December 01, 2013

Kazakhstani Judges Take Part in a Mediation Seminar

September 2008

The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) continues its multi-disciplinaryapproach to promoting improved understanding of the accusatorial system in Ecuador. More than 200 representatives from the prosecutor’s office, the National Judicial Council and the judicial police in Cuenca, Quito and Guayaquil attended three conferences held in August. The event was part of a series of conferences tobetter prepare judges, prosecutors and police for participation in oral trials,as mandated by the Criminal Procedure Code of 2000.  

The latest conferences featured panel sessions led by experts, including ajudge, a prosecutor, a defense lawyer and a federal agent. After presenting the under pinnings of the accusatorial system, each specialist detailed how the concepts pertained to their specific roles. The agenda highlighted various components of the accusatorial system, from indictments and evidence to opening statements and interrogations. Open dialog sessions and case study discussions allowed for two-way communication and practical learning opportunities by theat tendees.

By instilling a stronger understanding of procedural matters, the eventserved to develop the participants’ accusatorial trial knowledge and associated skills. ABA ROLI’s program in Ecuador will continue to bring togethermulti-disciplinary actors to improve the transitioning of Ecuador’s judicial system, which in turn helps to ensure a more robust and fair legalsystem for all Ecuadorians.

For more information about ABA ROLI’s work in Ecuador, contact Charles Caruso at <carusoch@staff.abanet.org>.

December 2013

While Kazakhstan has adopted multiple alternative dispute resolution (ADR) laws in recent years, including mediation legislation in 2011, ADR remains a fairly unknown and underutilized dispute resolution mechanism in the country. From November 5–6, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI)—in cooperation with the Academy of Public Administration’s Institute of Justice and the United Nations Development Program—conducted a mediation seminar. Eight law professors and researchers from the Institute of Justice, a representative from the non-governmental organization Сenter on Mediation Development and 27 judges from the oblast courts, which operate at the appeals level, attended the seminar.

During a role-play activity, the judge of the Karaganda oblast court had the opportunity to serve as a mediator, while two trainers played the role of the clients.

The workshop is part of ABA ROLI’s U.S. Agency for International Development-funded judicial reform program, which is implemented in partnership with local and international partners, including the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan, the Union of Judges and the Institute of Justice, to help increase judges’ knowledge about the implementation and benefits of mediation. Valentina Stepanova, mediation trainer and executive director of the United Center of Mediation and Peacemaking, and Gulnara Baigazina, an experienced defense attorney and mediator, led the seminar. Stepanova covered the basic premise of and techniques in mediation, while Baigazina discussed judicial mediation. Additionally, attendees deliberated the challenges to more broad use of mediation in Kazakhstan and brainstormed ways for overcoming the difficulties.

Participants said that the training, which encompassed small group work, interactive discussions, cases analyses and role-playing activities, helped enhance their understanding of mediation and of the differing roles of judges and mediators. In addition to historical accounts of mediation as a dispute resolution tool and presentations on why and how it’s currently used internationally, the training also provided an overview of Kazakhstan’s mediation laws. Discussions also covered techniques such as negotiation and active listening. The seminar concluded with a role-play exercise, which allowed trainees to participate in and observe a mock mediation, and provide feedback.

Recommendations compiled during the seminar will be presented to the Supreme Court and Institute of Justice for consideration.

To learn more about our work in Kazakhstan, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org.