Building sustainable regional partnerships in the Balkans
The Balkans Regional Rule of Law Network (BRRLN) Program was a three-year regional program implemented by ABA ROLI with the support from USAID. From 2013-16, ABA ROLI built sustainable regional partnerships and networks of professional associations and CSOs through virtual and in-person meetings to promote rule of law reforms. The underlying goal of this program was to strengthen defense advocacy by bringing lawyers and civil society together across the region and across sectors to share best practices, tools and knowledge and to work on common issues that they identified as undermining the rule of law. Working together on common challenges served to empower individuals and mediated political and ethnic differences that have historically divided the region. From the start of the implementation, the BRRLN program complemented ABA ROLI’s bilateral programs in the region.
Providing technical legal assistance for local reform processes
ABA ROLI’s predecessor, Central and East European Law Initiative (CEELI) has provided technical legal assistance in the CEE region since the early 1990s. In 1997, CEELI broadened and intensified its assistance to local partners by creating the Regional Institution-Building Advisor (RIBA) program to become programmatically, organizationally and financially sustainable and to enter into enduring, sustainable partnerships with local, regional and international counterparts and fulfill their roles in the local reform processes. Based in Croatia and supported by the local RIBA’s in Macedonia and Serbia, RIBA supported partners in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro.
Supporting legal education in the Balkans
In the early 2000s, the Balkan Law School Linkage Initiative was a legal education exchange program supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs designed to support the rule of law and development of market economy in the Balkans by supporting legal reforms. The program goals were supported by pairing each participating Balkan school with a “sister law school” in the U.S., to share expertise and provide ongoing support to Balkan faculties.