In April, CEELI returned to Gaziantep, Turkey for further engagement with exiled Syrian judges. This is part of an ongoing partnership that CEELI has undertaken with the Swedish based International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC) to provide a lifeline to Syrian judges who have fled the conflict and are now refugees in Turkey. The hope is that this group will someday be able to return to Syria, and help to rebuild legal and judicial institutions there which have been decimated by years of conflict. In the meantime, these judges are in need of ongoing support and mentoring.
The April program furthered our aim of working with the judges to develop their expertise in thematic areas relevant to post conflict settings. This most recent workshop focused on constitutional issues related to the judiciary and the provisions that typically relate to judicial independence in democratic institutions. CEELI has also worked with the judges to establish professional links with relevant organizations and associations in Europe. For these judges—stranded in limbo in Turkey—such engagements with a larger international legal and judicial communities are critical to their intellectual and professional well being.