CEELI Completes First Day of Judicial Roundtable

Today began the Central and Eastern European Judicial Exchange Network Roundtable here at the Villa Gröbovka. Most of our participants, coming from 15 different countries all over Central and Eastern Europe, arrived yesterday and were ready to begin at 9 am this morning. The day began with introductions of all participants and opening remarks by CEELI Institute Executive Director Christopher Lehmann and our two moderators for the Roundtable, Judge John Tunheim from the United States and Judge Jan Westhoff from The Netherlands. Judge Tunheim is a federal district judge from Minnesota, and Judge Westhoff, in addition to his work in The Netherlands, works for the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo.
2014-06-16 08.30.00
After the initial round of introductions, the Roundtable members dove into the first topic of discussion. This first session focused on the topic “Using International Standards to Strengthen Judicial Independence.” The discussion was introduced by Judge Cristi Danilet from Romania, who gave an overview on international standards and how they can be applied and implemented.2014-06-16 08.31.40
Judge Danilet’s presentation prompted a debate on the ideal makeup of judiciary committees and the role of legislators and lawyers within those committees. The debate progressed into a robust discussion of judges as individuals within their greater national and international structures and institutions. This conversation encompassed topics of judge security, accountability, and independence. The group broke for lunch and was welcomed back in the afternoon with a short presentation by Croatian judge, Davor Dubravica. 2014-06-16 08.19.32
Judge Dubravica’s talk dealt with strategies on how to involve the international community and put pressure on states when governments interfere with judicial independence. This talk led many participants to share experiences with false accusations, harsh probation periods, and troubling laws that compromise judicial integrity. After sharing experiences, strategies, and best practices, individuals were tasked with creating personal action plans to draft their own strategies for the problems they face at home. Today was a busy day for all participants, and the CEELI Institute is grateful for the high level of engagement and debate exhibited throughout today’s proceedings.2014-06-16 03.38.56

Judge Hrdličková in Tunis

Judge and CEELI Institute Management Boardmember Ivana Hrdličková will be in Tunis next week to participate in a Czech-Polish seminar. The seminar, entitled “The Success of the Democratic Transition — the Experiences of Poland and the Czech Republic,” will take place on June 16 and cover a range of topics, focusing on transitioning from totalitarian regimes, reforming judicial systems, developing regional governments, and transforming economies. Judge Hrdličková, contributing her expertise on the nature of totalitarian regimes and the reformation of judiciaries, will join the countries’ two Ambassadors in Tunis and a panel of experts from Poland and the Czech Republic.

CEELI Institute Prepares to Host Roundtable

The CEELI Institute is in the midst of preparing for the third Central and Eastern European Judicial Exchange Network Roundtable. The program, which the Institute launched in 2012, provides judges and legal experts from all over the world an opportunity to discuss pressing judicial issues and exchange best practices. The theme of this Roundtable will be “Using International Standards to Strengthen Judicial Independence.” We are delighted to welcome experienced faculty from the United States, Croatia, The Netherlands, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania. The Institute is welcoming a dynamic group of participants this year, and we are excited for the series to begin.

2014 World Forum on Governance Report

This past April, the third World Forum on Governance brought anti-corruption experts from all over the world to Prague to discuss the role of private capital and political action in the fight against corruption. CEELI Institute was proud to engage in the discussion, with Executive Director Christopher Lehmann and Director of Programs Marek Svoboda participating in the forum. The recently published conference report provides useful information on the specific issues explored.

JUDr. Ivana Hrdličková speaks on Islamic Finance at Prague College Int’l Conference

On June 3, CEELI Institute Board member, JUDr. Ivana Hrdličková, spoke at the 20th Annual Prague College International Conference, Shared Values, lecturing in one area of her expertise, Islamic Finance. The title of her lecture was “An Ethical Perspective on Islamic Finance for a Non-Muslim Population.”  

Lecture Abstract:

For the last twenty years, the principles and application of Islamic law, including Islamic finance, have taken centre stage, to the extent that some non-Muslim countries, such as the UK or Luxembourg, are now considered hubs of Islamic finance. Non-Muslim clients of Islamic financial institutions are usually looking for financing that is based on ethical principles, and Islamic finance offers an alternative to conventional way of financing. There are many questions to be answered concerning this issue. What are the real ethical values of Islamic finance? What are the most significant differences between Islamic financing and more conventional methods of financing? Is Islamic finance in non-Muslim countries compatible with the local legislative frameworks it operates under, and which laws can be used to formulate Islamic finance contracts?

The 2014 Prague College International Conference, Shared Values is taking place this week over the course of four days, with a selection of talks and seminars given by local and international speakers, focusing on the areas of Strategy, Finance, CSR, and Business Ethics. Read more on the Conference website.