Kosovo Programs

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>.

Criminal Law Reform and Anti-Human Trafficking

The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) is currently implementing a U.S. Department of Justice-funded program to support the institutional development of the Kosovo Prosecutors Association (KPA) and to provide criminal law practical skills trainings to law students. Under this program ABA ROLI conducted an organizational assessment with the KPA and created an organizational development strategy for the association. The strategy is currently being rolled out across Kosovo for feedback from prosecutors. ABA ROLI is also training and paying for a KPA staff administrator to provide full-time institutional support to the organization. Eventually, the position will be funded by KPA membership dues.

In addition to our work with the KPA, we also partnered with five Kosovar universities to conduct the first-ever national client counseling competition. Eighteen teams of two students worked with coaches to practice client counseling skills leading up to the May 2011 competition. ABA ROLI is currently working with two universities to examine the possibility of conducing future competitions.

Past Programs

The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) successfully implemented a U.S. Agency for International Development-funded program to strengthen the legal profession and legal education in Kosovo from 2000–2011. ABA ROLI worked with legal professionals throughout the justice system, including the Kosovo Judges Association and the Kosovo Chamber of Advocates (KCA). Notable achievements include the establishment of the KCA as a vital membership organization capable of advocating on behalf of defense advocates, creating a mandatory continuing legal education system that has so far trained more than 100 advocates in legal ethics, law practice management and trial advocacy skills, and establishing a functioning disciplinary system within the KCA.

Additionally, we worked with the University of Pristina to ensure that law students are adequately prepared for legal practice. ABA ROLI developed practical legal courses on professional ethics and responsibility, and legal research and writing, which have been incorporated into the university’s curriculum. ABA ROLI also established two master’s level legal clinics in criminal and civil law, which are now a part of the law school’s curriculum. In 2010, ABA ROLI piloted a student career center to provide students with hands-on legal work experience. The center has been so successful that it is now administered and funded by the university. More than 3,100 students visited the career center during its first year of operation. More than 400 students received training in CV-writing and interviewing, and more than 150 students were placed in internships or jobs with local organizations, including the KCA, the Legal Aid Commission and the Ministry of Justice.