trafficking.
The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) works with Azerbaijan’s universities to provide support and expertise in developing legal education programs and teaching methodologies, and enhancing curriculum. ABA ROLI is helping Baku State University (BSU) establish a new LL.M. program in maritime and energy law as the country continues to build its position as a major global provider of natural resources. ABA ROLI helps BSU’s law faculty increase its teaching and administrative capacity. We also support strategic planning for new programs and ongoing efforts to develop new curricula. ABA ROLI promotes interactive teaching methodologies and competent application of knowledge and skills, including in environmental protection, energy law and human rights-related cases.