In September, the ABA Rule of Law initiative (ABA ROLI), funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, began work on a regional judicial training program that will benefit the Central African countries of Burundi, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.
The initiative responds to needs identified through an extensive assessment ABA ROLI conducted between January and June. The assessment, which included individual interviews with numerous judicial actors and group discussions with key stakeholders, as well as a survey distributed to judges and court personnel, uncovered ways that a regional judicial training initiative could complement national efforts. Informed by these findings, ABA ROLI will train judges, prosecutors and court personnel on key regional and international judicial issues that are not being addressed by existing national trainings. It will also help build the capacity of national judicial training institutions in the region, such as Rwanda’s Institute of Legal Practice and Development, by training their staff and faculty. Finally, ABA ROLI’s regional initiative will foster opportunities for magistrates and other stakeholders to learn and share best practices related to wider rule-of-law reform efforts.
To foster local ownership of the initiative, ABA ROLI will convene a series of meetings in 2014 with key national stakeholders, including both government ministries and civil society organizations, that will form a national taskforce for each of the four countries. The taskforces will drive each country’s participation and will ensure the regional judicial trainings complement and support national training programs. The taskforces will also elect delegates to a regional steering group that will be the principal governance body of the initiative and will play a key role in identifying training priorities.
To learn more about our work in Central Africa, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected].