CEELI: Supporting US-India Judicial Engagement

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In September, the CEELI Institute continued its multi-year partnership with the National Judicial Academy of India (NJA) by organizing an international exchange for Indian high court judges tasked with creating a brand new counterterrorism curriculum for use in training Indian judges. This exchange was the second such meeting of Indian and American judges facilitated by the CEELI Institute, the first being held in Bhopal, India, at the home of the NJA, last year. The Institute was also delighted to continue its partnership with the US Federal Judicial Center (FJA), in organizing this program.

The U.S. exchange was a two-part engagement for the Indian delegation that incorporated firsthand exposure to the U.S. judiciary at both the state and federal levels, as well as more conventional classroom learning focused on curriculum development and adult education techniques for legal professionals. Eight Indian high court judges and two representatives from the NJA started their exchange in Washington, DC where they met with their counterparts from the FJC before traveling to Orange Country, California, for additional site visits and courtroom observation. Particular focus was given to use of good practices for counterterrorism adjudication. The Institute looks forward to continuing to work closely with the NJA as the curriculum is refined. A pilot program is scheduled for launch early in 2019, in Bhopal.

In addition to facilitating a relationship between the NJA and the FJC, the project makes particular use of relevant good practice documents generated by the 30-member Global Counter-Terrorism Forum (GCTF), a body which includes both India and the United States (www.thegctf.org). Of particular relevance for framing the discussions and curriculum in this effort is The Hague Memorandum on Good Practices for the Judiciary in Adjudicating Terrorism Offenses, a good practice document drafted by the GCTF with extensive international input, and reflecting relevant international standards that both the U.S. and Indian governments have signed on to. The CEELI Institute is proud to have participated in the drafting of The Hague Memorandum, which was approved in plenary by the GCTF in 2015.

This project reflects the CEELI Institute’s ongoing commitment to work with judges in countries on the front lines in the fight against terrorism. To date, our previous efforts have engaged judges from the Western Balkans, as well as in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Over the course of the past three years, the CEELI Institute has successfully organized six such counterterrorism conferences. This work has resulted in the Institute amassing a diverse and talented pool of counterterrorism experts who frequently act as program faculty.