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Fellowship Programs for the CJ-CAP Program


In 2018, the CJ-CAP Armenia Fellows traveled to the United States for their month-long, tailored fellowship program. Their program focuses on working together to reform the pretrial detention system in Armenia. The Fellows established an interagency working group to develop legislative and institutional changes to reduce pretrial detention and improve the use of alternative mechanisms. While in the US, the Fellows gained exposure to different US jurisdictions’ experiences with pretrial detention, compared common issues and built solutions, and worked in partnership to develop alternative mechanisms that are appropriate and feasible in the Armenian justice system.

The fellows highlighted tremendous success in the implementation of their reform plan and provided an update/report on the code of criminal procedure in Armenia. Both a new criminal code and a new code of criminal procedure were adopted. Essential changes include arrests being reconceived as the ultimate restraining measure, rather than the default approach. Based largely on the fellows’ inputs, the revised codes include an array of alternative measures to detention, including house arrest and/or electronic monitoring (e.g., ankle bracelets), restrictions on interactions and/or communications with certain individuals, limitations on movement to certain locations, imposition of curfews, assignation of bail, and suspension of office/restraining measures for public servants awaiting or undergoing trial. The Armenian fellows are considering a package of changes for probation services including changes to the status of probation service and the service of pretrial reports to the court. When compared to other countries, the Armenian probation service is rather new. The fellows do not want to burden it with all the classical functions of other probation services, because they feel as if they must consider the resources they have. In the future, they plan for the service to have a full array of services but want to introduce these incrementally.

The Armenia Fellows are mentored by justice sector professionals from the state of Kentucky working the areas of court administration with a focus on pretrial services, the department of public advocacy and the office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

CJ-CAP Fellows from Armenia with ABA ROLI Staff, 2018

CJ-CAP Fellows from Armenia with ABA ROLI Staff, 2018


In January and February of 2020, the CJ-CAP Kenya Fellows traveled to the United States for their month-long, tailored fellowship program. Their program focuses on improving access to legal aid in their country and increase the use of trial waiver systems for pretrial and juvenile detainees in order to clear court backlogs, reduce prison overcrowding, and improve the efficiency of Kenya’s criminal justice system.

The CJ-CAP Kenya fellows’ reform project was motivated by a 2017 audit of the Kenyan criminal justice system. The audit showed that, despite progressive reforms, the criminal justice system is skewed against the poor—with a majority of prisoners having been accused of economically motivated or social disturbance crimes and a majority of pretrial detainees unrepresented by counsel. Seventy percent of prosecuted cases involved petty crimes, while serious offenses had high rates of dismissal and acquittal. Bail is granted in only 8% of cases, and the remaining 92% of defendants spend an average of three years in pretrial detention. The average duration of a criminal case is 2.4 years for cases tried in the magistrate's court and 4.5 years for cases tried in the high court. Facing these stark statistics, the CJ-CAP fellows are taking a coordinated inter-agency approach to increase access to legal aid for persons accused of crimes, raise public awareness of defendants’ rights, and increase the use of trial waiver systems in order to reduce pretrial detention and trial backlogs. Their pilot targets pretrial detainees and children in conflict with the law held in prisons, police stations, and juvenile detention centers in Kilifi County, which includes Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Following the pilot, the fellows plan to expand the reform project nationwide.

In the year since their return to Kenya, following their month-long fellowship in the United States, the fellows achieved tremendous success in the implementation of their reform plan, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.  The quality of legal representation has improved with the addition of two more paralegals who assist the local community and pretrial detainees through the welfare department at the Kilifi Prison facility. Through the National Committee on Criminal Justice Reforms, the fellows have assisted with the development of laws and practice guidelines on arrests and conditions of pre-trial detention, the development of laws and practice guidelines on the Management of petty offenders, and the development of a fair trial checklist. The fellows have also strengthened the link between the community justice system, arbitration and mediation, and other alternatives and formal justice. The Kilifi community has begun accepting the use of alternative dispute resolution methods as a way of resolving their cases. 

The Kenya fellows are mentored by justice sector and civil society professionals working in the areas of family law, prisoner’s rights and legal aid.  

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)

ABA ROLI plans to host the BiH fellows for their month-long fellowship in the United States in 2022. According to the United States Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, “Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) continue to face significant challenges in its institutional development due to a challenging economy, lingering ethnic tensions, duplicative tiers of governance, and rampant corruption.”  The CIA World Factbook notes that BiH “remains highly vulnerable to money-laundering activity given a primarily cash-based and unregulated economy, weak law enforcement, and instances of corruption.”  In this context, the goal of the CJ-CAP program for the BiH fellows is to increase mid- to high-level corruption investigations and prosecutions in Sarajevo canton by improving cooperation and coordination between Sarajevo Anticorruption and Quality Control Office, Sarajevo Canton Prosecutor’s Office, and Sarajevo Canton Police. 

While the initial visit planned in early 2020 was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ABA ROLI has worked virtually with the BiH fellows over the course of the pandemic.  ABA ROLI, facilitated by the Center for Court Innovation, hosted a workshop focused on interagency collaboration. The workshop aimed to define principles of collaboration, define the CJ-CAP project vision, create a list of stakeholders with whom to pursue collaboration, discuss how to measure performance to ensure sustainability of collaboration efforts, discuss how to categorize interagency collaboration stakeholders, and discuss how to measure interagency collaboration and mitigate risks. Additionally, ABA ROLI hosted the “Creating Strategic Change” workshop to define the problem the fellows’ reform plan will seek to fix, define the overall goal for change, develop a theory of how to achieve the change, understand the context in which the change will take place, and define the steps by which the change will be implemented.

The BiH fellows are mentored by justice sector professionals in the areas of ethics, risk and crisis management, fraud, and public corruption.