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In September 2011, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) launched a program to strengthen the capacity of Belarusian legal professionals. In April and May, ABA ROLI and its partners organized trial advocacy workshops for more than 50 Belarusian law students studying in Lithuania and Ukraine.
Legal Specialist Bill McGilton works with Belarussian law students at the European Humanities University in Vilnius, Lithuania.
ABA ROLI partnered with the European Humanities University (EHU) in Vilnius, Lithuania, and the Ukrainian-Russian Institute (URI) of the Moscow State Open University in Chernigiv, Ukraine, to organize the trainings. About 30 students took part in two trial advocacy skills workshops held at EHU, while 26 students completed the training at URI. Bill McGilton, ABA ROLI legal specialist, and Ira Sheiko-Ivankiv, ABA ROLI staff attorney, conducted the trainings, which focused on analyzing a case, advocating effectively for a client in court, developing opening and closing arguments and conducting direct and cross examinations. Each of the three– to four-day trainings concluded with a mock trial, where students put practiced the skills they learned during the trainings.
Training participants said that the trainings taught them practical skills and helped them think strategically about a case and a client’s expectations. “I received the valuable experience of communicating with witnesses and the judge during the trial,” said Maryna Ponomarenko, “The training helped me to learn how to build phrases and make my arguments more influential.”
ABA ROLI will continue the trainings, which will also be provided to Belarusian advocates in the fall. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
To learn more about our Belarus program, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at firstname.lastname@example.org.