Trial Skills Training for Young Human Rights Defenders

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In early May, as part of an ongoing project to work with young lawyers in the Southern Caucuses, the CEELI Institute was pleased to host our first trial skills program for aspiring human rights defenders. Our faculty included John Vaudreuil (the former US Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin) and Maxim Timofeev, Professor of Law at European Humanities University, Vilnius, who joined with regional colleagues to work through an intensive 5-day trial skills and moot court workshop tailored for the aspiring defense advocates. Participants at the program were eager to learn from their veteran instructors and supplement their theoretical legal educations with a course much more focused on practical elements necessary to be successful in the courtroom. Course instructors coupled encouragement and constructive feedback in a clearly successful attempt to build confidence in the young aspiring advocates in critical trial skills including public speaking, argumentation, cross-examination, and body language. Feedback has been extremely positive and the Institute looks forward to future opportunities to incorporate such courses into our core work with judges and lawyers.